Bethlehem Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania

Bethlehem Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania

Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania
Commercial buildings at Butztown
Country United States
State Pennsylvania
County Northampton
Elevation 440 ft (134.1 m)
Area 14.7 sq mi (38.1 km2)
 - land 14.6 sq mi (38 km2)
 - water 0.1 sq mi (0 km2), 0.68%
Population 23,730 (2010)
Density 1,625.3 / sq mi (627.5 / km2)
Timezone EST (UTC-5)
 - summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Postal code 18020, 18045
Area code 610, 484
Location of Bethlehem Township in Northampton County
Location of Bethlehem Township in Pennsylvania
Location of Pennsylvania in the United States

Bethlehem Township is a township in Northampton County, Pennsylvania, United States. Bethlehem Township is located in the Lehigh Valley region of the state and is a suburb of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. It falls within the New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA Metropolitan Statistical Area, as defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget.

The population of Bethlehem Township was 23,730 at the 2010 census.


  • Geography 1
    • Neighboring municipalities 1.1
  • History 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Public education 4
  • Police 5
  • Fire and EMS 6
  • Parks and recreation 7
  • Notes 8
  • External links 9


According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 14.7 square miles (38 km2), of which, 14.6 square miles (38 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.61%) is water. It is drained by the Lehigh River, which separates it from Lower Saucon Township. Its villages include Brodhead, Butztown, Farmersville, Middletown, Prospect Park (also in Palmer Township,) and Wagnerville. Its major roads include east-to-west Highway 22, William Penn Highway, and Freemansburg Road and north-to-south Highway 33, Route 191, Butztown Road/Hecktown Road, Farmersville Road, and Main Street Extension.

Neighboring municipalities


The ancient Lenni Lenape or Delaware First Nation peoples lived in the Lehigh River valley. The Lehigh River and its Monocacy Creek and Nancy Run tributaries, provided fertile soil and ample fishing opportunities for the area's inhabitants before the arrival of William Penn, newly named "Proprietor" of the Province of Pennsylvania in 1681.

In 1737, Penn's family negotiated a land purchase from the Lenape, known today as the "Walking Purchase". From this agreement, settlement began by Europeans newly arrived in pre-Revolutionary War Pennsylvania.

The municipality of Bethlehem Township was formed in 1746 as a part of Bucks County.[1] The township, as originally defined, contained the current township as well as the townships of Upper Nazareth and Lower Nazareth.[2] As shown on a page from the 1874 "Atlas of Northampton County", Upper and Lower Nazareth Townships had been created, but the then-borough of Bethlehem had not yet annexed the areas of Altona and parcels along Center Street (Bath Pike), Linden Street (Nazareth Pike), and Easton Avenue.[3]


As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 21,171 people, 7,619 households, and 5,889 families residing in the township. The population density was 1,451.7 people per square mile (560.6/km²). There were 7,831 housing units at an average density of 537.0/sq mi (207.4/km²). The racial makeup of the township was 93.27% White, 2.44% African American, 0.07% Native American, 2.20% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.14% from other races, and 0.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.97% of the population.

There were 7,619 households out of which 36.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 67.4% were married couples living together, 7.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.7% were non-families. 19.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.69 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the township the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 25.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.5 males.

The median income for a household in the township was $60,317, and the median income for a family was $68,427. Males had a median income of $47,363 versus $32,136 for females. The per capita income for the township was $25,141. About 2.2% of families and 2.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.6% of those under age 18 and 4.2% of those age 65 or over.

Public education

The township is served by the Bethlehem Area School District and is also host to Northampton Community College. Notre Dame High School, Moravian Academy, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help schools make up the parochial schools.


Police personnel earned 15 of the township's top 20 salaries in 2006 with the highest-paid officer grossing nearly $78,000, according to figures released by the township in 2007.[5]

Fire and EMS

Bethlehem Township is served by two volunteer fire departments. The first, Nancy Run Fire Department Station 14, houses three Engines, one Truck (100 ft. Ladder-Tower), one Utility Truck, one Light and Air Truck and two command vehicles. The second Department, Bethlehem Township Fire Company Station 17, houses two engines, one rescue, one brush unit, and a multitude of special response vehicles. This station also houses the a paid ALS EMS department. Both departments average more than 800 fire calls (both departments run mutually on each call within the township) a year making them the busiest volunteer fire district in Northampton county.

Parks and recreation

Bethlehem Township's parks system provides recreation opportunities for its residents through a series of parks, trail systems, and greenways. The two largest parks, Municipal Park on Farmersville Road in the center of the township and the Janet Johnston Housenick and William D. Housenick Memorial Park on Christian Spring Road in the northwestern corner of the township, provide dozens of acres of green space. Municipal Park features a modern recreation facility with tennis and basketball courts, a fitness trail, hardball and softball fields, and other modern amenities. In contrast, the Housenick Park property consists of conserved lands which formed part of the Camel's Hump Farm property of Archibald Johnston, the first mayor of the consolidated city of Bethlehem.

Complementing the active and passive park facilities in the township is the Palmer/Bethlehem Rail Trail, a 7.3-mile [11.7 kilometer] bicycle and walking trail near the north bank of the Lehigh River linking the county seat of Easton to the east with the city of Bethlehem, the largest municipality in the county.[6]


  1. ^ Bethlehem Township. "Bethlehem Township History". Bethlehem Township. Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  2. ^ Henry, Matthew S. (1851). Manuscript History of Northampton County. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Historical Society of Pennsylvania. p. 124. 
  3. ^ Beers, D.G. (1874). Atlas of Northampton county Pennsylvania. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: A. Pomeroy and Co. p. 13. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  5. ^ Cops comprise 15 of top 20 in salary Ziegler, Kristen, The Express-Times, June 16, 2007.
  6. ^ "Parks and Trails". Bethlehem Township Parks and Recreation. Bethlehem Township, Pennsylvania. Retrieved 3 October 2014. 

External links

  • Bethlehem Township
  • Northampton Community College