Perry County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 45,969. The county seat is New Bloomfield. The county was created on March 22, 1820, and was named after Oliver Hazard Perry, a hero of the War of 1812, who had recently died. It was originally part of Cumberland County and was created in part because residents did not want to travel over the mountain to Carlisle (the county seat of Cumberland County), and thus the temporary county seat became Landisburg (before New Bloomfield was chosen.)
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 556 square miles (1,440 km²), of which 551 square miles (1,430 km²) is land and 4.1 square miles (11 km²) (0.7%) is water. It is drained by the Susquehanna River, which forms almost all of its eastern boundary. The Juniata River enters Perry County from Juniata County near Millerstown. The river flows southeast to its confluence with the Susquehanna River near Duncannon.
As of the census of 2000, there were 43,602 people, 16,695 households, and 12,320 families residing in the county. The population density was 79 people per square mile (30/km²). There were 18,941 housing units at an average density of 34 per square mile (13/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 98.54% White, 0.43% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.21% from other races, and 0.54% from two or more races. 0.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 45.8% were of German, 16.4% American, 7.8% Irish and 5.0% English ancestry according to Census 2000. 96.8% spoke English and 1.2% Spanish as their first language.
There were 16,695 households out of which 33.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.6% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.20% were non-families. 21.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.01. There is also a high population of Anabaptist communities, such as Amish and Mennonites.
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