The Lehigh Valley (Pennsylvania German: 'S Lechaadaal), known officially by the United States Census Bureau as the Allentown - Bethlehem - Easton, PA-NJ metropolitan area and referred to locally as The Valley and A-B-E, is a metropolitan region officially consisting of Lehigh, Carbon and Northampton counties in eastern Pennsylvania and Warren county on the western edge of New Jersey, in the United States.
The Lehigh Valley is the fastest growing and third most populous region in the state of Pennsylvania with a population of 821,623 residents as of the 2010 U.S. Census. It is eclipsed in total population only by the metropolitan areas of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania. It is the 64th most populated metropolitan area in the entire United States. The region is named for the Lehigh River, which runs through it, and it is part of the Great Appalachian Valley.
The Lehigh Valley's principal cities are Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton, comprising the Allentown - Bethlehem - Easton metropolitan area. The traditional bounds of the region are The Poconos to the north, the Delaware River to the east, the boundaries of Berks County and Montgomery County to the southwest, and the boundary with Bucks County to the south. More recently, however, the area around Phillipsburg, New Jersey west of Pohatcong Mountain, parts of upper Bucks County around Quakertown, and portions of northeastern Berks County and southwestern Carbon County in Pennsylvania are considered outer parts of the Valley.
The Lehigh Valley is located approximately 60 miles north of Philadelphia, the country's fifth largest city, 80 miles east of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania's capital, and 70 miles west of New York City, the country's largest city. The area is home to more than 820,000 people as of the 2010 U.S. Census. Recent census studies show it to be the fastest growing region in Pennsylvania, due in part to its growing popularity as a bedroom community for the highly-populated neighboring regions of Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City as well as its favorable business climate and much lower cost of living in comparison to surrounding areas.
Municipalities with more than 10,000 people
Municipalities with fewer than 10,000 people
Census-designated places and villages
After the demise of Bethlehem Steel, Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network (in Allentown), one of Pennsylvania's largest hospital systems, replaced it as the Lehigh Valley's largest employer. As of 2013, the Lehigh Valley's top twenty five employers are: 1.) Lehigh Valley Hospital and Health Network, 2.) St. Luke's Hospital and Health Network, 3.) Lehigh University, 4.)Air Products & Chemicals, 5.) Giant Food Stores, 6.) Lehigh County, 7.) PPL Corporation, 8.) Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, 9.) Northampton County, 10.) Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, 11) B. Braun Medical, 12.) Amazon.com, 13.) Avantor Performance Materials, 14.) Wegman's, 15.) Lutron Electronics, 16.) Guardian Life Insurance Co., 17.) KidsPeace, 18.) Weis Markets, 19.) Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, 20.) Northampton Community College, 21.) Sacred Heart Healthcare System, 22.) Easton Hospital, 23.) Crayola, 24.) Mack Trucks, 25.)
Olympus Corporation, 27.) Wells Fargo, 28.) Walmart, 29.) Lafayette College and 30.) Lehigh Carbon Community College.
The Lehigh Valley has a much lower cost of living, more affordable real estate, lower taxes and a more affordable labor pool than most other Northeastern US regions. These attributes and others, such as sizable investments in business development and a friendlier regulatory environment, provide the area with an attractive business climate in comparison to surrounding states and areas.
Due in large part to the aforementioned comparably favorable business climate, the Lehigh Valley has experienced some success in luring large, established businesses as well as new startup companies from nearby states such as New York and New Jersey, bringing with them upwards of thousands of new jobs to the area. Large companies such as Amazon.com have praised the region for its commitment to business investments and incentives, citing them as a major reason for continuing expansions and increased hiring in the Lehigh Valley.
Large national and international companies based in the Lehigh Valley include LSI Corporation (in Allentown), Avantor Performance Materials (Center Valley), Air Products & Chemicals (in Trexlertown), Bethlehem Steel (which ceased operations in 2003, in Bethlehem), Crayola LLC (in Easton), Buckeye Partners (in Emmaus), Heidelberg Cement (in Fogelsville), Just Born (in Bethlehem), Lutron Electronics (in Coopersburg), Mack Trucks (in Allentown), Olympus Corporation USA (in Center Valley), PPL Corporation (in Allentown), Rodale Press (in Emmaus), Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, Synchronoss Technologies (Bethlehem), Victaulic (in Easton), Amazon.com, and many others.
The Lehigh Valley is also one of the largest areas on the east coast for the location of warehouses and distribution centers. Companies that own and operate warehouses and distribution centers in the Lehigh Valley include Amazon.com, B. Braun, Boston Beer Company (brewer of Samuel Adams brand beer), BMW, Bridgestone, FedEx, Home Depot, J. C. Penney, Nestle Purina, ShopRite, The Coca-Cola Company, True Value, Uline and many others. Most of these distribution centers are located along the U.S. Route 22, Interstate 78 and Interstate 476 corridors.
Due to Pennsylvania's lack of an excise tax on cigars, the Lehigh Valley is also home to some of the United States' largest cigar distributors and retailers.
Pennsylvania is ranked fourth in the nation in the production of renewable, notably solar, energy. The Lehigh Valley boasts one of the largest solar panels installations in Pennsylvania and is a leading producer of solar and other renewable energy in the region. As an example, Air Products & Chemicals, in Trexlertown, installed and maintains a 15-acre solar farm which generates more than half the required electricity for their corporate headquarters, saving an estimated $250,000 per year in utility costs. The comparatively large solar industry in the Lehigh Valley is due mostly to a combination of federal, state and local incentive programs which make using renewable energy sources more lucrative and cost effective than in years past.
Colleges and universities
The Lehigh Valley is a center of post-secondary education, with four-year colleges and universities. These include:
The Lehigh Valley is also home to two-year colleges:
High school education
As the third most populous metropolitan region in Pennsylvania, the Lehigh Valley is served by numerous school districts, public and private high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools.
Lehigh Valley-based high schools include: