Penn Forest Township
The population was 9,581 at the 2010 census.
The township is the largest by area in Carbon County, occupying a sizable portion of the eastern side of the county. According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 74.9 square miles (193.9 km2), of which 73.8 square miles (191.2 km2) is land and 1.0 square mile (2.7 km2), or 1.40%, is water. It is drained by the Lehigh River, which meanders along Penn Forest's western border through the Lehigh Gorge. Mud Run, a tributary of the Lehigh, forms the northern border of the township. Its villages include Christmans, Christmansville, and Meckesville, and its census-designated places are Albrightsville (also in Kidder Township), Indian Mountain Lake (also in Monroe County), and Towamensing Trails. A small portion of Hickory Run State Park is in the north along Mud Run.
The township's numbered roads include Pennsylvania Route 903, which crosses from northeast to southwest, and Pennsylvania Route 534, which crosses in the east and intersects PA 903 in Albrightsville. Other important roads include Hatchery Road, Maury Road, and Schock Mill Road. Interstate 476 (Pennsylvania Turnpike Northeast Extension) crosses Penn Forest north-to-south with access at an E-ZPass-only interchange with PA 903 and indirect access from the Mahoning Valley interchange to the south and the Pocono interchanges to the north.
In 2010, Penn Forest Township population was reported as 9,581 people. As of the census of 2000, there were 5,439 people, 2,046 households, and 1,565 families residing in the township. The population density was 73.3 people per square mile (28.3/km²). There were 4,806 housing units at an average density of 64.8/sq mi (25.0/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 92.48% White, 3.36% African American, 0.22% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 1.25% from other races, and 2.06% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.39% of the population.
There were 2,046 households, out of which 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.1% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.5% were non-families. 18.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.65 and the average family size was 3.02.
In the township the population was spread out, with 26.0% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 26.1% from 45 to 64, and 14.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 101.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.5 males.
The median income for a household in the township was $36,601, and the median income for a family was $40,597. Males had a median income of $39,864 versus $21,774 for females. The per capita income for the township was $17,129. About 7.0% of families and 10.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.0% of those under age 18 and 10.9% of those age 65 or over.
Residents of Penn Forest Township may attend the local, public schools operated by Jim Thorpe Area School Districtwhich provides preschool and full day kindergarten through 12th grade. In 2016, the Jim Thorpe Area School District's enrollment declined to 2,062 students. In 2011, Jim Thorpe Area School District enrollment was 2,187 pupils. The District's enrollment was 1,913 pupils in 2005-06. Jim Thorpe Area School District operates three schools: Jim Thorpe Area High School (9th-12th), Lawrence B. Morris (Preschool, full-day kindergarten - 8th); Penn Kidder Campus (preschool - 8th). In 2016, Jim Thorpe Area School District’s graduation rate was just 88.76%.
In 2016, the Pittsburgh Business Times ranked Jim Thorpe Area School District 272nd out of 493 public schools for academic achievement of its pupils. In 2011 and 2012, Jim Thorpe Area School District achieved Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
High school aged students can attend the taxpayer funded Carbon Career & Technical Institute, located in Jim Thorpe, for training in the building trades, auto mechanics, culinary arts, allied health careers and other areas. Carbon Career & Technical Institute is funded by a consortium of the school districts, which includes: Jim Thorpe Area School District, Lehighton Area School District, Palmerton Area School District, Panther Valley School District and Weatherly Area School District.
Penn Forest Township residents may also apply to attend any of the Commonwealth's 13 public cyber charter schools (in 2015) at no additional cost to the parents. The resident’s public school district is required to pay the charter school and cyber charter school tuition for residents who attend these public schools. The tuition rate that Jim Thorpe Area School District must pay was 11,483.03 in 2015. By Commonwealth law, if the District provides transportation for its own students, then the District must provide transportation to any school that lies within 10 miles of its borders. Residents may also seek admission for their school aged child to any other public school district. When accepted for admission, the student's parents are responsible for paying an annual tuition fee set by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.
Carbon Lehigh Intermediate Unit #21 (located in Schnecksville, Lehigh County) provides a wide variety of services to children living in its region which includes Penn Forest Township. Early screening, special education services, speech and hearing therapy, autistic support, preschool classes and many other services like driver education are available. Services for children during the preschool years are provided without cost to their families when the child is determined to meet eligibility requirements. Intermediate units receive taxpayer funding: through subsidies paid by member school districts; through direct charges to users for some services; through the successful application for state and federal competitive grants and through private grants.
Community members have access to the Carbon County public libraries. These libraries include: Penn-Kidder Library Center Inc. located in Albrightsville; Palmerton Area Library in Palmerton and Lehighton Area Memorial Library in Lehighton. Through these libraries, Pennsylvania residents have access to all POWER Library online resources. By state law the school district is also required to open its libraries at least once a week to residents.
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