Demographic & Labor Dynamics of Lehigh Valley

By LVEDC Staff on March 25, 2014

LVEDC logo smallEDITOR’S NOTE: The following is taken from the recently published Competitive Realities report that was created by Jay Garner of Garner Economics of Atlanta, Ga. This segment covers the “Demographic & Labor Dynamics” of our region as compared to Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, the combined counties of Forsyth and Guilford in North Carolina, the commonwealth and the nation.

The data reveals many revealing factors about the Lehigh Valley that taken collectively, can provide a focus for future economic development.

For several variables, only data at the Metropolitan Statistical Area or metro level is available. In those cases, the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metro is used for Lehigh Valley, Pittsburgh for Allegheny County, and the Greensboro and Winston-Salem metros for Forsyth and Guilford counties.

This analysis relies heavily on raw objective data collected by impartial governmental or impartial third-party agencies. In all cases, the original and most current available data as of October 2013 is used. All unique calculations and computations from the original data were conducted by Garner Economics.

Demographic & Labor Dynamics

Lehigh Valley has experienced a population increase of 12.8 percent or 74,404 more residents over the last 12 years. The rate is above the nation, state, and one benchmark community.

Lehigh Valley has grown at an annual rate of 1.0 percent since 2000, above all examined geographies except Forsyth/Guilford.

At 52.1 percent, domestic in-migration has accounted for the majority of Lehigh Valley’s net new residents since 2000. Natural growth has contributed 22.5 percent of growth and international accounted for the remaining 25.3 percent.

The share of growth from domestic in-migration has been steadily declining each year, resulting in its first net loss in year 2012 (domestic out-migration exceeded domestic in-migration).

At 39.9 years, the median age in Lehigh Valley is slightly less than Allegheny and the state but above Forsyth/Guilford and the nation.

Lehigh Valley has a higher relative proportion of residents in ages 45-54 years and a lower relative proportion in ages 20-34.

At 9.0 percent, unionization among private businesses in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metro is above the Greensboro/Winston Salem metros, the state, and nation.

Measuring crimes in those cities with populations greater than 10,000, Lehigh Valley has lower violent crime rates compared to both benchmark communities and the average among all U.S. cities in the same population range.

Measuring crimes in those cities with populations greater than 10,000, Lehigh Valley has lower property crime rates compared to one benchmark community and the average among all U.S. cities in the same population range.

Compared to the state, nation, and both benchmark communities, Lehigh Valley has a higher relative proportion of residents whose highest level of educational attainment is 9th to 12th grade, no diploma.

Lehigh Valley has higher relative proportions of Bachelor’s degree attainment in the fields of Biological, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; Engineering; and Education.

Lehigh Valley’s 2012 SAT composite scores are above the state, nation, and Forsyth/Guilford.

Measured as completions per 100,000 residents and compared to the benchmarks, Lehigh Valley is mostly above Forsyth/Guilford and below Allegheny County for the number of Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degree completions in STEM fields.

Within STEM fields, the highest number of Associate’s degree completions in Lehigh Valley is in Computer Science, and the highest number of Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctor’s degree completions are all in Engineering.

Compared to the state, nation, and benchmark communities, Lehigh Valley attracts a higher proportion of new residents, ages 25 and older, with the highest level of educational attainment at less than high school graduate.

Annually, 8.7 percent of the population ages 15 and over is enrolled in a college or graduate school in Lehigh Valley. The percentage is lower than both of the benchmark communities, the state, and the nation.

From 2002 to 2011, the number and proportion of workers who both live and work in the Lehigh Valley has increased by 4 percent or 6,885 more workers.

NEXT WEEK: We continue our look at the Dashboard Indicators Summary with an emphasis on the Economic Dynamics.

To read last week’s installment, click here.

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