A major railroad town, Altoona was the home of the Pennsylvania Railroad's major workshop complex of Altoona Works, employing at its peak some 15,000 people and covering three miles in length, 218 acres of yards and 37 acres of indoor workshop floor space in 122 buildings. The PRR built many of its own locomotives in Altoona, some 7873 in all; the last being constructed in 1946. Things declined steadily from that point, and most of the plant is now long gone.
Geography\nAltoona is located at 40°30'39" North, 78°23'59" West (40.510720, -78.399758)1.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 25.3 km² (9.8 mi²). 25.3 km² (9.8 mi²) of it is land and none of the area is covered with water.
Demographics\nAs of the census of 2000, there are 49,523 people, 20,059 households, and 12,576 families residing in the city. The population density is 1,957.1/km² (5,069.7/mi²). There are 21,681 housing units at an average density of 856.8/km² (2,219.5/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 96.01% White, 2.49% African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.24% from other races, and 0.83% from two or more races. 0.74% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 20,059 households out of which 28.4% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% are married couples living together, 13.8% have a female householder with no husband present, and 37.3% are non-families. 31.6% of all households are made up of individuals and 14.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.37 and the average family size is 2.98.
In the city the population is spread out with 22.9% under the age of 18, 10.9% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 37 years. For every 100 females there are 88.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 84.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $28,248, and the median income for a family is $36,758. Males have a median income of $28,851 versus $21,242 for females. The per capita income for the city is $15,213. 17.7% of the population and 12.9% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 24.1% are under the age of 18 and 9.0% are 65 or older.