Lehigh Valley City Ranks Among the Top Places to Live in America
By Nicole Radzievich Mertz on July 22, 2022
There’s myrrh to Bethlehem than the German-themed Christkindlmarkt, an 81-foot steel star and other holiday festivities for which the Lehigh Valley community derives its Christmas City moniker.
It’s also innovation, a thriving economy, and affordable neighborhoods that make Bethlehem among the Top 100 Places to Live in America, according to a new analysis by Livability.com, a website that ranks America’s most livable mid-sized cities.
“This former steel city has gone through a recent renaissance, and the Lehigh Valley is now a place that churns out patents for new products and is home to companies like OraSure Technologies and Crayola. Community traditions (there’s a Peeps drop on New Year’s Eve!), good schools, and impressive arts and culture complement the innovation,” according to Livability.
Bethlehem ranked No. 82 in an analysis that examined more than 2,300 cities with a population under 500,000. The ranking was based on 50 data points that measure economic stability, housing, infrastructure, health care and other factors.
Besides its appealing cultural and historical attributes, Bethlehem was noted for its strong economy anchored by manufacturing and related industries. The city is home to diverse employers including Lehigh Heavy Forge (a legacy of Bethlehem Steel), OraSure Technologies (which produces COVID-19 tests) and Bowery Farming (the largest vertical farmers in America).
Bethlehem is a good option for remote workers as well because of access to high internet speeds up to 1,000 Mbps, plethora of cafes and parks and abundant co-working spaces, according to Livability.
The city of 75,000 also is home to three institutions of higher education: Lehigh University, Moravian University and Northampton Community College.
“Bethlehem’s transformation over the past 25 years from a declining post-industrial city to an economically thriving and vibrant community has been nothing short of amazing. Bethlehem’s placement on the list of America’s most livable cities is another reflection of the unmatched and consistent cooperation of our public and private sectors in making our community such a special place to live, work, and raise a family,” Bethlehem Mayor J. William Reynolds said. “On behalf of the citizens of Bethlehem, we truly appreciate and thank Livability for the naming Bethlehem as among the top places to live in the America. We agree!”
The Lehigh Valley was recently featured in another Livability publication, Pennsylvania’s Work Smart, Live Happy magazine. The 2022 edition includes a two-page feature story dedicated to the Lehigh Valley.
In June, The New York Times published a story highlighting Easton’s “dramatic transformation.” The story by Dave Caldwell describes the city’s restaurant scene, downtown amenities, property values, historical significance, schools and higher education institutions, and close proximity to major cities like Philadelphia and New York City. It was the fourth time in three years that the newspaper featured the Lehigh Valley.
Last year, Bethlehem’s 18018 ZIP code, which includes the city’s historic district, was ranked by Realtor.com as the 12th hottest ZIP code in America, and the region ranked No. 14 on a list of best regions for remote work in the nation,
Lehigh County als has recently been recognized as the most representative county in America by data analysis firm Echelon Insights, which sought to identify a political and social bellwether once recognized as Peoria. Merging data on elections, education, race and religion, Echelon determined Lehigh County, home to Allentown, most closely reflected the nation as a whole.
Echelon mentions Lehigh County’s rich manufacturing tradition, including Mack Trucks, and median household income that nearly matches the nation.
Northampton County also scored high, ranking No. 16 on the list.
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