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Donora, Pennsylvania

Donora is a borough located in Washington County, Pennsylvania. As of the 2000 census, the borough had a total population of 5,653.

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Geography Donora is located at 40°10'33" North, 79°51'41" West (40.175879, -79.861264)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 5.3 km² (2.0 mi²). 4.9 km² (1.9 mi²) of it is land and 0.4 km² (0.2 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 7.32% water.

Demographics As of the census of 2000, there are 5,653 people, 2,469 households, and 1,434 families residing in the borough. The population density is 1,148.8/km² (2,973.8/mi²). There are 2,958 housing units at an average density of 601.1/km² (1,556.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the borough is 82.10% White, 14.84% African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.32% from other races, and 2.32% from two or more races. 2.02% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 2,469 households out of which 23.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.9% are married couples living together, 16.5% have a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% are non-families. 37.4% of all households are made up of individuals and 21.3% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.23 and the average family size is 2.95.

In the borough the population is spread out with 21.7% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 21.4% from 45 to 64, and 25.0% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 42 years. For every 100 females there are 82.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 78.4 males.

The median income for a household in the borough is $27,939, and the median income for a family is $37,176. Males have a median income of $33,725 versus $22,346 for females. The per capita income for the borough is $17,893. 16.8% of the population and 12.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 28.2% are under the age of 18 and 14.0% are 65 or older.


In 1948 an air inverse trapped fluoride effluence from the Zinc Works. "In three days, 18 people died... After the inversion lifted, another 50 died. Hundreds more finished the rest of their lives with damaged lungs and hearts. But another 40 years would pass before the whole truth about Donora's bad air made public-health history." (The Globe and Mail Saturday December 7, 2002, book review by Andrew Nikiforuk When Smoke Ran Like Water by Devra Davis) See air pollution

Further Reading

  • Davis, Devra, When Smoke Ran Like Water: Tales of Environmental Deception and the Battle Against Pollution, Basic Books, 2002, hardcover, 316 pages, ISBN 0-465-01521-2
  • Snyder, Lynn Page, "The Death-Dealing Smog over Denora, Pennsylvania: Industrial Air Pollution, Public Health, and Federal Policy, 1915-1963", (Ph.D dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 1994)
  • Bryson, Chris, "A Secret History of America's Worst Air Pollution Disaster," Earth Island Journal, volume 13, Fall, 1998, available online at: http://www.earthisland.org/eijornal/fall98/fe_fall98donora (http://www.earthisland.org/eijornal/fall98/fe_fall98donora) and also at: http://www.fluoridation.com/donora.htm (http://www.fluoridation.com/donora.htm) (the site in external links labeled "Donora Fluoride Smog coverup")]

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