1945-2013: Maturity

When World War II finally came to an end on September 2, 1945, adult Pennsylvanians welcomed an end to the dual adversity of economically depressed conditions and wartime sacrifices. The nation entered an era of change that is arguably the most significant since the end of the Civil War.


Pennsylvania's population was determined in 2010 by the U.S. Census Bureau to be 12,702,379, a 3.4 percent increase since the 2000 Census which recorded a population of 12,281,071. Pennsylvania had long been the second most populous state, behind New York, but in 1950 it fell to third due to the growth of California. In 1980 Texas also exceeded our population, as did Florida in 1987 and Illinois in 1990. Our present national rank is sixth. In density of population, Pennsylvania ranks eleventh, and in terms of the federal government's definition of metropolitan statistical areas, Pennsylvania is tied with Texas and Illinois for having the fourteenth highest percent of state population residing in metropolitan areas. Women outnumbered men by 51.3 percent, or 330,261 in 2010. Pennsylvania's population has continued to age. The median age was 40.1 years in 2010, up from 38 years in 2000. In 2010, Pennsylvania, with 15.4 percent, had the second oldest state population, behind Florida, with 19 percent, as measured by percentages of population over 65. The Census Bureau's projections for 2020 place Pennsylvania and Vermont in a tied position as having the fourth oldest state population. Further projectsion show Pennsylvania's population will peak in 2025 at 12,801,945, and then drop to 12,768,184 in 2030. If so, that will be the first decrease in recorded state history. Eighty percent of Pennsylvania's population growth now comes from international immigration, and only 20 percent from the excess of births over deaths within the population already residing here. Since the number of other states' residents migrating into Pennsylvania each year is less than the number of Pennsylvanians who leave, entrants from other states are not a positive factor in our state's present overall population growth.

Population trends that have been noticeable since 1980 have generally persisted up to the Census Bureau's estimates that were completed to July 1, 2006. In western Pennsylvania, only Butler County experiences robust growth, and only six other western counties have escaped net population decline since 2000. Allegheny County has lost an estimated 58,255 in this six-year period; Pittsburgh lost an estimated 21,744. Estimates to July 1, 2006, show all the southeastern counties except Philadelphia have continued to grow, as did Monroe, Pike, and Wayne. All the other northern tier counties and most of the contiguous counties immediately to the south of them had net population losses except Forest, as did five of the anthracite mining counties: Lackawanna, Luzerne, Schuylkill, Northumberland, and Montour. Philadelphia is estimated to have lost 69,166 residents since the Census of 2000.

Minorities and Racial Composition

In 2000 the U.S. Census, for the first time, allowed individuals to classify themselves as belonging to more than one race. Only 1.15 percent of Pennsylvanians chose that option, as compared to 2.4 percent of the nation's population.

The 2010 Census recorded 10.8 percent of Pennsylvania's population to be African American, an increase from 9.97 percent in 2000, less than the national average of 12.69, which increased from 12.3 percent in 2000.

Pennsylvania's Hispanic or Latino population in 2010 was 5.7 percent, up from 3.7 percent in 2010, of the state's total, far less than the Hispanic percentage for the nation, which was 16.3 percent in 2010, up from 12.5 percent in 2000.

There were 25,405 Native Americans and Alaskan natives, or 0.2 percent of the state's population in 2010. In 2010, the Asian racial population was 2.7 percent, or 343,961, up from 1.78 percent in 2000.


After World War II, Pennsylvania women continued to add to their record of achievements. Rachel Carson, whose Silent Spring (1962) did much to awaken the nation to environmental dangers, was born in Springdale and educated at Chatham College, Pittsburgh. The theories of anthropologist Margaret Mead still today provoke discussion and research in that field of science. Catherine Drinker Bowen's historical and biographical works have received general acclaim. Jean Collins Kerr, dramatist and drama critic, has influenced a generation of cinema and television audiences. Actresses Lizabeth Scott and Grace Kelly were national idols in the 1950s. Hulda Magalhaes of Bucknell University had a remarkable career in biological research and teaching. Kathryn O'Hay Granahan was the first female member of Congress from Philadelphia and the Treasurer of the United States from 1962 to 1966. Hilda Doolittle from Bethlehem, a renowned imagist poet, wrote many of her works between World War II and 1961. Elizabeth Nath Marshall, four times mayor of York, was largely responsible for urban renewal there. The remarkable career of Genevieve Blatt included twelve years as Secretary of Internal Affairs followed by judicial service on the Commonwealth Court. Philadelphian C. Delores Tucker was a renowned civil rights leader who marched in the 1965 protest rally in Selma, Alabama, and was Secretary of the Commonwealth from 1971 to 1977. As the first African American female Secretary of State in the United States, she organized voter registration by mail and worked for lowering the voting age to 18. She later crusaded against violent and sexually explicit musical lyrics.

Currently the public is concerned about the number of women holding office in government. The present General Assembly has forty-two female legislators in both the House and Senate, constituting 17 percent of all legislators. The number of women has consistently increased in both houses of the General Assembly since 1975, when only one senator and eight representatives were women. Women presently holding other major elective offices include Supreme Court Justices Joan Orie Melvin and Debra McCloskey Todd, and nine of the fifteen judges of the Superior Court where Kate Ford Elliott is president judge emeritus. On the Commonwealth Court, women hold five of the eight judgeships, including that of President Judge Bonnie Brigance Leadbetter, and Rochelle S. Friedman is a senior judge. With the election of the late Catherine Baker Knoll in 2003, Pennsylvania joined fifteen other states that have had women lieutenant governors. Allyson Schwartz is a member of Congress. Former First Lady Marjorie O. Rendell is a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Major General Jessica L. Wright's appointment as Adjutant General of Pennsylvania in 2004 marked the first time a woman has held that post. The office of State Treasurer is a major government position which three women have held for much of the last four decades: Grace Sloan, Catherine Baker Knoll, and Barbara Hafer.

In the administration of Governor Tom Corbett, several women hold cabinet positions. They are Carol Aichele, Secretary of the Commonwealth; Sheri Phillips, Secretary of General Services; Kenya Mann Faulkner, Inspector General; Julia K. Hearthway, Secretary of Labor and Industry; and Kelly Powell Logan, Secretary of Administration.

In February 1975, the state's Commission for Women was created. Although once eliminated, it was re-established in June 1997. Primarily it is a referral agency for women's interests, and has priorities for such issues as childcare, domestic violence, and women's economic self-sufficiency. The Million Women March of October 24, 1997, brought an estimated one and a half million women, primarily African Americans, together in Philadelphia.


Public health is a major concern for the Commonwealth. Pennsylvania's birth rate, after record increases in the 1980s, declined throughout most of the 1990s. The live birth rate for 2008 was 12.0 per 1,000 population, an increase from 11.9 recorded in 2000. This statistic is 17 percent lower than the United States 2008 rate of 14.0. Pennsylvania's 2008 birth rate is the highest since 1999. The rate per thousand women age 15 to 44 was 60.6 births, which ranked fortieth among the states. Since 1980, the percentage of births to older mothers (aged 30+) has increased dramatically. Pennsylvania's 2000 general fertility rate was a remarkable 44 percent lower than the 1960 general fertility rate for the state. In comparing Pennsylvania's birth and fertility rates to United States rates back to 1950, Pennsylvania's rates have been consistently about 16 percent lower, even during the "baby boom" years of 1950 through 1964.

In 2005, Pennsylvania's infant death rate (7.3 per 1,000 infants dying within their first 364 days) was above the national average of 6.9 percent and ranked as the nineteenth highest among the fifty states and the District of Columbia. This was a slight increase (0.2 percent) from 2000. In past decades Pennsylvania's infant death rate had usually been close to the United States' rate.

The state's 2006 crude death rate per 1,000 population was reported by the National Center for Health Statistics to be 10.4, which was the second highest among the states and the District of Columbia. However, when adjusted for age distribution the death rate for Pennsylvania (8.0) was only slightly higher than the national average (7.8) and ranked twenty-first lowest among the states.

The three leading causes of death among Pennsylvania residents (heart disease, cancer, and stroke) have remained the same since 1945. Together they accounted for 56.6 percent of deaths in 2005. Cancer's share of deaths has consistently increased since 1950, while the other two have declined. The death rates for all three leading causes have usually been higher than United States rates, as should be expected given Pennsylvania's aging population. The unadjusted death rates are 24 percent higher than the national average for heart disease, 21 percent higher for cancer, and 37 percent higher for stroke. The death rate from kidney diseases in Pennsylvania is 89 percent higher than the national average. Pennsylvania's death rates for accidents and suicide, which were almost always lower than national rates in the past, have been higher in recent years. However, the state's rates for deaths from HIV infection and homicide have remained lower than national figures. Deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases, diabetes, and Alzheimer's Disease have increased substantially in recent years and are above national averages, while deaths from syphilis and tuberculosis have all but disappeared.

Based on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health for 2005 and 2006, 26.4 percent of Pennsylvanians smoked cigarettes compared to the national average of 25 percent, and 23.1 percent consumed at least five alcoholic drinks during two consecutive hours on one day per month, as compared to the national average of 22.8 percent.

The state's Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has great ly benefited uninsured families. Pennsylvania has not only a lower percentage of its total population not covered by health insurance than has the United States, but also a lower percentage of its children not covered. Legislation enacted November 2, 2006, expanded CHIP's financial benefits by allowing families with incomes between 200 and 300 percent of the poverty level ($40,000 to $60,000) to obtain CHIP for their children through low monthly premiums. By July 2011, 195,448 children were enrolled for coverage.

Statistics of the American Medical Association for 2006 show that Pennsylvania had the ninth highest number of active medical physicians per 100,000 population among the fifty states, a total of 36,956 doctors. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pennsylvania had the seventh highest number of nurses per 100,000 population; there was a total of 126,120 nurses. However, there are currently shortages in both those professional categories. The high cost of malpractice insurance and obligations to treat uninsured patients are among the factors leading many medical specialists to leave the state.

The Pharmaceutical Assistance Contract for the Elderly (PACE) program was enacted in 1984 to assist elderly Pennsylvanians unable to pay for needed medication. Administered by the Department of Aging, it was expanded by PACENET in 2003 so that it now assists about 250,000 seniors. In 1986 the legislature created the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council, which has collected and published information about the costs, quality, and accessibility of health services and, on request, investigated particular health problems. It has given valuable advice to people making personal health decisions. The late 1990s had seen the rise of managed medical care, a series of policies intended to reduce costs of health services by streamlining traditional distribution methods. The Office of Health Care Reform was established in 2003 to investigate, plan, and advocate changes in this troubled area.

The last two decades have also seen major innovations in transplanting human organs. Dr. Thomas Earl Starzl pioneered in liver transplant surgery at Pittsburgh's Children's Hospital and Presbyterian-University Hospital, and he became the nation's spokesman for transplant medicine through his autobiographical narrative, The Puzzle People (1992).


The entire decade following World War II was a period of frequent labor strife. Fringe benefits for wage earners were points of heated dispute; they had scarcely been dreamt of before 1941. The steel strikes of 1952 and 1959-1960 required the intervention of Presidents Truman and Eisenhower. The outcome in 1960 was a triumph for the Taft-Hartley Labor Relations Act, which was less favorable to labor's power to bargain than the preceding Wagner Labor Act, although the merger of the AFL and the CIO in 1955 had given organized labor more strength. The recessions of the 1970s prevented expansion of unionization in many manufacturing areas and may have diminished union membership in traditional factory forces as well. Unionization of office workers, however, has gone on, in line with the increasing absorption of workers into the service sector of the economy. Pennsylvania is not considered to be among the right-to-work states that protect workers unwilling to join unions that have recognized collective bargaining powers. In 1970 the Public Employee Law (Act 195) established collective bargaining for teachers and other public workers. During the last two decades, labor unrest has been highly visible in certain occupations such as public school teaching, newspaper work, and hospital nursing. Statistics compiled by the Bureau of National Affairs show that despite increased unionization of public sector workers, unionization has declined overall in the twenty-four years since 1983. In 2002 only 10 percent of Pennsylvania private sector workers were union members, and the percentage of overall union membership had dropped from 27.5 percent in 1983 to 15.7 percent in 2002. By 1996 a worker's compensation reform statute was put in force by the state over strong opposition from labor unions. Both state and federal programs have been created to retrain workers laid off due to technological change. Today, Pennsylvania has the sixth largest state civilian labor force in the nation, standing at 6,327,000, an increase from 6,255,170 workers in April 2007. From 1976 through 1985, Pennsylvania's unemployment rates ran above national rates, but from 1986 through 1990 and in 1994 and 1995 it was below the national average. Since 2000 it has been very close to the national average; for 43 of the last 53 months it has been at or below the national rate. The seasonally adjusted unemployment figures for Pennsylvania were 5,848,100 in June 2010. From August 2004 through April 2007, the number of new jobs created monthly had steadily increased, but in September 2008, the unemployment rate began to rapidly rise as the nation's economy lapsed into recession. In April 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Commonwealth's unemployment rate stood at 7.6 percent, mirroring the national average of 7.6 percent.


According to the Veterans Administration's National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics, in 2012 Pennsylvania had a population of 980,529 living veterans, a decrease of 67,524 since 2008 when the state had 1,057,053 living veterans. As of September 30, 2012 there were 202,853 veterans of the Gulf War, 334,411 from the Vietnam era, 131,482 from the Korean Conflict, and 79,299 from World War II. (The total of these components exceeds 980,529 because many veterans served in two wars and some in three.) Wartime soldiers numbered 718,850; peacetime soldiers were 261,679. Female soldiers accounted for a total of 79,489 and males, 901,040.

Industry and Commerce

Diversity came to Pennsylvania after World War II as the coal, steel, and railroad industries declined. Ironically, Pennsylvania's earlier domination in industrial development created a major liability in plants and equipment. Its enormous capital investment, past and present, left a complex now less efficient than newer industrial centers elsewhere. In steel, Pennsylvania's integrated mills have been less efficient than the South's mini-mills and the new steel complexes abroad. Pennsylvania's steel production began to contract in 1963, although the nation's output, stimulated by the Vietnam War, rose to its all-time maximum in 1969 of 141 million tons. The national figure then declined until it reached 88.3 million tons in 1985, and did not rise above 100 million tons again until 1994. Across the nation, the new locations and their altered technology increased the output per worker three-fold between 1975 and 1990. In 2008 Pennsylvania produced 6,394,845 net tons of raw steel. Pennsylvania is also a national leader in specialty steel products.

The tremendous consumer power of Pennsylvania is reflected in statistics for 2003 and 2004. Our state was sixth in total retail sales receipts, fifth in the number of retail establishments, and seventh in the number of wholesale establishments. In 2002, Pennsylvania's total state and local government spending was $86.2 billion, giving the state the rank of sixth among the fifty states and the District of Columbia. Pennsylvania was fourth in state and local government spending for public welfare and sixth in spending for education.

A very important statistical measure of a state's economic vitality is Gross State Product (GSP), the equivalent, for the fifty states and the District of Columbia, of the nation's Gross Domestic Product. In 2010 Pennsylvania's GSP was $554 billion. Pennsylvania had long been fifth in this category, but was surpassed by Florida in 1990. It has retained sixth position ever since, behind Texas, Illinois, Florida, New York, and California. In seven of the nine components into which GSP is divided, Pennsylvania, in recent years, has been either sixth or seventh in the nation. In the manufacturing component of GSP Pennsylvania is sixth.

Energy Resources

The market for Pennsylvania's coal began to decline at the end of World War II. Oil and natural gas were by then regarded as so much more convenient to use that they replaced anthracite coal for heating buildings. The 1959 Knox Mine disaster in Luzerne County, and resulting investigations and criminal proceedings, revealed the extent of corruption that had gripped the anthracite industry. The disaster and its aftermath brought about an end to deep mining in a large part of the anthracite region. Today, Pennsylvania's anthracite production remains steady, usually amounting to no more than five percent of bituminous tonnage; most anthracite is now produced by surface mining and refuse reprocessing. In 2010, anthracite mines produced 2,239,073 tons, whereas recovery from refuse sites produced 4,223,507 tons of this very valuable fuel. Only 189,899 of the mined tonnage came from underground operations at 17 mines, a remarkably small amount when compared with statistics from the early twentieth century. In 2005 there were 697 anthracite miners, but only 128 of them worked underground.

In the 1960s the bituminous market revived because larger amounts were put to use to produce electric power, even though the market for industrial coke was dropping as the steel industry showed signs of decline. Pennsylvania stood at a competitive disadvantage to Wyoming, West Virginia, and Kentucky because of the sulfur content in its bituminous and our state's environmental regulations. The period between 1975 and 1995 was not favorable to the Pennsylvania coal industry, with the state's share of national output shrinking from nearly 15 percent to under 6 percent in 1995. While U.S. production rose 71 percent from 1970 to 1995, Pennsylvania's output dropped by 22 percent. West Virginia and Kentucky lead the Commonwealth by substantial production margins, and Wyoming, in first place, mines more than four and a half times as much coal as Pennsylvania. A large proportion of Pennsylvania's production decline has been in the surface mining component of the industry since 1977, the year Congress passed the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act. Production from the state's surface operations has fallen over 70 percent since its peak that year.

Mining methods became much more efficient over the course of the twentieth century. Traditional "room and pillar" mines had been improved in the 1940s by conveyor equipment and rotating drums that shredded coal surfaces with dramatic speed, but more significant was the adoption of longwall mining operations for bituminous, beginning in the 1960s. In these arrangements powerful shredders move back and forth along walls sometimes over two miles long, with the machine operators protected by overhead covers made of steel. No coal is wasted to provide supporting pillars because the mined out longwall areas are simply left to collapse, often causing subsidence on surfaces above. Not needing support pillars, longwalling allows mining at much deeper levels, levels where any safe pillars for traditional mining would have had to be so large that little coal could have been produced. Surface subsidence caused by longwalling, however, has drawn criticism. The 1969 Coal Mine Health and Safety Act and the 1971 Federal Clean Air Act initially impacted worker productivity and placed Pennsylvania's coal at a disadvantage by cleanliness standards because of its high sulfur content. The problem was exacerbated by emissions requirements in 1990's Clean Air Act acid rain amendments. Eventually concentration on low sulfur coal veins and improved scrubbing technology restored Pennsylvania's bituminous competitive status. Beginning in 1997, bituminous underground mines returned to production levels not seen since 1970, so that while surface production continues to be small, the subsurface operations carry the total production to robust levels. In 2009, Pennsylvania again, as it had been for a decade, was the fourth largest producer of bituminous coal, with 60,030,294 tons produced by 343 mining operations. The nation's top three coal-producing states - Wyoming, West Virginia, and Kentucky - continued to dominate U.S. production, accounting for 64 percent of U.S. total production. Pennsylvania accounted for approximately 6.5 percent of the U.S. total. Pennsylvania continues to be virtually the only state producing anthracite and in 2009 mined 6,819,330 tons of hard coal. Of the 66,849,624 million tons of anthracite and bituminous coal Pennsylvania produced in 2009, approximately eight million tons were exported. China is the purchaser of a large portion of the coal sold overseas because its emerging industrial complex has great demands and its extraction of its own abundant coal resources is in a primitive state. Sixty percent of Pennsylvania's coal was produced in 2006 in Greene County, all by underground mining. In recent years from 50 to 55 percent of electricity produced in Pennsylvania has come from coal, and advocates of continued emphasis on coal argue that economic necessities will perpetuate this for decades to come. It is their position that coal can be burned as a clean fuel and that the industry itself can restore mining's damage to landscape and water. In 2006 there were 4,248 employees at Pennsylvania's underground bituminous mines and 1,888 at bituminous surface mines. There were 114 underground anthracite workers and 581 at surface anthracite mines. By 2007, the number of underground bituminous mines had decreased to 39. Far fewer seams for profitable surface mining remain, whereas deep mining has been spurred by the shift to the extremely efficient longwall technology. Geologically, the Pittsburgh Coal Seam underlying several western Pennsylvania counties is ideally suited for longwalls because it has six-to-eight foot seam heights and relatively good roof and floor conditions.

Criticism of the coal industry's optimism emerged in recent years with the recognition that coal poses another hazard to humanity. High lighted by former Vice-President Al Gore's presentation to Congress in March 2007, the validity of the theory that unchecked greenhouse gas emissions will subject humankind to a long future of increasing global warming is finally accepted by a preponderance of scientists. Carbon dioxide emission produced by burning coal has been identified as a major factor in this trend. Complex emission control technology of the "capture and store" type is envisioned for industrial sites that rely on coal fuel, but none is yet in large scale use. Despite the recent concern about global warming, "gasified" coal is being advanced as an alternative energy source to replace the world's shrinking natural gas and oil reserves.

The rescue of nine trapped miners at Quecreek Mine in Somerset County in July 2002 was a triumph of the human spirit greeted with compassion by the public, but it also underscored the need for uninterrupted, diligent safety oversight at all underground operations. For the first time in the state's long history of mineral extraction, Pennsylvania's mines were free of fatalities in 2010, which is credited to the Commonwealth's Bituminous Coal Mine Safety Act of 2008, the first major revision in a half-century to the Mine Safety Act. Pennsylvania's most recent mine fatalities occurred in the summer of 2009. One person died in a Pennsylvania coal mine in June 2009, while another fatality was reported in July 2009 at an industrial minerals mine.

Pennsylvania's nine nuclear energy plants, located at five plant sites, produced 36 percent of the state's electricity in 2004, and make our state the second most productive state in nuclear generated kilowatt hours, just behind Illinois. Many Americans have objected strongly to nuclear power plants as health hazards and point to the nuclear accident at the Three Mile Island generating station in March 1979. However, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection as well as the federal government closely regulate all nuclear plants for safety. Four of Pennsylvania's five plant sites have two operating units: Berwick, Beaver Valley at Midland, Limerick, and Peach Bottom. The plant at Three Mile Island near Middletown was built with two units, but following the 1979 accident the core of the damaged unit was removed, leaving it inoperative. The other unit was not damaged and is still producing power. Efforts to establish low-level radiation waste storage areas within Pennsylvania have been defeated in the legislature, and nuclear waste is now shipped to sites in South Carolina, Utah, and a few small toxic dumps elsewhere.

Although once a leader in petroleum production, Pennsylvania now produces little crude oil. Oil producers operate 19,000 wells in Pennsylvania to produce 3.6 million barrels of Pennsylvania Grade crude oil annually. Pennsylvania Grade crude is a superior quality, paraffin-based crude oil that is refined primarily into lubricating base stocks. Lubricants made from Pennsylvania Grade crude oil have been the choice of equipment manufacturers and consumers for more than a century.

The Commonwealth's production of natural gas is significant. Pennsylvania's natural gas producers operate more than 55,000 wells to deliver more than 198 billion cubic feet of gas to market. Pennsylvania produces enough natural gas to satisfy 25 percent of the state's annual demand. Pennsylvania consumes approximately 804 billion cubic feet of natural gas yearly. Pennsylvania ranked sixth in the nation for new gas wells drilled in 2010, with 833 new wells. West Virginia was first with 1,896 new wells.

The discovery of methods to obtain natural gas from the Marcellus Shale subterranean formation that exists beneath all of Pennsylvania, except the southeastern quarter, has produced optimism since early 2008. The formation lies between 2,000 and 6,000 feet underground, and consists of black rock that holds the gas. A new method of extraction, a combination of horizontal drilling and water fracturing, is necessary to release the gas. A well is bored deep down into the shale layer, and then drilling turns outward horizontally within the layer, making L shaped passages up to the surface. Hydraulic fracturing follows, involving injecting a water-based slurry into the well at high pressure, which produces cracks in the rock. The idea is to increase the exposed rock surface in the bore hole, which allows more gas to be collected. It is estimated that the formation could yield enough gas to supply the entire nation for two years; it has an estimated wellhead value of one trillion dollars. Environmental hazards, especially to the water supply, must be overcome, and the formation overlaps into five neighboring states and the Great Lakes, which may lead to jurisdictional rivalries. By 2010, 600 wells had been drilled in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale regions. Between December 31, 2010 and June 1, 2013, this number increased by 6,498 and the counties that experienced the greatest number of wells drilled were Warren (703), Bradford (625), and Lycoming (584).


While the number of farms and the acreage farmed has generally declined over the past sixty years, farm production has increased dramatically due to scientific and technical improvements. In 1950 there were 146,887 farms and their average size was 146 acres. In 2010, there were 63,200 farms and their average size was 123 acres. Nearly 30 percent, or 7,809,244 acres, of the state's land area is committed to farming. Agriculture continues to be fundamental to the state's economy, and benefits from statewide efforts of farm and commodity organizations, agricultural extension services, strong vocational programs, and the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, all of which keep farmers informed of new developments and assist them in promoting and marketing farm products. In 2010, cash receipts for all crops and livestock products of Pennsylvania farms were $5.8 billion, and agribusiness and food-related industries were responsible for at least ten times that amount in annual economic activity. The division within the $4.78 billion was $1.67 billion cash receipts for all crops, and $2.97 billion for all livestock and dairy production. As in past years, mushroom cash receipts accounted for half the receipts for all crops. In 2006, Pennsylvania ranked twentieth among the states in total agricultural sector output value, and twentieth in net farm income. The four principal Pennsylvania farm commodities in terms of marketing receipts were dairy products, cattle, agaricus mushrooms, and green house products. Since livestock and dairy products are so profitable for farmers, field crops have dropped in acreage in the past decade. Farmers have converted land previously producing field crops to pasture and to growing livestock fodder. Among field crops, corn remains the strongest because it is the most valuable for feeding livestock. Foods for which the state's record is outstanding include cheese, maple syrup, pretzels, potato chips, sausage, wheat flour, and bakery products. The impact of ethanol and biodiesel fuels is not reflected in the 2006 statistics, the latest presently available, but it should maximize corn production and possibly indirectly reduce soy bean acreage. The state is subsidizing these clean fuel production ventures.

Two federal programs impact on Pennsylvania's farming future. The National Organic Products Act of 1990 as amended, establishes standards under which products may be represented to consumers as organically produced. Also, the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 made country-of-origin labeling mandatory for all beef, lamb, pork, fish, perishable agricultural commodities, and peanuts, although labeling of fish and shellfish is still delayed pending further discussions.



The Pennsylvania Turnpike, which set the pattern for modern superhighways throughout the nation, was expanded after World War II from the western boundary to the Delaware River, as well as northward into the anthracite region. A far-reaching federal highway act was passed in 1956, authorizing the federal government to pay 90 percent of the costs of new roads connecting the nation's principal urban centers. More state turnpike miles would probably have been built had it not been for the cost advantage of toll-free interstate highways authorized under this federal legislation of 1956. Taking advantage of U. S. funds, Pennsylvania built an interstate system that today stretches along 1,751 miles. The most outstanding example of the system is Interstate 80, known as the Keystone Shortway, which is 313 miles long and traverses 15 northern Pennsylvania counties. I-81, linking Wellesley Island (near Fishers Landing), New York, on the Canadian border, and Dandridge Tennessee; of its 854.8 length, 232.6 miles traverse Pennsylvania from north to south.

In 2006 Pennsylvania's 121,292 miles of rural and urban highways ranked it tenth among the fifty states. Pennsylvania had 9,894,000 registered motor vehicles, 60 percent of which were automobiles, placing it sixth among the fifty states. Its 8,526,000 licensed drivers were the fifth largest such group among the states, and Pennsylvania was fifth in motorcycle registration (330,000). The number of deaths from traffic accidents in Pennsylvania has dropped from 2,089 in 1980 to 1,525 in 2006, and the state's number of fatalaties per 100,000 miles driven was 1.4, matching the national average and placing it 28th highest among the fifty states.


Waterways have always been of major importance to Pennsylvania. The state has three major ports: Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Erie. The Port of Philadelphia complex, encompassing Philadelphia proper and four other cities along the Delaware River, is the largest freshwater port in the world and has the second largest volume of international tonnage in the United States. Pittsburgh, located at the confluence of the Ohio, Monongahela, and Allegheny rivers, has long been a center for barge transportation, especially of coal and limestone. Erie has been a major center for Great Lakes transportation since the mid-nineteenth century.


Constant expansion of passenger service has been the story of aviation in Pennsylvania since World War II. Today there are sixteen major airports, five of which have been granted international status. Instrument landing systems became standard at airports in all the smaller cities following several Bradford Regional Airport accidents in 1968-1969. In the 1970s, automated radar terminal systems were installed at all the major airports to safely handle the increased volume of traffic. The international airports of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are among the nation's twenty-nine major aviation terminals, and compete favorably with the others in total numbers of scheduled flights.

The expansion of All American Aviation to Allegheny Airlines, and then to U.S. Air, is typical of progress in the industry. The energy crises beginning in the late 1970s caused reorganization involving commuter lines using smaller craft that operate as feeders from smaller cities to the major airports. Deregulation by the federal government and a trend toward corporate mergers in the 1980s caused further reorganization of the industry.

Two aircraft manufacturers prospered in Pennsylvania during this period. Piper Aircraft Corporation of Lock Haven outdistanced its competitors and produced America's most popular light airplane until the 1970s. Vertol Division of Boeing Corporation, successor to the Piasecki Helicopter Corporation, was located in Delaware County and was a major manufacturer of helicopters.


Because of its extensive service during World War II, the railroad industry in 1946 was financially more sound than it had been since 1920, but by the end of the 1950s it was losing ground rapidly to the growing trucking industry. Diesel engines and a few electrified systems replaced the coal-burning locomotives which had been the railroads' pulling units for a century. In 1962 the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central merged as the Penn Central Railroad, but it did not receive federal ICC approval until 1968, after having made extensive reductions in services and divestiture of assets. The new giant was bankrupt in 1970, the same year the federal government created Amtrak, a service system subsidizing passenger service on the major rail lines of the northeastern states. The federal government took control of the major freight lines in 1974 by forming Conrail, which subsidized 80 percent of the freight lines in Pennsylvania. Rail mileage was reduced by eliminating obsolete and unnecessary lines, typically those to now non-productive coal mines. The work force was reduced by a fourth, and commuter service trains, which in 1974 had been made the responsibility of Conrail, were gradually eliminated. In 1981 Conrail finally began to operate profitably, and in 1987 the federal government sold it to private stockholders. Although passenger service to smaller municipalities has been eliminated, faster travel is possible on the remaining routes. Seamless rails, cement ties, and the elimination of grade crossings have made this possible. Pennsylvania literally sits at the open door of rail freight expansion planned by CSX and Norfolk Southern, rail transportation corporations previously concentrated south of Pennsylvania. The two enterprises intend to spend more than $2.7 billion to enlarge their freight moving capacity through our state - CSX running from the southeastern seaport to the Midwest, and Norfolk Southern from the South to New York ports. Pennsylvania would become the crossroads for three major freight rail companies - Norfolk Southern, CSX, and Canadian Pacific.


Computer Revolution

Pennsylvania is now in the midst of a worldwide cultural leap at least as important as the coming of internal combustion engine transportation early in the twentieth century. In 1946, scientists J. Presper Eckert Jr. and John W. Mauchly of the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania produced the world's first electronic computer, the ENIAC, for the U.S. Army. Its unique feature was that its vacuum tubes performed the operation in place of the mechanical switches used in previous computers. In Philadelphia, the Remington Rand Corporation produced the first commercial computer, the Univac I, in 1951. In 1958, the Univac Division of Sperry Rand Corporation built the first solid-state electronic computer at its Philadelphia laboratory, further advancing electronic data processing. The introduction of real-time computer application in the 1960s meant that computers now did far more than solve complex individual problems, and the microminiaturization trend of the 1970s, following the introduction of silicon chips and integrated circuit design, led to a myriad of applications for the personal computer. Computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (CAD and CAM) were also trends of the 1970s. Startling developments in digital and graphic imaging and scanning capabilities followed, and now the new frontier of voice interaction with computer processes is reaching maturity. The information highway developed from the merging of the Department of Defense's ARPAnet and universities and learned institutions' data banks and internal networks. Local-area and regional-area networks also emerged, and in the 1990s the nation's information highway became part of the World Wide Web. From medical applications to business transactions, from education to almost every function of society, computer-based systems have vastly upgraded the cultural level of Pennsylvanians. The U.S. Department of Commerce's statistics for 2003 showed that Pennsylvania ranked 32nd among the states in the percentage of households with computers (60.2 percent) and 27th in those having internet access (54.7 percent). Cellular telephones, hand-held computer devices, digitalization, and the electronic transaction of numerous forms of commercial activity are becoming commonplace and have significantly transformed Pennsylvania's culture.


Pennsylvania has launched many major writers on the American literary scene who flourished in this period. Pearl S. Buck won both the Nobel and Pulitzer Prizes. Christopher Morley, John O'Hara, Conrad Richter, Mary Roberts Rinehart, James Michener, and John Updike have left indelible imprints. John Updike, whose stories are largely placed in the anthracite region, has fascinated generations of Pennsylvanians and is considered the state's senior living creative writer. Wallace Stevens and Marianne Moore were poets of renown. Naturalist Rachel Carson grew up in Pittsburgh; her Silent Spring was pivotal in launching the modern environmental movement. Edward Abbey was brought up in Indiana County and wrote novels condoning forceful resistance to destruction of the western American desert landscape. Marguerite de Angeli thrilled generations of children with books such as Thee, Hannah!

Two works of the 1980s, Annie Dillard's An American Childhood and John Edgar Wideman's Sent for You Yesterday depict contrasting views of neighborhoods in Pittsburgh. Wideman, a leading African American writer, has also dealt with personalities in Philadelphia's inner city. Another African American, David Bradley, was acclaimed for his historical novel, The Chaneysville Incident. Writers popular today, who place their novels in Pennsylvania settings, include Stephen King (From a Buick 8); K.C. Constantine whose mysteries in Philadelphia center on an Italian American sleuth; Carrie Bender and Tamara Myers, who use Amish-Mennonite settings; and David Poyer whose Hemlock County cycle deals with the early Pennsylvania oil industry. Lisa Scottolini's detective novels with criminal law themes take place in Philadelphia, as do Neil Albert's Dave Garrett mysteries. Juvenile historical fiction is a growing field, well represented by Gloria Skurzynaki's The Rockbuster and Goodbye, Billy Radish. Robin Moore and Laurie Halse Anderson write for the same audience, intending to show the emerging generation some important historical events in exciting settings. Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilts' novels trace experiences of elderly characters reconciled with the present through the metaphor of producing quilts. Michael Novak's Guns of Lattimer is a classic historical novel sensitively expressing the horror of an actual massacre of immigrant coal miners, and it carries on the earlier twentieth-century tradition of Michael Musmanno's Black Fury and Thomas Bell's Out of This Furnace. Peter Blair celebrates the tradition of dangerous skilled industrial work with strong implications of class distinctions in his book of poems, Last Heat. Poet Jan Beatty, in "Aware in a Strange Landscape," reflects impressions of several generations seeking to escape a world of despair such as Peter Blair portrays. These challenging dangers and pressures arising within society have parallels in the wartime experiences of an African American Pittsburgher in Vietnam, as told in 1997 by Albert French in Patches of Fire. Another school of Pennsylvania writers emphasizes Pennsylvania locations that impart a nostalgic beauty and emotional sanctuary from which, under stress and necessity, the native Pennsylvania protagonist must at least temporarily depart. Following this theme have been Maggie Anderson's poem, "Promised Land: A Sense of Place" and Updike's The Olinger Stories. African American dramatist August Wilson of Pittsburgh was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes in Drama for depicting the comic and tragic aspects of the African American experience in the twentiety century.

Performing Arts and Media

Among the famous Pennsylvanians who starred in the movies were W.C. Fields, Gene Kelly, Richard Gere, Tom Mix, Jack Palance, and James "Jimmy" Stewart. Stewart received the first Governor's Distinguished Pennsylvania Artist Award in 1980. In 1984, Bill Cosby also received this award. From the 1930s until the late 1950s, audiences throughout the country thrilled to the romantic musical drama of two native Pennsylvanians, singers Jeannette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. Alvina Krause, a noted professor of drama - whose students included Patricia Neal, Charlton Heston, and Jennifer Jones - later established the Bloomsburg Theater Ensemble and managed a theater company in Eagles Mere during summer seasons. In 1980 she was presented the Theodore L. Hazlett Award for Excellence in the Arts for Theatre by Governor Thornburgh.

Beginning about 1976, there was an upsurge in the use of Pennsylvania locales as filmsettings by major motion picture producers, and many cinema stories touched on past or present human experiences taking place in the state. The "Rocky" series of films began, and in 1977 Slapshot, The Deer Hunter, and The Boys from Brazil displayed contemporary scenery. Since then, numerous popular films - serious and humorous, documentary and imaginatively fantastic - have displayed regions of the state, and independent and low-budget producers have joined the traditional Hollywood giants. Set in Philadelphia have been Jersey Girl, Unbreakable, and the 1993 movie Philadelphia. The sensitive interpretation of African American slavery, Beloved, was also filmed there, as was the award-winning The Sixth Sense. Both the set and the story for Championship Season belong to Scranton. Central Pennsylvania was the scene for Witness and Gettysburg. A number of films were made in Harrisburg: Lucky Numbers, 8 Millimeter, The Distinguished Gentleman, and Girl, Interrupted. In western Pennsylvania, Silence of the Lambs and Prince of Pennsylvania featured areas outside Pittsburgh, whereas Hoffa, Sudden Death, and Flash Dance displayed the city.

In the field of dance, the Pennsylvania Ballet, founded by Barbara Weisberger in 1964, has an international reputation. The Pittsburgh Ballet is also widely acclaimed. Band leaders Fred Waring and Les Brown distinguished themselves in the 1940s and 1950s.

The Curtis Institute in Philadelphia has a worldwide reputation for the advanced study of music. Distinguished singers who were Pennsylvanians by birth or are so remembered by association include Louis Homer, Paul Athouse, Dusolina Giannini, Mario Lanza, Helen Jepson, Perry Como, Bobby Vinton, and Marian Anderson (who received the 1982 Governor's Distinguished Pennsylvania Artist Award). Leopold Stowkowski rose to fame as the conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Victor Herbert was conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony during part of his career. Eugene Ormandy, conductor of the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra for forty-four years, received the 1980 Hazlett Memorial Award for Excellence in the Arts in the field of music. For twenty-five years the Philadelphia Orchestra has been chosen for extended summer performances at the Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Performing Arts Festival. The Pittsburgh Symphony is proud to have had Andre Previn (recipient of the 1983 Hazlett Memorial Award for Excellence in the Arts) as its conductor. Samuel Barber, Peter Mennin, and Charles Wakefield Cadman are among the better-known Pennsylvania symphonic composers.

The television industry grew rapidly beginning in the 1950s, and today Philadelphia is the fourth largest television market in the country and Pittsburgh the eleventh. Both cities have three major network stations, a public broadcasting station, and smaller independent stations. WQED in Pittsburgh pioneered community-sponsored educational television when it began broadcasting in 1954. The late Fred Rogers, a Latrobe native, was leader in this movement, carrying a message of moral values intended for children. His Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood used friendliness, empathy, and the world of fantasy to foster healthy mental maturation in an increasingly technical and aggressive environment, and it received national and international acclaim.

Pennsylvania has more than 130 newspapers, including daily, weekly, and Sunday editions, as well as special interest or ethnic newspapers, such as Asian, Latino, and Hispanic. These include the Pittsburgh Business Times; El Menajero, published in Hazleton; and the Philadelphia Asian News and the Metro Chinese News, published in Philadelphia.


Pennsylvania's religious composition at the beginning of the twenty-first century can be judged by statistics compiled by the Association of Religion Data Archives, which is located in the Department of Sociology of the College of Liberal Arts at The Pennsylvania State University. The information in detail, including explanations of complexities, is available at www.theARDA.com. The Religion Data Archives breakdown includes: Catholic, 3,503,028; Orthodox, 61,042; Evangelical Protestant, 1,078,477; Mainline Protestant, 1,773,491; Others, 308,065; and Unclaimed, 5,863,939.

(See the Pennsylvania Manual for a detailed list of figures.)


School consolidation became a major goal after World War II. By 1968 the number of school districts had been compressed from over 2,000 to 742; today there are only 500. Centralization and improved spending produced this desirable result. In the 1970s, programs for exceptional and for disadvantaged students first became available, and the vocational-technical secondary school option assisted many youths in finding career areas. In 1974, Pennsylvania's Human Relations Commission ordered that racial imbalance in public schools be eliminated by the end of the year.

Today, Pennsylvania's basic education system is comprised of 500 school districts, 175 charter schools, 86 career and technology centers and 29 intermediate units. As of 2012-13, the most recent school year for which data is available, Pennsylvania had 1,757,678 students enrolled in public schools.

Political Developments: A Two-Party State

The New Deal, the rising influence of labor, and the growing urbanization of the state ended a long period of Republican dominance. In stride with the New Deal, the Democrats fielded a successful gubernatorial candidate in 1934, but the Republicans dominated the next four gubernatorial elections. The Democrats, however, took control of the two major cities, Pittsburgh in 1933 and Philadelphia in 1951, and achieved electoral majorities for the Democratic nominees in seven of the eleven presidential elections from 1936 to 1976. In 1954 and 1958 the Democrats elected George M. Leader and David L. Lawrence successively as governors. They were followed in 1962 by Republican William Warren Scranton, and in 1966 by Republican Raymond P. Shafer. In 1970 the Democrats elected Milton J. Shapp and regained firm control of the legislature for the first time since 1936. Shapp became the first governor eligible to succeed himself under the 1968 Constitution, and he was re-elected in 1974. In 1978 Republican Dick Thornburgh was elected governor. Within two years, the Republicans became the majority party when, in addition to the governorship, they held both U.S. Senate seats, supported President Ronald Reagan's candidacy in 1980, and won majorities in both houses of the state legislature. In 1982 Governor Thornburgh was re-elected, but in 1985 the Democrats became the majority party in the House of Representatives. In 1986 Democrat Robert P. Casey of Scranton, a former State Auditor General, defeated Lieutenant Governor William W. Scranton III for the governorship. In 1990, Governor Casey was re-elected by an overwhelming majority over the Republican candidate, Auditor General Barbara Hafer.

The accidental death of U.S. Senator John Heinz in April 1991 led to the appointment and then overwhelming election victory for the vacant seat by Democrat Harris Wofford, who raised the issue of reform of the nation's health care system. He defeated former Governor Thornburgh. In 1992 Democratic majorities were returned in both houses of the General Assembly for the first time since 1978. On June 14, 1993, Governor Robert P. Casey underwent a heart and liver transplant operation necessitated by a rare disease, familial amyloidosis. He was the first American for whom this operation was performed for that condition. Lieutenant Governor Mark S. Singel exercised the powers and performed the duties of governor until Governor Casey returned to work on December 21. In November 1994, U.S. Representative Tom Ridge defeated Lieutenant Governor Singel and third-party candidate Peg Luksik of Johnstown in the gubernatorial election. In 1995 and 1996 the majority in the House of Representatives swung from Democratic to Republican by the shifting of one seat. The November 1996 elections gave Republicans a five-member House majority and they maintained their majority in the state Senate. Governor Ridge was overwhelmingly re-elected over the Democratic candidate, Assemblyman Ivan Itkin, and two third-party challengers in November 1998. Following the November 2000 election, Republicans held a ten-seat Senate majority and a five-seat majority in the House of Representatives. As a result of congressional reapportionment following the U.S. Census of 2000, Pennsylvania lost two representatives' seats.

On October 5, 2001, as a result of the national crisis following the tragic events of September 11, 2001, Governor Tom Ridge resigned to answer the call of President George W. Bush to serve as the nation's first Director of the Office of Homeland Security. Lieutenant Governor Mark S. Schweiker was then sworn in as Governor and Robert C. Jubelirer, President Pro Tempore of the State Senate, as Lieutenant Governor. In the election of November 2002, the Democratic candidate, Edward G. Rendell, a former mayor of Philadelphia, was elected Governor by 53.5 percent of the vote, defeating the Republican candidate, the incumbent Attorney General Mike Fisher, as well as the Green Party and Liberal Party candidates. Governor Rendell was the first Philadelphian to win the office since 1906. In the November 2006 election, he was re-elected over Republican candidate Lynn Swann, a former Pittsburgh Steelers football star, sports announcer, and a motivational speaker. Swann was the first African American to be nominated for governor of Pennsylvania on a major party ticket. In the same election, incumbent U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, a Republican, was defeated by the Democrat Robert P. Casey Jr., a former auditor general and state treasurer. Public criticism of a legislative vote to increase the salaries of its own members was in part responsible for many outgoing legislators refusing to run for re-election or being defeated for re-election. The November 2006 elections resulted in a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives for the first time in twelve years, although the new composition was only 102 Democrats to 101 Republicans. The state Senate elections produced a chamber that had a Republican majority of 29 to 21.

As a result of the presidential candidacy of U.S. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, an unprecedented large increase in Democratic voter registration occurred between the summer of 2008 and the November election, developing at first in and around Philadelphia. Its strength was so overwhelming as to cause comments that the two-party state era had come to an end. By September 2008, the public had already been exposed to an avalanche of presidential campaigning since January, but the emphasis on health care reform, global climate, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and energy and fuel were overshadowed from mid-September forward by a decline of the nation's financial system and an economic descent into recession with all its unwanted consequences. Pennsylvania joined in the overwhelming victory of President Obama. In the General Assembly the election produced a Democratic majority in the House of 104 to 99, but Republicans continued to hold a majority in the Senate of 30 to 20. Senator Joseph B. Scarnati III was elevated to Lieutenant Governor upon the death of Catherine Baker Knoll on November 12, 2008, but he also continued to hold his Senate seat.

Governor Tom Corbett was elected Pennsylvania's forty-sixth governor with 2,160,828 votes, or 54.5 percent of votes cast, on November 2, 2010, defeating Democratic candidate Dan Onorato, who received 1,801,279 votes. Corbett shared the joint ticket with Jim Cawley, Pennsylvania's thirty-second lieutenant governor. In 2008, Corbett had been re-elected Attorney General of Pennsylvania with more than three million votes - more votes than any other Republican candidate in the history of the Keystone State. Governor Corbett and Lieutenant Governor Cawley were inaugurated on January 18, 2011, in Harrisburg.

Cold War, Korean Conflict, Vietnam Involvement, and Persian Gulf War

After the end of World War II, the United Nations was established as a parliament of governments in which disputes between nations could be settled peacefully. Nevertheless, the United States and Communist countries started an arms race that led to a "cold war," resulting in several undeclared limited wars. From 1950 to 1953, individual Pennsylvanians were among the many Americans who fought with the South Koreans against the North Koreans and their Communist Chinese allies. Pennsylvania's 28th Infantry Division was one of four National Guard divisions called to active duty during the crisis, being deployed to Germany to help deflect any aggression from Russia or its allies. At home, during the early 1950s, public fears of Communist infiltration reached hysterical levels but then subsided as it became apparent that exaggeration and unfounded fears had been forced on the public by Red-baiters.

Pennsylvanians served their country faithfully during the Korean, Vietnam, and Persian Gulf conflicts. In Korea, Pfc. Melvin L. Brown of Mahaffey, Sfc. William S. Sitman of Bellwood, and Cpl. Clifton T. Speicher of Gray gave their lives in self-sacrificing combat deeds for which they were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Major General John Huston Church (1892-1953) commanded the 24th Infantry Division in the first year of fighting. Lieutenant General Henry Aurand commanded the U.S. Army- Pacific (which included the Korean operation) from 1949 to 1952. General Lyman L. Lemnitzer, a native of Honesdale, was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, which brought about a brief thaw in the Cold War.

In 1964 a conflict developed in Vietnam. American troops fought beside the South Vietnamese against the North Vietnamese and their supporters until 1973, and many Pennsylvanians served and died there. Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz of Philadelphia and Sgt. Glenn H. English Jr., a native of Altoona, were mortally wounded while performing courageous acts for which they were both awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Pfc. William D. Port of Harrisburg, Spec. David C. Dolby of Norristown, and Lt. Walter J. Marm Jr. of Pittsburgh received the Medal of Honor for conspicuous acts of leadership and personal valor. Major General Charles W. Eifler, a native of Altoona, directed the First Logistical Command in South Vietnam until May 1967. The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C. includes 1,449 Pennsylvanians among the 58,715 who died as a result of combat. The war was very unpopular in Pennsylvania, as in the rest of the nation, and anti-war protests and rallies drew large crowds. The Cold War ended with a number of climactic events between late 1988 and 1991. The importance of each event has been debated, but the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 has been most deeply embedded in the popular mind.

In 1990 and 1991 Pennsylvania units sent to Saudi Arabia, as part of the international force confronting Iraqi aggression, included the 121st and 131st Transportation Companies of the Pennsylvania National Guard, the 193rd Squadron of the Air National Guard, and the 316th Strategic Hospital Reserve. This conflict has been known as the Persian Gulf War and sometimes as the First Iraq War. On February 25, 1991, 13 members of the 14th Quartermaster Detachment, U.S. Army Reserves, a Greensburg unit, were killed by an Iraqi Scud missile attack.

War Against Terrorism, Second Iraq War, Iraq Reconstruction, and Resurgence of El Quaeda in Afghanistan

On September 11, 2001 United Airlines Flight 93 scheduled for San Francisco, bearing forty-four passengers and crew, was hijacked by four terrorists of the Muslim extremist terrorist organization al-Qaeda. The airplane crashed into a farm field near Shanksville, Somerset County, killing all on board. On-flight recordings and phone calls suggest passengers heroically struggled with their captors before the crash and sacrificially thwarted al-Qaeda's plan to crash the plane into some sensitive government site in or near the nation's capital. On the same morning, sixty-four Pennsylvanians perished among the estimated 2,752 killed in the destruction of New York City's World Trade Center Towers by two other airliners taken over by al-Qaeda terrorists. A fourth hijacked airliner destroyed large sections of the Pentagon in the nation's capital. Volunteer relief for World Trade Center victims sprang forth from Pennsylvania. Governor Tom Ridge resigned to become director of President Bush's newly created federal Office of Homeland Security, and in November 2002 the federal Department of Homeland Security was created. Ridge went on to head the new department. In the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks, National Guard and military reserve units within the state were mobilized for domestic security. Some of these forces were soon assigned to the nation's international war against terrorism, which included combat missions in Afghanistan. In 2003, National Guard involvement as peacekeepers in Bosnia ended, but a similar assignment in Kosovo continued into 2004. A second war against Iraq erupted in March 2003, and National Guard and reserve units participated in the invasion of Iraq, known as Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the subsequent period of United States' occupation to stabilize and rebuild that country.

By early 2005, some 8,000 Pennsylvania National Guard members had been deployed in the Global War on Terrorism since September 11, 2001. The First Battalion, 107th Field Artillery was on duty as military police in Iraq from January 2004 until February 2005. Beginning in November 2004, the First Battalion, 103rd Armored Regiment was deployed to Iraq for twelve months, the first time since World War II that a 28th Division combat battalion had operated in a war zone. Later, the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard was among the first United States units organized around a superb new eight-wheeled combat vehicle, and has seen combat service in Iraq. Today, Pennsylvania's Army National Guard is the largest in the United States, and its Air National Guard is the fourth largest. Recruiting and retention statistics for the 2006 fiscal year were the highest achieved in the last two decades and among the highest in the country. Altogether, the National Guard has 19,000 members and 2,400 full-time employees. In July 2007, the 111 Fighter Wing of the Air National Guard left its Willow Grove Air Reserve Station for re-reployment in support of ground forces in Iraq, flying A-10 Thunderbolt attack fighters. With the deployment of the 56th Stryker Brigade and 28th Combat Aviation Brigade in early 2009, as well as the 171st Air Refueling Wing, 193rd Special Operations Wing, and 111th Fighter Wing Air National Guard deployments, the Pennsylvania National Guard will have more soldiers and airmen in mobilized status than at any time since World War II.

Government Modernization

After the second World War there was a renewed emphasis on reorganizing state government. In 1945 the State Museum and State Archives were placed under the Historical and Museum Commission. In 1947 the Tax Equalization Board was created to review school tax assessments so that the burden of public education would fall evenly on all districts. In 1951 the Council on Civil Defense was created, and in 1978 it became the Emergency Management Agency. In 1955, during the administration of Governor Leader, an Office of Administration was set up within the executive branch. A government reorganization act permitted any governor to transfer functions from one department to another, subject to the approval of the General Assembly. With the accompanying fiscal and appointment reforms of the Leader Administration, the reorganization act was the most important change in state machinery since Governor Pinchot instituted an administrative code in 1923. The Human Relations Commission was established in 1955 to prevent discrimination in employment. In 1966 the Department of Community Affairs was created to deal with matters concerning local governments. The termination in 1968 of the Department of Internal Affairs resulted in four of its bureaus being placed in other agencies.

By a constitutional amendment in 1959, the General Assembly resumed annual sessions but with limitations on actions in the even-numbered years. With bipartisan support, Governor Raymond P. Shafer obtained legislation for a convention which was limited to specific problems of the existing 1874 Constitution. There was agreement that the uniformity clause, which prevents enactment of a graduated income tax, would not be altered. The Constitutional Convention of 1967-1968 revised the 1874 Constitution. A significant provision prohibits the denial to any person of his or her civil rights. The governor and other elective state officers were made eligible to succeed themselves for one additional term. A unified judicial system has been established under the Supreme Court, a Commonwealth Court has been created, and the inferior courts have been modernized. Broad extensions of county and local home rule became possible. In 1971 the voters amended the state constitution to guarantee that equal rights could not be denied because of sex. By an act of Dec. 6, 1972, the State Constitution so amended was declared to be henceforth known and cited as the Constitution of 1968. Sessions of the General Assembly were made two years in length, coinciding with the period of Representatives' terms. The House was fixed at 203 members, and a Legislative Reapportionment Commission was authorized. By dropping the provision for election of the Secretary of Internal Affairs, the breakup of that department was foreshadowed and actually took place later in 1968. Except in certain emergencies, the new constitution limited state borrowing to 175 percent of the average annual revenue raised by taxation. All departments now had to be audited, and the Governor's Office was required to submit a budget annually to the legislature.

In 1970, creations of a Department of Transportation and a Department of Environmental Resources were results of an enlarged concept of the role of state government. Both had broader functions than the departments they replaced, the Highways Department and Forest and Waters. The consolidation of two agencies into the Department of General Services in 1975 was another step in the direction of efficiency. The creation of a Commission for Women by executive order in 1975, and the replacement of the Council on Aging with a Department of Aging in 1978, both followed the trend toward serving population segments that have special needs. As a result of a constitutional amendment in 1978, the Attorney General became an elected official in 1980, and that office became an independent department. The designation Department of Justice was discontinued. Within the executive branch, an Office of General Counsel was formed to continue the old function of an attorney appointed and subordinate to the governor. A further result of the break up of the Department of Justice was the eventual creation in 1984 of a separate Department of Corrections. In 1987 an Office of Inspector General was created, responsible to the governor through the General Counsel, with investigative powers intended to maintain the integrity and efficiency of activities of the executive agencies. In 1980 the Superior Court was expanded from seven to fifteen judges. The establishment of an Ethics Commission in 1978 and an Independent Regulatory Review Commission in 1982 were two of the many measures dealing with particular problems that have surfaced in the governmental process. The augmentation of the Department of Commerce in 1987 by the Economic Development Partnership anticipated a more powerful economic policy. In June 1996, the Departments of Commerce and Community Affairs were merged to form the Department of Community and Economic Development. Under the administration of Governor Tom Ridge, the Department of Environmental Resources was divided into the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, which operates the state parks and forest, and the Department of Environmental Protection, which enforces laws and regulations concerning other components of the environment. Other changes that occurred during the Ridge administrations include creation of governor's advisory commissions on African American Affairs (1998) and Latino Affairs (1996), re-establishment of the Commission for Women (1997), and formation of the Governor's Growing Greener Council (1998). During its fifteen months in office, the administration of Governor Mark S. Schweiker created Pennsylvania's Office of Homeland Security to coordinate anti-terrorism activities by state agencies. Under the administrations of Governors Ridge, Schweiker, and Rendell, adaptations of Internet communication have gradually increased until now they make a vast amount of useful data easily available to the average citizen, including official forms that can be printed quickly to speed up interacting with many government agencies.

In 2011, the rapidly increasing cost and size of state government, coupled with the Great Recession, caused Governor Corbett to immediately confront a $4.2 billion budget deficit. Governor Corbett was able to successfully close that deficit and a $1 billion deficit the following fiscal year without raising taxes. He did this by efficiently cutting the size and cost of state government. In order to ensure a stable budget for the future, Governor Corbett focused on policies that grow private sector employment. Creating economic opportunity throughout the Commonwealth provides jobs for Pennsylvanians and stable revenue for the future of the state. By the middle of Governor Corbett's first term, Pennsylvania had recovered more than half of the jobs lost during the recession.