Northampton County
Illustration of Northampton County Courthouse in Easton, 1905
Illustration of Northampton County Courthouse in Easton, 1905
Flag of Northampton County
Official seal of Northampton County
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County
Location within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Map of the United States highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 40°45′N 75°19′W / 40.75°N 75.31°W / 40.75; -75.31
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
FoundedMarch 11, 1752
Named forNorthamptonshire
SeatEaston
Largest cityBethlehem
Area
 • Total377 sq mi (980 km2)
 • Land370 sq mi (1,000 km2)
 • Water7.7 sq mi (20 km2)  2.0%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total312,951
 • Density830/sq mi (320/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district7th
Websitewww.northamptoncounty.org
The Easton–Phillipsburg Toll Bridge, connecting Easton in Northampton County with Phillipsburg and northwestern New Jersey in the Lehigh Valley, October 2009
The Easton–Phillipsburg Toll Bridge, connecting Easton in Northampton County with Phillipsburg and northwestern New Jersey in the Lehigh Valley, October 2009

Northampton County is a county in the northeastern section of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2020 census, the population was 312,951.[1] Its county seat is Easton.[2] The county was formed in 1752 from parts of Bucks County. Its namesake was Northamptonshire, England. The county seat of Easton was named for the country house Easton Neston in that shire.

Northampton County and Lehigh County join to form the eastern Pennsylvania region known as the Lehigh Valley, and both counties are included in the Philadelphia media market, the nation's fourth largest media market.

Northampton County is industrially oriented, producing cement and other industrial products. It was a center for global cement production with the world's then-largest cement producer Atlas Portland Cement Company operating in the county for nearly a century from 1895 until 1982.[3] Bethlehem Steel, one of the world's largest manufacturers of steel throughout the 20th century, was located in the county prior to its dissolution in 2003.

The county borders Carbon County and the Poconos to the north, Lehigh County to the west, Bucks County and the Delaware Valley to the south, and the Delaware River, which divides Pennsylvania and New Jersey, to the east.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 377 square miles (980 km2), of which 370 square miles (960 km2) is land and 7.7 square miles (20 km2) (2.0%) is water.[4] The climate is humid continental (mostly Dfa with a little Dfb in higher northern areas) and the hardiness zones are 6b and 6a. Average monthly temperatures in downtown Bethlehem average from 29.1 °F in January to 74.1 °F in July, while in Wind Gap they average from 27.0 °F in January to 71.7 °F in July.[5]

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
179024,220
180030,06224.1%
181038,14526.9%
182031,765−16.7%
183039,48224.3%
184040,9963.8%
185040,235−1.9%
186047,90419.1%
187061,43228.2%
188070,31214.5%
189084,22019.8%
190099,68718.4%
1910127,66728.1%
1920153,50620.2%
1930169,30410.3%
1940168,959−0.2%
1950185,2439.6%
1960201,4128.7%
1970214,3686.4%
1980225,4185.2%
1990247,1059.6%
2000267,0668.1%
2010297,73511.5%
2020312,9515.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2019[1]

As of the 2020 census, the county's population was 312,951, reflecting growth of 5.1% over 2010.[1]As of the 2010 census, the county was 81.0% White Non-Hispanic, 5.0% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American or Alaskan Native, 2.4% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian, 2.2% were two or more races, and 3.8% were some other race. 10.5% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry.

Government

Northampton is one of the seven counties in Pennsylvania which has adopted a home rule charter. Voters elect an Executive, a nine-person Council, a Controller, and a District Attorney. The Executive, Controller and District Attorney are elected at large by all voters in the County.

Five members of the council are also elected at large. The other four members of the council are elected from single-member districts. This weighted structure of government favors the majority of voters, but it does allow for representation of minority groups, if they live within a compact voting district. The Row Officers are nominated by the county executive and approved by county council.

Elected officials

The following currently serve as elected officials in Northampton County government offices:

County Executive

County Council

Democrats

Republicans

Clerk of Courts

County Controller

District Attorney

Prothonotary

Register of Wills

Politics

United States presidential election results for Northampton County, Pennsylvania[10]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 83,854 48.92% 85,087 49.64% 2,458 1.43%
2016 71,736 49.62% 66,272 45.84% 6,558 4.54%
2012 61,446 46.89% 67,606 51.59% 1,992 1.52%
2008 58,551 43.07% 75,255 55.35% 2,148 1.58%
2004 62,102 48.96% 63,446 50.02% 1,301 1.03%
2000 47,396 45.27% 53,097 50.72% 4,197 4.01%
1996 35,726 39.26% 43,959 48.31% 11,317 12.44%
1992 34,429 35.30% 42,203 43.27% 20,893 21.42%
1988 42,748 51.52% 39,264 47.32% 966 1.16%
1984 44,648 53.49% 37,979 45.50% 840 1.01%
1980 35,787 47.07% 31,920 41.98% 8,330 10.96%
1976 32,926 42.78% 42,514 55.24% 1,521 1.98%
1972 41,822 56.30% 32,335 43.53% 124 0.17%
1968 32,033 41.00% 42,554 54.47% 3,543 4.53%
1964 21,048 26.15% 58,818 73.08% 619 0.77%
1960 40,683 49.43% 41,552 50.48% 71 0.09%
1956 43,375 55.83% 33,749 43.44% 573 0.74%
1952 39,131 50.99% 36,993 48.21% 614 0.80%
1948 27,030 43.95% 33,209 53.99% 1,265 2.06%
1944 26,643 44.76% 32,584 54.75% 292 0.49%
1940 25,385 43.06% 33,304 56.49% 269 0.46%
1936 22,827 37.34% 36,871 60.31% 1,438 2.35%
1932 20,779 45.04% 24,009 52.04% 1,345 2.92%
1928 37,403 71.14% 14,768 28.09% 404 0.77%
1924 20,459 58.42% 11,459 32.72% 3,104 8.86%
1920 14,227 58.78% 9,086 37.54% 891 3.68%
1916 9,610 44.37% 11,000 50.78% 1,050 4.85%
1912 3,893 17.91% 10,325 47.50% 7,518 34.59%
1908 10,857 46.91% 11,365 49.10% 923 3.99%
1904 11,039 51.21% 9,914 45.99% 604 2.80%
1900 9,849 45.14% 11,412 52.31% 556 2.55%
1896 9,762 47.59% 10,032 48.91% 717 3.50%
1892 6,892 39.21% 10,320 58.71% 367 2.09%
1888 6,785 39.67% 10,027 58.63% 291 1.70%
1884 6,327 39.44% 9,491 59.16% 224 1.40%
1880 5,961 37.90% 9,653 61.37% 114 0.72%


As of December 2020 there were 227,400 registered voters in Northampton County

In recent decades, Northampton has been identified as one of Pennsylvania's "swing counties," with statewide winners carrying it in most cases; since 1952, it has gone to the statewide winner in the presidential election.[11] All five statewide winners carried it in November 2004 and all four statewide Democratic candidates carried it in November 2008, with District Attorney John Morganelli doing well there despite losing statewide to incumbent Attorney General Tom Corbett. The Democratic Party has been dominant most of the time in county-level politics in recent decades. In 2014, John Brown bucked that trend when he became the only Republican in the 21st Century to be elected Northampton County executive, a harbinger of Donald Trump winning the county and the state at the presidential level in 2016. Lamont McClure retook the county executive position for the Democrats in 2018; Joe Biden won Northampton County and Pennsylvania in 2020.

Voting machine problems

Municipal elections were held across Pennsylvania in November 2019, and results in Northampton County were plagued with problems caused by newly purchased machines, The ExpressVoteXL, sold by the manufacturer Election Systems & Software (ES&S) as a luxury one-stop voting system. According to The New York Times and other publications, it was a few minutes after the polls closed on Election Day when panic began to spread through the Northampton county election offices. Vote totals in one judge’s race showed one candidate, Abe Kassis, a Democrat, had just 164 votes out of 55,000 ballots across more than 100 precincts. Some machines reported zero votes for him.[12]

The voting system, used in numerous Pennsylvania jurisdictions, combines a touch screen with a paper ballot backup. County officials determined the results by counting the paper ballots, which showed Mr. Kassis had won by 1,054 votes. Unofficial results were announced at 6AM on November 6. The election results were certified following a canvass and audit. No challenges to the election results were filed.[13]

County executives

Northampton County executives
Name Party Term start Term end
Glenn F. Reibman Democratic 1998 2006
John Stoffa Democratic 2006 2014
John Brown Republican 2014 2018
Lamont McClure Democratic 2018 Incumbent

County Council members

State representatives

State senators

United States House of Representatives

United States Senate

Education

Alumni Memorial Building at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, August 2005
Alumni Memorial Building at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, August 2005

Colleges and universities

Public school districts

Freedom High School, one of two large public high schools in Bethlehem, November 2008
Freedom High School, one of two large public high schools in Bethlehem, November 2008

Bangor Area School District

Bethlehem Area School District

Catasauqua Area School District

Easton Area School District

Nazareth Area School District

Northampton Area School District

Pen Argyl Area School District

Saucon Valley School District

Wilson Area School District

Public charter schools

Private high schools

Transportation

Lehigh Valley International Airport in Hanover Township, March 2014

Main article: Transportation in the Lehigh Valley

Air transportation

Air transport to and from Northampton County is available through Lehigh Valley International Airport (IATA: ABE, ICAO: KABE) in Allentown, approximately 8 miles (13 km) south of Bethlehem and 16 miles (26 km) south-southwest of Easton.

Bus transportation

Public bus service in Northampton County is available through the Lehigh and Northampton Transportation Authority, known as LANTA. A shuttle bus service, The Bethlehem Loop, also operates in Bethlehem. NJ Transit provides service from Easton's Centre Square to the Phillipsburg area.

Major highways

Telecommunications

Main article: Area codes 610 and 484

Northampton County was once served only by the 215 area code from 1947 (when the North American Numbering Plan of the Bell System went into effect) until 1994. With the county's growing population, however, Northampton County was afforded area code 610 in 1994. Today, Northampton County is covered by 610 except for the Portland exchange which uses 570. An overlay area code, 484, was added to the 610 service area in 1999.[15] A plan to introduce area code 835 as an additional overlay was rescinded in 2001.[16]

Recreation

There are two Pennsylvania state parks in Northampton County:

Communities

Easton, the county seat of Northampton County, May 2009
Easton, the county seat of Northampton County, May 2009
Dery Silk Mill in Catasauqua, October 2012
Dery Silk Mill in Catasauqua, October 2012
Tatamy at sundown, November 2021
Tatamy at sundown, November 2021
Allen Township, November 2011
Allen Township, November 2011
East Allen Township, February 2013
East Allen Township, February 2013
Lake Poco Dam in Upper Mount Bethel Township, November 2011
Lake Poco Dam in Upper Mount Bethel Township, November 2011

Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and two towns. The following cities, boroughs and townships are located in Northampton County:

Cities

Boroughs

Townships

Census-designated places

Census-designated places are unincorporated communities designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law.

Other unincorporated places

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Northampton County.[17]

county seat

Rank City/borough/township/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Bethlehem (partially in Lehigh County) City 74,982
2 Easton City 26,800
3 Bethlehem Township Township 23,730
4 Palmer Township Township 20,691
5 Forks Township Township 14,721
6 Hanover Township Township 10,866
7 Lower Saucon Township Township 10,772
8 Lehigh Township Township 10,527
9 Northampton Borough 9,926
10 Moore Township Township 9,198
11 Bushkill Township Township 8,178
12 Wilson Borough 7,896
13 Middletown CDP 7,441
14 Upper Mount Bethel Township Township 6,706
15 Upper Nazareth Township Township 6,231
16 Plainfield Township Township 6,138
17 Hellertown Borough 5,898
18 Williams Township Township 5,884
19 Nazareth Borough 5,746
20 Lower Nazareth Township Township 5,674
21 Bangor Borough 5,273
22 Washington Township Township 5,122
23 East Allen Township Township 4,930
24 Allen Township Township 4,269
25 Palmer Heights CDP 3,762
26 Pen Argyl Borough 3,595
27 Eastlawn Gardens CDP 3,307
28 Lower Mount Bethel Township Township 3,101
29 North Catasauqua Borough 2,849
30 Wind Gap Borough 2,720
31 Bath Borough 2,693
32 Freemansburg Borough 2,636
33 Old Orchard CDP 2,434
34 Walnutport Borough 2,070
35 Cherryville CDP 1,580
36 Roseto Borough 1,567
37 Belfast CDP 1,257
38 West Easton Borough 1,257
39 Tatamy Borough 1,203
40 East Bangor Borough 1,172
41 Raubsville CDP 1,088
42 Stockertown Borough 927
43 Martins Creek CDP 631
44 Ackermanville CDP 610
45 Portland Borough 519
46 Glendon Borough 440
47 Chapman Borough 199

Notable people

Main article: List of people from the Lehigh Valley

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved November 20, 2013.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Duck, Michael (May 20, 2006). "Cement museum nurtures nostalgia in Pennsylvania". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Chicago Tribune.
  4. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  5. ^ "PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University".
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Archived from the original on August 11, 2012. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  8. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 24, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on March 20, 2015. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved March 9, 2015.
  10. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Archived from the original on March 23, 2018.
  11. ^ "The bellwethers: What do voters in eastern PA know that the rest don't?". PennLive.com. Archived from the original on September 17, 2016. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  12. ^ "A Pennsylvania County’s Election Day Nightmare Underscores Voting Machine Concerns," The New York Times, November 30, 2019.
  13. ^ "Pennsylvania says election went well but Republicans disagree; both following Northampton County problems," The Morning Call, November 6, 2019
  14. ^ a b Center, Legislativate Data Processing. "Find Your Legislator". The official website for the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Archived from the original on April 22, 2017. Retrieved April 21, 2017.
  15. ^ "NANP-Overlay of 610 (Pennsylvania) Numbering Plan Area (NPA) with 484 NPA" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on November 26, 2010. (359 KB)
  16. ^ "PA 835 Implementation for 484/610 NPA Rescinded – 835 NPA Code Reclaimed" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on November 26, 2010. (20.8 KB)
  17. ^ CNMP, US Census Bureau. "This site has been redesigned and relocated. - U.S. Census Bureau". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 1, 2018.

Further reading

Coordinates: 40°45′N 75°19′W / 40.75°N 75.31°W / 40.75; -75.31