Bucks County, Pennsylvania facts for kids

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Bucks County, Pennsylvania
Map
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Bucks County
Location in the state of Pennsylvania
Map of the USA highlighting Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded November 1682
Seat Doylestown
Largest township Bensalem
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

622 sq mi (1,611 km²)
604 sq mi (1,564 km²)
18 sq mi (47 km²), 2.8%
PopulationEst.
 - (2015)
 - Density

627,367
1,039/sq mi (401/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website: www.buckscounty.org
Named for: Buckinghamshire
Pennsylvania Historical Marker
Designated: October 29, 1982

Bucks County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 625,249, making it the fourth-most populous county in Pennsylvania and the 98th-most populous county in the United States. The county seat is Doylestown. The county is named after the English county of Buckinghamshire.

Bucks County is included in the PhiladelphiaCamdenWilmington, PA–NJDEMD Metropolitan Statistical Area, more commonly known as the "Delaware Valley". It is located immediately northeast of Philadelphia and forms part of the southern tip of the eastern state border.

History

Founding

Mercer Museum
The Mercer Museum in Doylestown Borough

Bucks County is one of the three original counties created by colonial proprietor William Penn in 1682. Penn named the county after Buckinghamshire, the county where he lived in England. He built a country estate called Pennsbury Manor in Falls Township, Bucks County.

Some places in Bucks County were named after locations in Buckinghamshire, including Buckingham Township, named after the county town of Buckinghamshire; Chalfont, named after Chalfont St Giles, the parish home of William Penn's first wife and the location of the Jordans Quaker Meeting House, where Penn is buried; Solebury Township, named after Soulbury, England; and Wycombe, named after the town of High Wycombe.

Bucks County was originally much larger than it is today. Northampton County was formed in 1752 from part of Bucks County, and Lehigh County was formed in 1812 from part of Northampton County.

Revolutionary War

See also: Washington's crossing of the Delaware

General George Washington and his troops camped in Bucks County as they prepared to cross the Delaware River to take Trenton, New Jersey, by surprise on the morning of December 26, 1776. Their successful attack on Britain's Hessian forces was a turning point in the American War of Independence. The town of Washington Crossing, Pennsylvania and Washington Crossing Historic Park were named to commemorate the event.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 622 square miles (1,610 km2), of which 604 square miles (1,560 km2) is land and 18 square miles (47 km2) (2.8%) is water.

The southern third of the county between Philadelphia and Trenton, New Jersey, often called Lower Bucks, resides in the Atlantic Coastal Plain, and is flat and near sea level, and the county's most populated and industrialized area. Bucks County shares a western border with Montgomery County, and also borders Philadelphia to the southwest, and Northampton and Lehigh Counties to the north. From north to south, it is linked to Warren, Hunterdon, Mercer and Burlington Counties in New Jersey by bridges.

Tohickon Creek and Neshaminy Creek are the largest tributaries of the Delaware in Bucks County. Tohickon Creek empties into the river at Point Pleasant and Neshaminy at Croydon (Bristol Township).

Adjacent counties

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 25,216
1800 27,496 9.0%
1810 32,371 17.7%
1820 37,842 16.9%
1830 45,745 20.9%
1840 48,107 5.2%
1850 56,091 16.6%
1860 63,578 13.3%
1870 64,336 1.2%
1880 68,656 6.7%
1890 70,615 2.9%
1900 71,190 0.8%
1910 76,530 7.5%
1920 82,476 7.8%
1930 96,727 17.3%
1940 107,715 11.4%
1950 144,620 34.3%
1960 308,567 113.4%
1970 410,056 32.9%
1980 479,211 16.9%
1990 541,174 12.9%
2000 597,635 10.4%
2010 625,249 4.6%
Est. 2015 627,367 5.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the 2010 census, there were 625,249 people. The population density was 1,034.7 people per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 86.6% White non-Hispanic, 3.9% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 4.1% Asian (2.1% Indian, 1.1% Chinese, 0.7% Korean, 0.5% Filipino, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.1% Japanese, 0.4% other Asian) 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.7% were of two or more races, and 1.5% were of other races. 4.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the census of 2000, there were 218,725 households, and 160,981 families residing in the county. There were 225,498 housing units at an average density of 371 per square mile (143/km²). 20.1% were of German, 19.1% Irish, 14.0% Italian, 7.5% English and 5.9% Polish ancestry, according to Census 2000.

There were 218,725 households, out of which 35.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.20% were married couples living together, 8.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.40% were non-families. 21.50% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.10% 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 3.17.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.70% under the age of 18, 7.00% from 18 to 24, 30.70% from 25 to 44, 24.30% from 45 to 64, and 12.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 96.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county is $59,727, and the median income for a family is $68,727. Males had a median income of $46,587 versus $31,984 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,430. About 3.10% of families and 4.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 4.80% of those under age 18 and 5.50% of those age 65 or over.

Like the rest of the Philadelphia region, Bucks County has experienced a rapid increase of immigrants since the 2000 census. Known for its very large and established Eastern European population, most notably the Russian community, but also for its Ukrainian and Polish communities, Bucks County is now seeing a rapid surge of other immigrant groups. A 2005 population estimate of Bucks showed that the Indian and Mexican populations had already doubled since 2000. Bucks County is one of only two counties in Pennsylvania where Mexicans are the largest Hispanic community, the other being Montgomery County. Bucks County also is home to large and very prominent Roman Catholic and Jewish populations.

Population growth

The 2013 population estimate of Bucks County Pennsylvania was 626,976. This ranked the county fourth in the state, well behind (more than 10%) the counties of Philadelphia with 1,553,165 (247% of Bucks), Allegheny with 1,231,527 (196%), Montgomery with 812,376 (130%), and well ahead of Delaware with 561,973 (89.6%).

Growth began in the early 1950s, when William Levitt chose Bucks County for his second "Levittown". Levitt bought hundreds of acres of woodlands and farmland, and constructed 17,000 homes and dozens of schools, parks, libraries, and shopping centers. By the time the project ended, the population of Levittown had swelled to almost 74,000 residents. At the time, only whites could buy homes. This rule however, was soon overturned. Other planned developments included Croydon and Fairless Hills. This rapid sprawl continued until the mid-1960s.

In the 1970s, a second growth spurt began. This time, developers took land in townships that were mostly untouched. These included Middletown, Lower Makefield Township, Northampton Township and Newtown Township. Tract housing, office complexes, shopping centers, and sprawling parking lots continued to move more and more towards Upper Bucks, swallowing horse farms, sprawling forests, and wetlands. At this time, the Oxford Valley Mall was constructed in Middletown, which would become the business nucleus of the county.

Growth has somewhat stabilized since the 1990s, with smaller increases and less development. However, the main reason for this is not a lack of population growth, but loss of land. Lower Bucks now lacks large parcels of land to develop. Smaller residential and commercial projects must now be constructed. However, redevelopment is now a leading coalition in Lower Bucks. Many areas along the Delaware River have surpluses of abandoned industry, so many municipalities have granted building rights to luxury housing developers. Also, as the regions that began the suburban boom in Bucks, such as Levittown, begin to reach their 50th anniversaries, many commercial strips and other neglected structures are being torn down to be replaced with new shopping plazas and commercial chains. Also, with rising property values, areas with older construction are beginning to have a "rebirth". At the same time, Central and Upper Bucks are still seeing rapid growth, with many municipalities doubling their populations.

Arts and culture

Fine and performing arts

Many artists and writers based in New York City have called Bucks County home, settling mainly in the small stretch between Doylestown and New Hope and along the Delaware River. Notable residents have included Margaret Mead, Pearl S. Buck, Oscar Hammerstein, II, Stephen Sondheim, Charlie Parker, Moss Hart, George S. Kaufman, James Michener, Dorothy Parker, S. J. Perelman, Stan and Jan Berenstain, Daniel Garber, Alfred Bester, Annie Haslam, and Jean Toomer. Bucks County has been the home of writer/musician James McBride, Academy Award-winning film composer Joe Renzetti, musician Gene Ween of Ween, painter Christopher Wajda, photographer Michael Barone, and furniture designer George Nakashima. James Gould Cozzens lived in Lambertville, New Jersey, just across the river from Bucks County, and used Doylestown as the model for the setting of two novels; he is considered a Bucks County artist.

The county boasts many local theater companies, including the long-established and recently reopened Bucks County Playhouse in New Hope, Town and Country Players in Buckingham, ActorsNET in Morrisville, and the Bristol Riverside Theatre, a professional Equity theater in Bristol. The Bucks County Symphony, founded in 1953, performs in Doylestown throughout the year.

The Wild River Review, an online magazine that publishes in-depth reporting, works of literature, art, visual art, reviews, interviews, and columns by and about contemporary artists, photographers, and writers, is based out of Doylestown.

Literature

The seemingly autobiographical novel The Fires of Spring by James Michener takes place in and around Doylestown.

Popular culture

Alecia Moore, more commonly known as Pink, was born in Doylestown, as was motion picture writer and director Stefan Avalos. Three American Idol contestants live in Bucks County: Justin Guarini, who was born in Atlanta, but moved to Bucks County; Jordan White, who was born in Cranford, New Jersey and moved to Bucks County, and Anthony Fedorov, who was born in Ukraine and was from Trevose, in Lower Southampton Township. Singer/actress Irene Molloy and classical tenor David Gordon were born in Doylestown. Musician Asher Roth was born in Morrisville. The Tony Award-winning Broadway play Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is set in the county.

Film

M. Night Shyamalan's 2002 film Signs, starring Mel Gibson, was filmed and takes place in Bucks County. The town scenes were filmed on State Street in Newtown Borough, and the drugstore scene was filmed at Burns' Pharmacy on Pennsylvania Avenue in Morrisville. The house was built on farmland privately owned and leased to Delaware Valley College in Doylestown Township. A stage set for some interior shots was created in a warehouse on State Road in Bensalem Township. Shyamalan's film Lady in the Water was shot across the street from the Bloomsdale section of Bristol Township. In addition, Shyamalan's 2008 film, The Happening, was filmed in Upper Bucks County, including Plumsteadville.

With the exception of the footage filmed in the New Jersey Pine Barrens, all of The Last Broadcast was shot in Bucks County (though the name was changed).

A short scene from Stephen King's The Stand is based in Pipersville.

The producer Fred Bauer, the director Steve Rash and composer Joseph Renzetti of The Buddy Holly Story all live in Bucks County, where the film was conceived, and written by Bob Gittler.

Although filmed in California, one of Steven Spielberg's earliest films, Something Evil, is set in Bucks County.

The film Law Abiding Citizen, starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx, was filmed partially in New Hope.

The NBC pilot episode for Outlaw, starring Jimmy Smits, filmed in the Andalusia section of Bensalem Township March 22–23, 2010.

The feature film The Discoverers was filmed in a variety of locations in Bucks County, including Croydon, Bristol, Newtown, New Hope, and Tyler State Park.

The Central Bucks West football team was followed during the 1999 season for the documentary The Last Game. It was directed by T. Patrick Murray and Alex Weinress.

The County Fair scene in Charlotte's Web was filmed at the Southampton Days fair in Southampton, Bucks County.

The majority of the independent Titanic film The Last Signals by Tom Lynskey was filmed in Bucks County.

The 1942 film George Washington Slept Here was set chiefly in Bucks County, although most of the filming took place in the studio.

Safe, starring Jason Statham, filmed at the Parx Casino and Racing in Bensalem Township.

Bucks County has been mentioned multiple times on the popular Freeform TV series Pretty Little Liars.

Parks and recreation

Pennsylvania state parks

Neshaminy Creek in Tyler State Park
Neshaminy Creek in Tyler State Park

There are six commonwealth-owned parks in Bucks County:

  • Five are owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks, part of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
    • Delaware Canal State Park
    • Neshaminy State Park
    • Nockamixon State Park
    • Ralph Stover State Park
    • Tyler State Park
  • Bucks County Parks and Recreation operates an 18-bed youth hostel in the Nockamixon State Park Weisel estate. The hostel is part of Hostelling International USA.
  • Washington Crossing Historic Park, a 500 acres (200 ha) site operated by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, is part of Washington's Crossing, a U.S. National Historic Landmark area. The park is headquartered in the village of Washington Crossing located in Upper Makefield Township. It marks the location of where George Washington crossed the Delaware River during the American Revolutionary War.

County parks

Lake Galena, Bucks County, PA
Lake Galena in Peace Valley Park
  • Core Creek Park
  • Lake Towhee Park
  • Peace Valley Park
  • Playwicki Park
  • Ringing Rocks Park
  • Silver Lake Park
  • Tinicum Park
  • Tohickon Valley Park

Historic properties

Pennsbury Manor 01
Pennsbury Manor
  • County owned
  • Moland House an old stone farmhouse built around 1750 located in Warwick Township, and served as the headquarters for General George Washington during the American Revolutionary War from August 10, 1777 until August 23, 1777.
  • Pennsbury Manor house and grounds, the American home of William Penn, founder and first Governor of Pennsylvania, administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in association with The Pennsbury Society and are open to the public.

County recreation sites

  • Frosty Hollow Tennis Center
  • Core Creek Tennis Center
  • Oxford Valley Golf Course
  • Oxford Valley Pool
  • Tohickon Valley Pool
  • Weisel Hostel
  • Peace Valley Boat Rental
  • Core Creek Boat Rental

County Nature Centers

Transportation

Airports

  • Public airports administered by the Bucks County Airport Authority
    • Doylestown Airport
    • Quakertown Airport, also a Civil Air Patrol facility
    • Van Sant Airport and Park, formerly owned and administered by the Bucks County Department of Parks and Recreation
  • Private Airports
    • Pennridge Airport, owned by Pennridge Development Ent. Inc but open to public use for general aviation
    • Sterling Aviation Heliport, privately owned and public heliport and helicopter repair facility located in Croydon, PA next to Neshaminy State Park.

Public transportation

  • SEPTA – only parts of SE Bucks County

Major highways

  • I-95
  • I-276 / Penna. Tpk.
  • I-476 / Template:Infobox road/PA/abbrev PANE
  • US 1

  • US 1 Bus.
  • US 13
  • US 202
  • PA 32
  • PA 63
  • PA 309
  • PA 611

Communities

Map of Bucks County Pennsylvania With Municipal and Township Labels
Map of Bucks County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).

Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in at most two cases, towns. The most populous borough in the county is Morrisville with 10,023 as of the 2000 census. The following boroughs and townships are located in Bucks County:

Boroughs

Townships

  • Bedminster
  • Bensalem
  • Bridgeton
  • Bristol
  • Buckingham
  • Doylestown
  • Durham
  • East Rockhill
  • Falls
  • Haycock
  • Hilltown
  • Lower Makefield
  • Lower Southampton
  • Middletown
  • Milford
  • New Britain
  • Newtown
  • Nockamixon
  • Northampton
  • Plumstead
  • Richland
  • Solebury
  • Springfield
  • Tinicum
  • Upper Makefield
  • Upper Southampton
  • Warminster
  • Warrington
  • Warwick
  • West Rockhill
  • Wrightstown

Census-designated places

Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, may be listed here as well.

Unincorporated communities

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Bucks County.

county seat

Rank City/Town/etc. Municipal type Population (2010 Census)
1 Levittown CDP 52,983
2 Croydon CDP 9,950
3 Bristol Borough 9,726
4 Quakertown Borough 8,979
5 Morrisville Borough 8,728
6 Perkasie Borough 8,511
7 Fairless Hills CDP 8,466
8 Doylestown Borough 8,380
9 Richboro CDP 6,563
10 Telford (lies partially in Montgomery County) Borough 4,872
11 Sellersville Borough 4,249
12 Churchville CDP 4,128
13 Warminster Heights CDP 4,124
14 Chalfont Borough 4,009
15 Village Shires CDP 3,949
16 Woodbourne CDP 3,851
17 Brittany Farms-The Highlands CDP 3,695
18 Newtown Grant CDP 3,620
19 Trevose CDP 3,550
20 New Britain Borough 3,152
21 Feasterville CDP 3,074
22 Plumsteadville CDP 2,637
23 New Hope Borough 2,528
24 Yardley Borough 2,434
25 Woodside CDP 2,425
26 Penndel Borough 2,328
27 Newtown Borough 2,248
28 Dublin Borough 2,158
29 Eddington CDP 1,906
30 Tullytown Borough 1,872
31 Spinnerstown CDP 1,826
32 Langhorne Borough 1,622
33 Langhorne Manor Borough 1,442
34 Cornwells Heights CDP 1,391
35 Richlandtown Borough 1,327
36 Ivyland Borough 1,041
37 Hulmeville Borough 1,003
38 Trumbauersville Borough 974
39 Milford Square CDP 897
40 Silverdale Borough 871
41 Riegelsville Borough 868

Official seal

The traditional seal of Bucks County, Pennsylvania takes its design from the inspiration of the county's founder, William Penn. The center of the seal consists of a shield from the Penn family crest with a tree above and a flowering vine surrounding it in symmetric flanks. The seal has a gold-colored background and a green band denoting Penn as the county's first proprietor and governor. In 1683, Penn's council decreed that a tree and vine be incorporated into the emblem to signify the county's abundance of woods. The seal was used in its official capacity until the Revolutionary War. The county government has since used the official Pennsylvania state seal for official documents. Today, the Bucks County seal's use is largely ceremonial. It appears on county stationery and vehicles as a symbol of the county's heritage. The gold emblem is also the centerpiece of the official Bucks County flag, which has a blue background and gold trim.

Images for kids


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