Wilkes-Barre ( or ) is a city in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Luzerne County. Located at the center of the Wyoming Valley, it had an estimated population of 40,766 in 2019. It is the second-largest city (after Scranton) of the Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of 563,631 as of the 2010 Census and is the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Pennsylvania. Wilkes-Barre and the surrounding Wyoming Valley are framed by the Pocono Mountains to the east, the Endless Mountains to the north and west, and the Lehigh Valley to the south. The Susquehanna River flows through the center of the valley and defines the northwestern border of the city.
Wilkes-Barre was founded in 1769 and formally incorporated in 1806. The city grew rapidly in the 19th century after the discovery of nearby coal reserves and the arrival of hundreds of thousands of immigrants who provided a labor force for the local mines. The coal mining fueled industrialization in the city, which reached the height of its prosperity in the first half of the 20th century. Its population peaked at more than 86,000 in 1930. Following World War II, the city's economy declined due to the collapse of industry.