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Bradley Answers Lehigh Valley’s Top 10 Planning Questions

By LVEDC Staff on June 23, 2014

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a reprint of a June 19th “Lehigh Valley Ramblings” blog penned by Bernie O’Hare. It offers interesting insights into Lehigh Valley demographics courtesy of Planning Commission Executive Director Becky Bradley.

Lehigh Valley Planning Commission Executive Director Becky Bradley has been on the job for nearly a year. On June 19, she provided Northampton County with an informative presentation about recent subdivision and building activity. But she also came armed with her top 10 list of questions most frequently posed to planners.

1. Is the Lehigh Valley Really Growing?
Yes, at the rate of about one per cent each year. By 2040, there will be 873,000 people in the Lehigh Valley.

2. How old are we?
Pretty old. The largest segment of the population consists of people age 65 or older. But the next largest group, interestingly, is those under 20.

3. Are we diverse?
We’re getting there. White people still make up 82% of the population. The next largest ethnic group is the Hispanic community.

4. Where are people working?
The jobs are in the health care and social assistance sectors. That makes sense because the two largest population groups are the very old and very young.

5. Do we have a lot of commuters?
Yes. According to Bradley, 186,499 people live and work in the Lehigh Valley. But another 103,667 leave every day for jobs outside the area. The Lehigh Valley does attract 88,764 nonresidents who work here.

6. Who is moving here?
The population comes mainly from New Jersey (6,812), with New York City a distant second (4,318).

7. Do families still live together?
Only 68% of the households in the Lehigh Valley are family households.

8. Has building stopped?
Yes. Between 2005 and 2011, there has been a 78% drop in building permits being issued for all types of construction.

9. How about new construction?
That’s even worse. There has been an 86% decrease in new construction between 2008 and 2012.

10. Are new homes bigger?
Yes. new homes are double the size they were in 1960, and fewer people live in them.

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