Bucks County, Pennsylvania facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Bucks County Courthouse
Location within the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania's location within the U.S.
|• Total||622 sq mi (1,610 km2)|
|• Land||604 sq mi (1,560 km2)|
|• Water||18 sq mi (50 km2) 2.8%%|
| • Estimate
|• Density||1,039/sq mi (401/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|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 Philadelphia–Camden–Wilmington, PA–NJ–DE–MD 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.
- Arts and culture
- Parks and recreation
- Official seal
- Images for kids
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.
- 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.
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.
- Lehigh County (northwest)
- Northampton County (north)
- Warren County, New Jersey (northeast)
- Hunterdon County, New Jersey (northeast)
- Mercer County, New Jersey (east)
- Burlington County, New Jersey (southeast)
- Philadelphia County (south)
- Montgomery County (west)
|U.S. Decennial Census
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.
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.
The seemingly autobiographical novel The Fires of Spring by James Michener takes place in and around Doylestown.
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.
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.
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.
Bucks County has been mentioned multiple times on the popular Freeform TV series Pretty Little Liars.
Parks and recreation
Pennsylvania state parks
- Five are owned and operated by the Pennsylvania Bureau of State Parks, part of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).
- 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 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
- 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
- SEPTA – only parts of SE Bucks County
- I-276 / Penna Turnpike
- I-476 / Penna Turnpike NE Extension
- US 1
US 1 Bus.
- US 13
- US 202
- PA 32
- PA 63
- PA 309
- PA 611
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:
- East Rockhill
- Lower Makefield
- Lower Southampton
- New Britain
- Upper Makefield
- Upper Southampton
- West Rockhill
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.
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)|
|10||Telford (lies partially in Montgomery County)||Borough||4,872|
|17||Brittany Farms-The Highlands||CDP||3,695|
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
Bucks County, Pennsylvania Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.