Back

Lehigh Valley City Ranks Among the Top Places to Live in America

By Nicole Radzievich Mertz on July 22, 2022

Bethlehem’s historic Main Street is flush with residents and visitors enjoying an evening in the downtown. Bethlehem was included in the Top 100 Places to Live in America, published by livability.com.

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).

And, with a strong presence of Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network, the health care sector is a major employer.

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.

Ben Franklin Invests $150,000 in Lehigh Valley Companies

The Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BFTP_NEPA) have announced the investment of $150,000 for Lehigh Valley companies in support of the regio[...]

Continue to Next Page

Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

By the Numbers
$43.3 Billion

2020 Gross Domestic Product

Investor Spotlight
City Center Lehigh Valley
Industry Spotlight

10.6% of Labor Force
Employed in Manufacturing

Investor Spotlight
Lehigh Valley Health Network
By the Numbers
$3.8 Billion

Exports in 2019

Investor Spotlight
Air Products
Investor Spotlight
Lehigh Valley Electricians
By the Numbers
$66,865

Median Household Income

Investor Spotlight
PPL Electric Utilities
By the Numbers
676,700

Population

Investor Spotlight
Olympus
By the Numbers
347,612

Labor Force

Industry Spotlight

26.6% of Labor Force
Employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

By the Numbers
5,073

Technology Patents

Investor Spotlight
Mack Trucks
Investor Spotlight
UGI
Investor Spotlight
Magestic Realty Co
Investor Spotlight
NFI
Industry Spotlight

14% of the total community college degrees awarded in PA

Investor Spotlight
Wells Fargo
By the Numbers
$7.1 Billion

Manufacturing Contribution to GDP

Investor Spotlight
Truist
Industry Spotlight

69th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. by population

Investor Spotlight
Key Bank
Industry Spotlight

10,754 degrees awarded by Lehigh Valley colleges (2017-18 academic year)

Investor Spotlight
St. Lukes University Health Network
Industry Spotlight

82,270 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

Investor Spotlight
Workforce Board
By the Numbers
149,000

Population between ages 18 and 34

Investor Spotlight
FirstEnergy