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Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

  •   State: 
    Lehigh County
      County FIPS: 
    40°37′34″N 75°22′32″W
      Area total: 
    19.46 sq mi
      Area land: 
    19.11 sq mi (49.51 km²)
      Area water: 
    0.34 sq mi (0.89 km²)
    360 ft (109.728 m)
  •   Latitude: 
      Dman name cbsa: 
    Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ
    Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC-5:00; Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) UTC-4:00
      ZIP codes: 

    Bethlehem, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, United States

  •   Population: 
      Population density: 
    3,964.48 residents per square mile of area (1,530.67/km²)
      Household income: 
      Unemployment rate: 
  •   Sales taxes: 
      Income taxes: 

As of the 2020 census, Bethlehem had a total population of 75,781. The city is located along the Lehigh River, a 109-mile-long (175 km) tributary of the Delaware River. Bethlehem was christened as Bethlehem on Christmas Eve 1741 by Nicolaus Zinzendorf, a Moravian bishop. In 1747, Bethlehem was the first U.S. city to feature a decorated Christmas tree. On December 7, 1937, at a grand ceremony during the Great Depression, the city adopted the nickname "Christmas City USA" Bethlehem is located 48 miles (77 km) north of Philadelphia and 72 miles (116 km) west of New York City. It is one of several Lehigh Valley locations, including Emmaus, Egypt, Allentown's Jordan Creek, and Nazareth whose names were inspired by locations referenced in the Bible. Bethlehem is Pennsylvania's third most populous metropolitan area and the 68th most populated metropolitan area in the U.S. It has four sections to the city: central Bethlehem, the south side, the east side, and the west side. In the late 1700s, Bethlehem established grist and saw mills, known as Bethlehem's Mills. The historic Brethren House, Widows' House, and Gemreinhaus were converted to the historic God's Acre cemetery, which was built in 1762. The first water-works in Bethlehem were built in the 1762, alongside the historic Lenape cemetery, as well as the New York colony.


Bethlehem is the primary city name, but also Butztown, Freemansburg are acceptable city names or spellings. The official name is Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Bethlehem was named after the Biblical town Bethlehem of Judea, said to be the birthplace of Jesus. The Moravians ministered to the regional Lenape Native Americans through their mission in the area. In 1762, Bethlehem built the first water-works in America to pump water for public use. On March 27, 1900, the Bach Choir of Bethlehem presented the United States debut of German Lutheran composer Johann Sebastian Bach's Mass in B Minor (1749) In 1845, the prosperous village was incorporated into a free borough in the County of Northampton. After the Civil War, the Borough of South Bethlehem was formed in 1886. In 1904, the West Bethlehem Boroughs of Lehigh County and Bethlehem (in Northampton County) merged to become the City of Bethlehem. In 1917, the South Bethlehem Borough of Bethlehem and Bethlehem merged to the become the Town of Bethlehem, with West Bethlehem remaining a separate township. The city's first mayor, Archibald Johnston (1865-1948), was elected as the first mayor of the new city in 1865. Bethlehem was one of the four leading Moravian communities in the Northeastern United States (Emmaus, Lititz and Nazareth, each in Pennsylvania, were the three). Bethlehem Township has remained a separate political entity since the merger of the boroughs in 1917, although it has provided a count for the original Bethlehem boroughs for many years. It is located on the Delaware River and its tributaries in eastern Pennsylvania.


Bethlehem has a humid continental climate (Dfa) Summers are typically hot and humid, fall and spring are generally mild, and winter is cold. The Lehigh River, a tributary of the Delaware, flows right through Bethlehem. Because large volumes of water were required in the steelmaking process, the city purchased 22,000 acres (8,900 ha) of land in the Pocono Mountains, where its water is stored in reservoirs. Bethlehem is divided into five main areas: Center City, West Side, East Side, South Side, and North Side. The West Side is located in Lehigh County and the other five neighborhoods are in Northampton County. The North Side begins above Dewberry Ave and extends up Route 191 (Linden Ave) to Oakland Road, where the city and township divide is. The East Side is bordered to the west by Center City and to the east by Bethlehem Township and Freemansburg. The South Side's borders are Fountain Hill, South Mountain, Hellertown, and Pembroke Village. The highest recorded temperature was 105 °F (41 °C), while the lowest recorded temperature is 16 °C (27 °C) The city falls under the USDA 6b Plant hardiness zone. It is located 50 miles (80 km) north of Philadelphia and about 80 miles (130 km) west of New York City. The city has a total area of 19.4 square miles (50 km²), of which 19.3 square miles of land is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km²) is water.


As of the census of 2020, there are 75,781 people living in the city. The racial makeup of the city is 72.7% White, 9.2% African American, 0.3% Native American, 3.1% Asian American, and 7.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race are 29.9% of the population. Bethlehem has a lower crime rate than that of Allentown and Easton. In 2008, Bethlehem had an overall crime index of 244.4, while Allenttown's crime index was 510.4. The United States' average was 320.9. The city has a population of 74,982, with 31,221 housing units. The median income for a household in theCity was $35,815, and the median Income for a family was $45,354. The per capita income for the city was $18,987, with 15.0% of those under age 18 and 8.8% ofThose age 65 or over. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was2.95. The population was spread out, with 21.0%. under the age of 18, 14.4% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 20.1%. from 45 to 64, and 17.9%. who were 65 years of age or older. There were 29,631 housing units at an average density of 1,538.8 per square mile (594.0/km²).


Bethlehem became a center of heavy industry and trade during the industrial revolution. Bethlehem Steel began producing the first wide-flange structural shapes made in the United States. In 2007, the casino resort company of Las Vegas Sands began the construction of Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem. Other major employers include B. Braun, Lehigh University, and the Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. Zulily also has a large logistics operation in the city and serves the U.S. and its customers in Bethlehem. In recent years, retail business in downtown Bethlehem, particularly along Main Street south of Broad, has experienced a renaissance, based on the city's historic character. The city is home to the Moravian Book Shop (1745), the country's oldest continuously operating bookstore and the historic Hotel Bethlehem (1922). Meanwhile, on the South Side, restaurants have sprung up on Third and Fourth Streets, largely because of the presence of the SteelStacks Arts and Cultural Center and the development of the Sands Casino and the Steel Stacks Arts & Cultural Center. In the center of the city, there are several shopping centers: Westgate Mall, Schoeners Road Mall, and Westgate Shopping Center on Union Boulevard near the Allentown border. Outside the center, there is an enclosed mall anchored by Weis Markets, Dollar Tree, and PriceTite's Wine and Spirits, near the Rt 378 intersection of East and Washington. The Bethlehem Commons indoor mall and historic Sun Inn (1758) at its northern end is anchored by Moravians University's Main Street Campus.

Arts and culture

Bethlehem has a long historical relationship with the celebration of Christmas, which is prominently celebrated in the city annually. The city was christened as Bethlehem on Christmas Eve, 1741 by Nicolaus Zinzendorf, a Moravian bishop. In 1747, Bethlehem was the first U.S. city to feature a decorated Christmas tree. The people gathered at the 1937 ceremony heard the same words when the Bach Choir sang the old German hymn, "Jesu, Rufe Mich (Jesus, Thou Me)" The city has also been the past, and current host of the North East Art Rock Festival, or NEARFest, a popular three-day progressive rock music event. It had eight rays, with the main horizontal ray 81 feet wide and the main vertical ray 53 feet high. In 1967, the current star, 91 feet high, was installed on the old steel frame and set in a concrete base 25 feet wide by 5 feet deep. The star was erected on the top of South Mountain, on property owned by the Water Department, located in Lower Saucon Township. In the summer of 2006, the city repaired the base. A crew of municipal electricians changes the bulbs every two years. It is famous for hosting Musikfest, the nation's largest free music festival held annually each August. The festival spans ten days, attracts roughly a million attendees from all over the world, and features hundreds of thousands of musical instruments. It has a popular destination for recreation and entertainment and is open to the public every first Friday of the month.


The Bethlehem Steel FC, a United Soccer League team founded in 2015, played at Goodman Stadium at Lehigh University, until 2019. The Lehigh Valley RFC rugby union team, founded in 1998, play their home matches at Monocacy Park. From 1996 to 2012, the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League held pre-season training camp each summer at the football facilities of Le high University. Bethlehem had a corporate soccer team, the Bethlehem Steel F.C., which won the 191819 championship in the National Association Football League (NAFL), and then won what amounted to national championships three more times during the next decade. The team also won the National Challenge Cup, now called the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after billionaire sports franchise owner Lamar Hunt, five times beginning in 1915, and for the last time in 1926. The Bethlehem Steel sides consisted largely of British imported players and also had the distinction of being the first American professional soccer team to play in Europe, which it did during its tour of Sweden in 1919. The Lehigh Valley Steelhawks, a former Professional Indoor Football League, played home games at Stabler Arena in Bethlehem until they moved to Allentown in 2014. The city is home to the University of Pennsylvania's football team, Bethlehem Phantoms, which play in the Pennsylvania Football League. The Phantoms are a member of the Pennsylvania Football Conference, which is the second-largest league in the United States. Bethlehem is also home to a number of amateur and semi-professional sports teams.

Parks and recreation

Bethlehem owns 39 park sites, encompassing 568 acres (2.3 km²) Among the city's parks are Buchannan Park, Elmwood Park, Illick's Mill Park, Johnston Park, Monocacy Park, Rockland Park, Rose Garden, Sand Island, Saucon Park, Sell Field, South Mountain Park, Triangle Park, West Side Park, and Yosko Park. The city also has its own water park, which is open to the public. Bethlehem is home to the Bethlehem Water Company, which provides water to the city and surrounding areas. The water company was founded in 1858 and has been in operation since 1881. The company was formed to provide water to Bethlehem and surrounding communities. It also provides a water supply for the city, as well as other water-related services such as garbage collection and recycling. The Water Company also has a water treatment facility, which was established in 1881 and is still in use today. It is located on the site of the former Bethlehem Water Treatment Plant, which dates back to the 18th century. The current water treatment plant was built in the 19th century and covers an area of 2.2 km². It was the first water treatment station in the United States, and the first in the world to be built on the Potomac River, which runs through the city. The Pennsylvania Turnpike was completed in the early 20th century, and was the second in the U.S. to cross the Pennsylvania River.


The city government is composed of a mayor and a seven-person city council. Mayor J. William Reynolds was sworn in on January 3, 2022. Federally, Bethlehem is part of Pennsylvania's 7th congressional district, represented by Democrat Susan Wild. The city is located on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which runs from Lehigh County to the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border. It is located in the Lehigh Valley, which includes Bethlehem, Bethlehem Township, Bethlehem, and Mount Airy, as well as the boroughs of Bethlehem and Bethlehem Township. The town has a population of about 2,000,000 and is home to a public school system that is one of the largest in the state. It also has a high school, Bethlehem High School, which was founded in 1872. It was the first public high school in the United States, and was founded by the Pennsylvania State College of Arts and Sciences in 1875. The school was the site of the Pennsylvania National Guard during the Second World War. It has since been the location of the Bethlehem Police Department and the Bethlehem Fire Department. The Bethlehem Fire and Rescue Department is based in the city's downtown area, and has a fire department that was established in 1876. The City of Bethlehem is in Pennsylvania's Seventh Congressional District, which is represented by Susan Wild, a Democrat. The 7th district is also home to Pennsylvania's 8th Senate district, which represents the state's eastern half of the state, and parts of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.


Bethlehem is home to three institutes of higher education. Lehigh University was ranked No. 44 in U.S. News & World Reports ratings of America's best colleges in 2017. Moravian University, located in the center city area, is a small, highly respected liberal arts college. Bethlehem Area School District covers a 40-square-mile (100 km²) area that includes the city, the boroughs of Fountain Hill and Freemansburg and two townships, Bethlehem Township, and Hanover Township. The district operates two high schools for grades 912, Liberty High School near center city, and Freedom High School in neighboring Bethlehem Township. Bethlehem has two parochial high schools available to students: Bethlehem Catholic High School, which serves grades 9 12, and MoravIAN Academy, which serving all primary and secondary school grades. Each of Bethlehem's three large high schools, Bethlehem Catholic, Freedom, and Liberty, compete athletically in Pennsylvania's Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and play their home football games at Bethlehem Area school District Stadium. The main campus of Northampton Community College is located in nearby Bethlehem Township and is located on the South Mountain. The International Institute for Restorative Practices is a graduate school dedicated to the advanced education of professionals and to the conduct of research that can develop the growing field of restorative practices. The IIRP offers two master's degrees: the Master of Restorative practices and Education (MRPE) and the Master in Restorative Practice and Youth Counseling (MRPYC).

Air Quality, Water Quality, Superfund Sites & UV Index

The Air Quality index is in Bethlehem, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania = 8.9. These Air Quality index is based on annual reports from the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The number of ozone alert days is used as an indicator of air quality, as are the amounts of seven pollutants including particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and volatile organic chemicals. The Water Quality Index is 53. A measure of the quality of an area’s water supply as rated by the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The EPA has a complex method of measuring the watershed quality, using 15 indicators such as pollutants, turbidity, sediments, and toxic discharges. The Superfund Sites Index is 20. Higher is better (100=best). Based upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts. The UV Index in Bethlehem = 3.7 and is a measure of an area's exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. This is most often a combination of sunny weather, altitude, and latitude. The UV Index has been defined by the WHO ( and is uniform worldwide.


The most recent city population of 75,781 individuals with a median age of 40.3 age the population grows by 13.21% in Bethlehem, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania population since 2000 and are distributed over a density of 3,964.48 residents per square mile of area (1,530.67/km²). There are average 2.64 people per household in the 8,819 households with an average household income of $78,017 a year. The unemployment rate in Alabama is of the available work force and has dropped -4.50% over the most recent 12-month period and the projected change in job supply over the next decade based on migration patterns, economic growth, and other factors will increase by 21.90%. The number of physicians in Bethlehem per 100,000 population = 214.6.


The annual rainfall in Bethlehem = 42.3 inches and the annual snowfall = 26.3 inches. The annual number of days with measurable precipitation (over .01 inch) = 102. The average number of days per year that are predominantly sunny = 204. 86 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily high temperature for the month of July and 24.4 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily low temperature for the month of January. The Comfort Index (higher=better) is 48, where higher values mean a more pleasant climate. The Comfort Index measure recognizes that humidity by itself isn't the problem. (Have you noticed nobody ever complains about the weather being 'cold and humid?) It's in the summertime that we notice the humidity the most, when it's hot and muggy. Our Comfort Index uses a combination of afternoon summer temperature and humidity to closely predict the effect that the humidity will have on people.

Median Home Cost

The percentage of housing units in Bethlehem, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania which are owned by the occupant = 84.89%. A housing unit is a house, apartment, mobile home, or room occupied as separate living quarters. The average age of homes = 24 years with median home cost = $233,140 and home appreciation of -3.52%. This is the value of the years most recent home sales data. Its important to note that this is not the average (or arithmetic mean). The median home price is the middle value when you arrange all the sales prices of homes from lowest to highest. This is a better indicator than the average, because the median is not changed as much by a few unusually high or low values. The property tax rate of $17.86 shown here is the rate per $1,000 of home value. If for simplification for example the tax rate is $14.00 and the home value is $250,000, the property tax would be $14.00 x ($250,000/1000), or $3500. This is the 'effective' tax rate.


The local school district spends $5,816 per student. There are 15.4 students for each teacher in the school, 956 students for each Librarian and 367 students for each Counselor. 6.34% of the area’s population over the age of 25 with an Associate Degree or other 2-year college degree, 20.71% with a master’s degree, Ph.D. or other advanced college degree and 9.52% with high school diplomas or high school equivalency degrees (GEDs).

  • Bethlehem's population in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania of 7,293 residents in 1900 has increased 10,39-fold to 75,781 residents after 120 years, according to the official 2020 census.

    Approximately 51.42% female residents and 48.58% male residents live in Bethlehem, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

    As of 2020 in Bethlehem, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania are married and the remaining 33.48% are single population.

  • 27.6 minutes is the average time that residents in Bethlehem require for a one-way commute to work. A long commute can have different effects on health. A Gallup poll in the US found that in terms of mental health, long haul commuters are up to 12 percent more likely to experience worry, and ten percent less likely to feel well rested. The Gallup poll also found that of people who commute 61­–90 minutes each day, a whopping one third complained of neck and back pain, compared to less than a quarter of people who only spend ten minutes getting to work.

    88.97% of the working population which commute to work alone in their car, 7.16% of the working population which commutes to work in a carpool, 0.39% of the population that commutes using mass transit, including bus, light rail, subway, and ferry. 1.52% of the population that has their home as their principal place of work.

  • Of the total residential buildings in Bethlehem, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, 84.89% are owner-occupied homes, another 12.88% are rented apartments, and the remaining 2.24% are vacant.

  • The 64.96% of the population in Bethlehem, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania who identify themselves as belonging to a religion are distributed among the following most diverse religions.

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