Thank You

Thank you to the following organizations for their continued support of our research and this Data Dashboard, which is part of Project STIR (Sparking Transformation using Information & Research).

Moses Taylor Foundation
The Robert H. Spitz Foundation
Willary Foundation
Scranton Area Community Foundation
William G. McGowan Charitable Fund

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Civic Engagement

The Civic Engagement section of the report identifies important indicators that point to an engaged and involved population is an important asset for the overall strength and vibrancy of communities, but it is one of the most difficult topics in the Indicators report to measure systematically.

The state of nonprofit organizations is a key indicator of regional civic engagement and community ties. There were 2,344 tax-exempt organizations in the region as of 2022, with about 63 percent of those designated as 501c3 organizations. These organizations span a variety of activity areas, including arts, culture and humanities, education, environment, health, human services, and religion.

Nonprofit organizations were impacted in a variety of ways by the COVID-19 pandemic, including disruption of important fundraisers and forced alteration of service delivery. Volunteer opportunities were also limited. Even prior to the pandemic, national data since 2003 showed a gradual declining trend in the share of Americans who volunteer on any given day. The number of hours spent by those who did volunteer has not changed significantly.

Declining volunteerism negatively affects community organizations, safety net programs, arts and culture events, and critical public safety services like volunteer fire companies and EMS. However, The Institute’s annual polling program of college and university students found that as of 2022, 57 percent responded that they sometimes or often participated in events to raise money for charity and nearly 49 percent said they sometimes or often got involved in organizations outside school.

Libraries are nonprofit organizations that serve a particularly important role in the community. Additionally, library data is useful in determining the availability and utilization of resources. The numbers of libraries in the region has remained stable despite a recent statewide decline.

Voter turnout is another important indicator of civic engagement. This report tracks the total number of registered voters eligible to vote in the November election of each year, along with the voter turnout for those elections. Despite pandemic-related challenges to voter registration and in-person voting, the 2020 election resulted in record voter registration and participation both regionally and statewide.

The number of military veterans in a community can be telling of the community’s success in caring for veterans and an indicator of demand for specialized services such as mental health and substance abuse treatment. The most recent data showed a generally declining trend in the total number of veterans in the region; nonetheless, the area is home to over 36,500 veterans. Luzerne and Wayne Counties are home to proportions larger than the statewide share. In all three counties and statewide, over half of veterans are age 65 or older.


The total number of not-for-profit organizations declined slightly in all three counties between 2018 and 2022. The total number of organizations in the three counties stood at 2,344 in 2022 compared with 2,459 in 2018. Statewide, there has been a growth in the number of nonprofits, with tax exempt organizations reaching over 75,800 in 2022 – more than there were prior to the pandemic.

Charitable organizations with 501c3 designations comprise the largest share of tax exempt organizations in the region, at 63 percent regionally and 76 percent statewide. Several other designations, including 501c4 civic leagues and social welfare organizations and 501c5 labor organizations, make up a larger share of exempt organizations in the region than they do across the state.

Non-Profit Organizations by Activity Type

The following tables show nonprofits categorized by major activity types. In each county and statewide, the largest share of nonprofits is classified as human services, followed by public and social benefit. Although the number of organizations in these two categories declined from 2018 in Lackawanna and Luzerne County and was unchanged in Wayne County, they still account for nearly half the nonprofit organizations in the three counties.

In Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, education organizations represent the third largest category of nonprofit; in Luzerne County and statewide, religious organizations represent the third largest category. Arts, culture, and humanities organizations also made up a large share, with 236 entities in the region. Exempt organizations in the health care field number168 in the three counties.

Total Non-Profit Organizations

Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics IRS Master File

Exempt Organizations by Category: 2022

Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics IRS Master File

501(c)3 - Charities; Educational, Religious, Scientific, or Literary organizations60272014557,573
501(c)4 - Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations, etc.67123223,693
501(c)5 - Labor Organizations5376102,343
501(c)6 - Business Leagues, Chambers of Commerce, etc.214492,142
501(c)7 - Social & Recreational Clubs3359122,864
501(c)19 - Organizations of War Veterans283691,272
All Other Exempt Organizations120125305,939

Lackawanna County Non-Profits by Activity

Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics IRS Master File

Luzerne County Non-Profits by Activity

Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics IRS Master File

Wayne County Non-Profits by Activity

Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics IRS Master File

Pennsylvania Non-Profits by Activity

Source: National Center for Charitable Statistics IRS Master File

Library Registration and Circulation

The COVID-19 pandemic significantly affected Pennsylvania’s public libraries. While the total number of state-funded libraries remains level at 27 in the three-county region, the statewide number dropped from 470 in 2019 to 457 in 2021. Statewide, library registration fell by over 546,000 individuals during that time. In Northeastern Pennsylvania, however, there appeared to be an increase in utilization of public libraries during the pandemic; Lackawanna and Wayne Counties saw increases in 2020, while Luzerne County remained essentially unchanged. In 2021, Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties both saw growth while Wayne County decreased by a notable amount.

The region’s libraries circulated over 1.3 million items in 2021, rebounding after significant declines in 2020. The decline in statewide and regional circulation in 2020 is likely due to reduced availability or demand for physical materials due to the pandemic. Statewide, a similar trend was seen, but the Commonwealth as a whole saw a relatively small rebound in 2021 relative to the three-county region. The increase in registration but decline in circulation seen during 2020 may be a result of an increase in need for library services other than physical materials, such as computer and internet access, electronic information resources, and virtual programming.

Library Circulation

Source: Pennsylvania State Library

Number of Libraries

Data includes state-aided libraries. Source: Pennsylvania State Library

Voter Registration and Participation

The number of registered voters on both the state and regional levels has followed a predictable and stable trend since 2000, rising significantly during presidential election years, and rising by smaller amounts during midterm federal election years. Registration often decreases following presidential elections.

The COVID-19 pandemic created logistical challenges to voter registration and in-person voting. Despite these challenges, the 2020 election resulted in record voter registration and participation both regionally and statewide. Between 2019 and 2020, voter registration increased six percent in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties, nine percent in Wayne County, and seven percent statewide. Then between 2020 and 2021, voter registration decreased by three percent in Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, eight percent in Luzerne County, and four percent statewide. For 2022’s midterm election, in which several statewide races were on the ballot, registration increased by one percent in Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties and two percent in Wayne County and statewide.

Voter turnout for the 2020 election reached historic levels, with at least seven in ten registered voters participating regionally and statewide. Percentages of voter turnout dropped, following typical patterns, prior the 2021 municipal election. In 2022, voter turnout rebounded to 61 percent in Lackawanna County, 57 percent in Luzerne County, and 65 percent in Wayne County, levels similar to or higher than previous midterm election years in all three counties.

Registered Voters

Source: Pennsylvania Department of State


Voter Participation

Source: Pennsylvania Department of State


The estimated number of veterans in Pennsylvania decreased in 2021 to just under seven percent of the population. Lackawanna County followed a similar trend, with the number of veterans decreasing from 9.2 percent to 6.9 percent of the population from one five-year period to the next. In Luzerne County, there was a similar decrease from 9.4 to 7.8 percent, while Wayne County saw a slight increase from 10.5 to 10.7 percent, though this share remains lower than the 13 percent estimated from 2007 to 2011. Most recently, there were more than 36,500 veterans in the three-county region, and Luzerne and Wayne Counties had shares significantly higher than the share of the Commonwealth as a whole.

Veterans: Percent of Civilian Population 18+

Source: U.S. Census Bureau ACS 1-year estimates