What's it like to live in Scranton, PA?

Elizabeth Martin

Profile written by local expert:

Elizabeth Martin

Scranton may be the sixth-largest metropolitan area in Pennsylvania, but the close-knit neighborhoods that surround the vibrant downtown give Scranton its small-town appeal. The metro area owes its name to the Scranton family, who helped establish the region as an iron and steel capital back in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Courthouse Square, which lends itself to the Lackawanna County Courthouse, proudly boasts a number of historic and modern statues and monuments. Trendy restaurants, niche boutiques and art galleries provide an active downtown atmosphere.

Scranton's low crime rate and low cost of living make it a popular place for families, while the vital, healthy downtown is a magnet for millennials. The active social scene features an abundance of engaging events, such as First Friday Scranton, a free art walk at galleries and businesses around downtown; Scranton Jazz Festival, a three-day festival held every August; and La Festa Italiana, an end-of-summer event held on Courthouse Square, featuring Italian fare and live entertainment.

See all the best places to live in Pennsylvania.


U.S. News analyzed 125 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.

Scranton, Pennsylvania is ranked:

#98 in Best Places to Live

#84 in Best Places to Retire

#7 in Best Places to Live in Pennsylvania




Best Places to Live

  • Desirability
  • Value
  • Job Market
  • Quality of Life
  • Net Migration

Read how we rank places

Scranton, PA Quick Stats

  • 557,942

    Metro Population

  • $41,980

    Average Annual Salary

  • 58.7° / 40.0°

    Avg High/Low Temps

  • 42.8

    Median Age

  • $100,600

    Median Home Price

  • 38.3 inches

    AVG Annual Rainfall

  • 5.0%

    Unemployment Rate

  • $745

    Median Monthly Rent

  • 21.8 minutes

    Avg Commute Time

What's the cost of living in Scranton, PA?

The cost of living in Scranton is slightly below the national average. Housing costs here are noticeably lower than in other Northeastern metro areas, including nearby Philadelphia and New York City. Scranton residents also pay less than residents of these places for utilities, health care and groceries.

Value Index

Index Score: 7.1 /10

How we calculate this.

Scranton offer a better value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.

Housing Costs 2018



Housing Costs Over Time

Data sourced from Zillow median home sale price data series. Additional data provided by the Austin Board of Realtors, Houston Association of Realtors, Intermountain MLS, Omaha Area Board of Realtors, San Antonio Board of Realtors, and the Salt Lake Board of Realtors.

Buying or selling a home? Find top real estate agents in Scranton, PA.

What's the weather like in Scranton, PA?

The Scranton region experiences four seasons and a range of temperatures. You can expect a fair amount of snow as well.

Seasonal Temperature (Avgs)









Seasonal Rainfall (Avgs)

2.7 in


3.5 in


4.0 in


4.1 in


Monthly High and Low Temperatures (°F)

Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center.

What's the best way to get around Scranton, PA?

Many commuters rely on their own cars to get around. Unfortunately, roadway infrastructure is tired and crowded. The main artery that connects Scranton with nearby Wilkes-Barre and points to the north and south is Interstate 81, which is overly congested and habitually under construction.

Public transportation is available with the County of Lackawanna Transit System (COLTS) buses, which service downtown Scranton and neighborhoods within the immediate vicinity. Intercity bus companies like Greyhound connect Scranton to nearby Wilkes-Barre and other metro areas in Pennsylvania – like Harrisburgand Philadelphia – and throughout the Northeast.

If air travel is the preferred mode of transportation, the nearby Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport sits just south of Scranton on Interstate 81. American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Regional Sky offer flights to major hubs like ChicagoAtlanta, Philadelphia and Newark, New Jersey. Amtrak train services are not available in Scranton.

Commuting in Scranton, PA

Means of Transportation
Above national average

Equal to national average

Equal to national average

Public Transit
Below national average
Average Commute Time

21.8 minutes

4.6 minutes less than national average

Average Commute Times by Zip Code

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

Who lives in Scranton, PA?

Despite a relative lack of affluence, more than half of Scranton's residents are homeowners. The population skews slightly older, and the metro area is home to a significant number of family households. The metro area has noticeable Italian, Irish, Eastern European and German roots.

The city proper is home to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Scranton, which is the seat of the Catholic Church in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Age Distribution

Marital Status Breakdown

About the same number of single people in Scranton as national average

Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.

What is there to do in Scranton, PA?

There are a number of parks, trails and historic landmarks that dot the metro area. For those who enjoy a nature trail atmosphere, the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail offers a nice environment for walking and biking and connects to other portions of Scranton's 70-mile trail system. McDade Park, home to the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum and the Lackawanna Coal Mine Tour Complex, is also worth a visit. Nay Aug Park, Scranton's largest park, features a pool and a playground for kids, while the David Wenzel Treehouse overlook offers beautiful views.

Meanwhile, the Steamtown National Historic Site and the Electric City Trolley Museum offer a glimpse of Scranton's railroad history that train enthusiasts of all ages can enjoy.