PA State Data Center to host Data User Conference May 29 and 30

Day two of conference to focus on Pennsylvania population projections
Lion Shrine and Shield outline with blue overlay
Credit: Sharon Siegfried

MIDDLETOWN, Pa. — Data users from across the commonwealth are set to gather in State College at the Penn Stater Hotel & Conference Center for the Pennsylvania State Data Center’s (PaSDC) 2024 Data User Conference May 29 and 30. The annual conference serves as the state’s most comprehensive forum for research and development in demographic data.

The keynote address at the conference will be provided by Philip Falvo, public policy director for the United Way of Pennsylvania. His talk, “United For ALICE: Use Cases & Insights for Pennsylvania” will center on the research and data analysis being done by United for ALICE, a program founded by United Way of Northern New Jersey. ALICE is an acronym for "Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed," and represents families who are unable to afford the basics of housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology.

The plenary address, titled “National Broadband Navigator: Development & Impacts,” will discuss Penn State Extension’s tool created through funding from The Rockefeller Foundation that enables community leaders with basic knowledge of broadband technology to create broadband implementation plans for their communities. The plenary will be provided by:

  • Harry Crissy, geospatial intelligence analyst, Penn State Extension, Penn State
  • Jim Ladlee, state program leader, Emerging & Advanced Technologies, Penn State Extension, Penn State
  • Kyle Snyder, broadband planning specialist, PA Department of Community and Economic Development

This year’s conference also will devote a half day to the on-going work PaSDC is conducting with the Center for Rural Pennsylvania on population projections for the state and its counties.

Since 2020, the PaSDC has worked with the Center for Rural Pennsylvania to produce population projections for the commonwealth and its 67 counties for 2020 to 2050. This data, used in conjunction with other population data, is useful to public and private agencies for policy development, project planning, and program evaluation.

In fall 2023, the PaSDC and the Center for Rural Pennsylvania released the Pennsylvania population projections.

The projections featured age and sex cohorts for each county through 2050. Changes in Pennsylvania’s population will likely affect a wide range of policy issues, including workforce availability, housing, health care, education, and transportation.

The projections indicate that by 2050, the population within rural counties is expected to shrink by 5.8%. Additionally, the total growth rate for all of Pennsylvania over the next 30 years will be less than what it was between 2010 and 2020. Between 2010 and 2020, the commonwealth’s population grew at a rate of 2.4%. Between 2020 and 2050, projections suggest an overall growth rate of just 1.6%. Furthermore, the overall population of the commonwealth is expected to slightly decline between 2040 and 2050 by 0.2%.

The population projections presented are consistent with the findings of similar projections for Ohio and West Virginia, and likely true of other regions comparable to rural Pennsylvania across the nation. Small population sizes, lower density and a relatively older populace will exacerbate pressures in rural communities, which must adapt while managing prolonged decline.

Read more about the population projections here.

The discussion on this topic will begin with a talk titled "Population Projections: Methodologies and Impacts,” given by Sandra Johnson, branch chief of Population Evaluation, Analysis and Projections at the U.S. Census Bureau; and Kyle Kopko, director of the Center for Rural PA.

There also will be a panel discussion titled "Perspectives on Pennsylvania’s Changing Population,” moderated by Kopko and featuring panelists:

  • Raffy Luquis, interim director of the School of Behavioral Sciences and Education at Penn State Harrisburg
  • Ashley McCann, educational statistics director in the Office of Data Quality for the Department of Education in the Office of Administration
  • Charles Patterson, president of Shippensburg University
  • Phil Sirinides, director of the Institute of State and Regional Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg

For more information and to register for the conference, visit:

The Pennsylvania State Data Center serves as Pennsylvania's official source of population and economic statistics. In addition to acting as Pennsylvania's liaison to the Census Bureau, the PaSDC is the state's representative to the Federal-State Cooperative Programs for Population Estimates and for Population Projections. Each year, the PaSDC serves businesses, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and individuals, answering more than 15,000 requests for information. PaSDC is part of the Institute for State and Regional Affairs, a unit of Penn State Harrisburg.