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In the early 1700s, the land now occupied by the city of Allentown and Lehigh County was a wilderness of scrub oak where neighboring tribes of Native Americans fished for trout and hunted for deer, grouse, and other game. In 1736, a large area to the north of Philadelphia, embracing the present site of Allentown and what is now Lehigh County, was deeded by 23 chiefs of the five great Native American nations to John, Thomas, and Richard Penn, sons of William Penn. The price for this tract included shoes and buckles, hats, shirts, knives, scissors, combs, needles, looking glasses, rum, and pipes.
The land that was to become Allentown was part of a 5,000-acre (20 km2) plot William Allen purchased on September 10, 1735, from his business partner Joseph Turner, who was assigned the warrant to the land by Thomas Penn on May 18, 1732.
The land was originally surveyed on November 23, 1736. A subsequent survey done in 1753 by David Schultz for a road from Easton to Reading, of which present-day Union and Jackson streets were links, shows the location of a log house owned by Allen, situated near the western bank of Jordan Creek, which was believed to have been built around 1740. Used primarily as a hunting and fishing lodge, here Allen entertained prominent guests including his brother-in-law, James Hamilton, and colonial Pennsylvania governor John Penn.
The area that is today the center of Allentown was laid out as Northampton Town in 1762 by William Allen, a wealthy shipping merchant, former mayor of the city of Philadelphia and then-Chief Justice of the Province of Pennsylvania. It is likely that a certain amount of rivalry with the Penns prompted Judge Allen to decide to start a town of his own in 1762.
Ten years before, in 1752, Northampton and Berks counties had been formed, each with a county seat, Easton and Reading, respectively. It is recorded that, in 1763, the very year after the founding of Allentown, an effort was made to have the county seat moved from Easton to the new town. To this effort, William Allen lent all his influence as Chief Justice and also as the son-in-law of Andrew Hamilton. The influence of the Penns, however, prevailed, and Easton was retained as the county seat of all that vast area which the notorious "Walking Purchase" had opened up.
The original plan for the town, now in the archives of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, comprised forty-two city blocks and consisted of 756 lots, mostly 60 feet (18 m) in width and 230 feet (70 m) in depth. The town was located between present-day Fourth and Tenth Streets, and Union and Liberty Streets. Many streets on the original plan were named for Allen's children: Margaret (present-day Fifth Street), William (now Sixth), James (now Eighth), Ann (now Ninth) and John (now Walnut). Allen Street (now Seventh) was named for Allen himself, and was the main thoroughfare. Hamilton Street was named for James Hamilton. Gordon Street was named for Sir Patrick Gordon, Deputy Governor of Colonial Pennsylvania from 1726–1736. Chew Street was named for Benjamin Chew, and Turner Street was named for Allen's business partner, Joseph Turner.
Allen hoped that Northampton Town would displace Easton as the seat of Northampton County and also become a commercial center due to its location along the Lehigh River and its proximity to Philadelphia. Allen gave the property to his son James in 1767. Three years later, in 1770, James built a summer residence, Trout Hall, in the new town, near the site of his father's former hunting lodge.
On March 18, 1811, the town was formally incorporated as the borough of Northampton Town. On March 6, 1812, Lehigh County was formed from the western half of Northampton County, and Northampton Town was selected as the county seat. The town was officially renamed "Allentown" on April 16, 1838, after years of popular usage. Allentown was formally incorporated as a city on March 12, 1867.
The beginnings of the American Revolutionary War began in Northampton County on December 21, 1774, when a Committee of Observation for Northampton County was formed by American patriots. At the time, there were 54 homes in Northampton (Allentown), and the number of inhabitants was around 330. With the Declaration of Independence, the Colonial British government in Allentown began to break down and patriot militias took control. Frontier justice replaced the rule of law as zealous patriots preoccupied themselves not with fighting the British but with seizing local political power and persecuting their pacifist neighbors. Patriots pressured Tories out of Northampton County, and plans were made for the raising of a militia. The burden of supplying a military force logistically fell upon the people, and requisitions for food, grain, cattle, horses and cloth became commonplace.
After the Battle of Trenton on December 26, 1776, Hessian prisoners-of-war were kept in the vicinity of present-day Seventh and Gordon Streets. The Zion Reformed Church, and a house near James (now Eighth) and Hamilton Streets, served as hospitals for injured and sick Continental Army troops. In 1777, a factory manufacturing paper cartridges for muskets was relocated to Allentown from nearby Bethlehem. That same year, a shop of sixteen armorers was established along the Little Lehigh Creek and was employed in the repair of weapons and the manufacture of saddles and scabbards.
James J. Haurer claimed that General George Washington, with his staff, not long after the battle of Trenton, passed through Allentown, up Water Street, which is now Lehigh Street. They stopped at the foot of the street at a large spring on what is now the property occupied by the Wire Mill. There are several springs in the vicinity on both sides of the street, and near Wire Street. They rested and watered their horses, then went their way to their post of duty.
In 1777, Toryism was in the ascendancy at Bethlehem. The government found it necessary to remove their cartridge manufacturing to a safer place, and the town of Northampton (Allentown) was selected for repairing arms and bayonets and the manufacturing of saddles. Captain Styles was in charge of the military supplies, while John Tyler and Ebenezer Cowell were armorers in the employ of the state who ran the factory. Sixteen local armorers, including Johannes Moll, were actively engaged in repair work at the factory. Wood was procured locally, which provided the necessary charcoal for the forging operations, as well as replacing the battered stocks of damaged rifles.
Allentown holds historical significance as the location where the Liberty Bell (then known as the Pennsylvania State House bell) was successfully hidden from the British during the American Revolutionary War. After George Washington's defeat at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, the revolutionary capital of Philadelphia was defenseless, and prepared for British attack. The Supreme Executive Council of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania ordered that eleven bells, including the State House bell and the bells from Philadelphia's Christ Church and St. Peter's Church, be taken down and removed from the city to prevent the British, who would melt the bells down to cast into cannons, from taking possession of them. The bells were transported by John Snyder and Heinrich Bartholomew, two local residents assigned to the task by the Pennsylvania Supreme Executive Council, north to Northampton-Towne, and hidden in the basement of the Zion Reformed Church, in what is now center city Allentown.
Two wagon masters played an important role on this historic (Liberty Bell) trip from Philadelphia to Bethlehem. John Snyder and Henry Bartholomew were employed by the Supreme Executive Council, on this same day of the Liberty Bell's journey, to convey money and papers of value from Philadelphia to Easton for protection. It is recorded these two farmers of high esteem with horses and wagon of great value were entrusted with "papers in case, a barrel and a large iron chest". They made more than this one trip. On one journey from Pittstown, New Jersey, these two men carried ammunition and books to store in safety in Easton. The only highway to this city came by way of Germantown through Bethlehem and then east to Easton.
Today, a shrine and museum in the church's basement, known as the Liberty Bell Museum, mark the spot where the bell was hidden.
After the turmoil of the Revolution, Northampton Town grew slowly. In 1782 there were fifty-nine houses and over a hundred cows were stabled within the town. The town was described by a visitor in 1783: "One gets a glimpse of many good stone houses, many of them very neat, and everything about the premises shows good order and attention. The people are mainly German who speak bad English and distressing German." In 1795, the U.S. Gazetteer described Allentown as:
In 1792, the land to the north of the Lehigh Valley was purchased by the Lehigh Coal Mine Company. However, it was difficult to transport coal over the primitive trail system that existed at the time so very little was mined. In 1818 the Lehigh Navigation Company was formed and construction was begun on a navigable canal to transport the coal from Mach Chunk (today's Jim Thorpe) to Easton on the Delaware River. The Lehigh Canal was completed for both ascending and descending navigation in 1829, being 46.6 miles long along the east side of the Lehigh River. Its construction was the greatest single factor in making anthracite coal one of America's most important domestic and industrial fuels. However, the operational life of the canal was short. In 1855, the first railroad was built on the west side of the Lehigh River and the competition between them resulted in the steady decline of canal traffic.
Until 1803, the people of Northampton Town received their mail in Bethlehem. However, at the Compass and Square Hotel at Center Square (Today's Penn National Bank building) a post office was established. After reaching a population of over 700 residents in the 1810 United States Census, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania gave Northampton Town a legal existence on March 18, 1811, by incorporating it as the – Borough of Northampton, in Northampton County. The first business of the Borough government was to order cows to seek other pastures other than the public streets. An action which led many of its citizens to believe they were better off when it was plain Northampton Town, before it became a Borough. In 1812, Lehigh County was formed by partitioning a section of Northampton County, and Northampton was designated as its county seat.
In the early 1800s, Allen's town, or Allentown, as the borough began to be called since it was no longer a part of Northampton County, continued to grow primarily as a court and market town. The name became so common that in 1838, the name was officially changed to "Allentown." The first bank, the Northampton Bank. was chartered in July 1814 and it stood at the northeast corner of Center Square, where the Allentown National Bank Building stands today. It was also in this period that the first Hamilton Street Bridge, a 530-foot-long chain structure, was constructed over the Lehigh River. It was composed of two suspended lanes, one for east and one for westbound traffic, and a toll house at the western end.
The 1840s in particular were not kind to Allentown. A flood in 1841 swept away the Hamilton Street bridge and did extensive damage to the river section of the city. The Northampton Bank failed in 1843 due to speculation and caused financial ruin to many families. Then a large fire on June 1, 1848, burned out most of the Central Business District between Seventh and Eighth Streets on Hamilton. However, during the 1850s, the city recovered economically with a new bridge across the Lehigh, brick buildings replacing the wooden ones burned down on Hamilton Street, and in 1852, the first Allentown Fair was held.
Worried about the growing tensions between America's North and South, residents of the counties of Lehigh and Northampton in Pennsylvania "called a public meeting at Easton 'to consider the posture of affairs and to take measures for the support of the National Government,'" according to Alfred Mathews and Austin N. Hungerford, authors of History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon, in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. At this meeting on April 13, 1861, these citizens voted to establish and equip a new military unit, the 1st Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry, and placed Tilghman H. Good in charge, assigning him the rank of lieutenant colonel. Good, commander of the Pennsylvania National Guard's 4th Regiment at the time, had previously served as captain of the Allen Rifles, a Lehigh County militia established in 1849, and later went on to become a three-time mayor of Allentown. Captain Samuel Yohe of Easton was appointed colonel of the 1st Pennsylvania Volunteers, and Thomas W. Lynn was awarded the rank of major. William H. Gausler, the leader of another Allentown-based militia, the Jordan Artillerists, was subsequently placed in charge of the Allen Rifles.
Then, following the Battle of Fort Sumter and the fort's April 14 surrender to Confederate forces, President Abraham Lincoln issued his April 15, 1861, proclamation, calling for state militia to provide 75,000 volunteer troops to defend the nation's capital. In response, Allentown sent the Allen Infantry. Also known as the "Allen Guards," the unit was commanded by Captain Thomas Yeager, and mustered in for duty in Harrisburg on April 18, 1861. During their three months' service, which lasted until July 23, 1861, these Allentonians primarily performed guard duty and, as one of the first five militia units sent by Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C., the Allen Infantry helped to deter the Confederate States from carrying out any plans they had to capture the city. In recognition of this early service, the soldiers from the Allen Infantry, Logan Guards (Lewistown), National Light Infantry (Pottsville), Ringgold Light Artillery (Reading), and Washington Artillerists (Pottsville) became known as "Pennsylvania First Defenders."
Both the Allen Rifles and the Jordan Artillerists were then incorporated into the 1st Pennsylvania Volunteers, and mustered into service as Company I at Harrisburg on April 20, 1861, narrowly missing out on the opportunity to be declared as First Defenders. Upon completion of their three months' service, the men of Company I were honorably discharged, and also mustered out at Harrisburg on July 23, 1861.
On August 5, 1861, Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin granted authority to Tilghman H. Good to raise another new regiment, the 47th Pennsylvania Infantry. Commissioned as Colonel of the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers, Good secured help from William H. Gausler, who was commissioned as a Major with the regiment's central command staff, and John Peter Shindel Gobin, an officer with the Sunbury Guards in Northumberland County, who had been given the authority to form his own unit and who would later go on to become a Pennsylvania state senator and the state's Lieutenant Governor.
Companies B, G, I, and K of the 47th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry were recruited in Allentown, Company F in Catasauqua, Companies A and E in Easton, Company C in Sunbury, and Companies D and H in Perry County. The only Pennsylvania regiment to fight in the Union Army's 1864 Red River Campaign across Louisiana, the 47th Pennsylvania Volunteers also participated in the Union Army's capture of Saint John's Bluff, Florida (October 1–3, 1862), the Battle of Pocotaligo, South Carolina (October 21–23, 1862), and General Sheridan's 1864 Shenandoah Valley campaign, including the Battles of Berryville, Opequan, Fisher's Hill, and Cedar Creek in Virginia, and also helped to defend the nation's capital following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Other known Civil War units from Allentown were the 5th, 41st, 128th, and 176th Pennsylvania Infantry.
On October 19, 1899, the city erected and dedicated the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, which still stands on Allentown's center square, in honor of Union soldiers from Allentown and local Lehigh Valley towns and boroughs who died in the Civil War.
The opening of the Lehigh Canal caused a fundamental change in the nature of Allentown and the Lehigh Valley, as it transformed both from a rural agricultural area dominated by German-speaking people into an urbanized industrialized area. It expanded the city's commercial and industrial capacity greatly. With this, the town underwent significant industrialization, ultimately becoming a major center for heavy industry and manufacturing.
The actual foundation for the city's industrial development was brought about by necessity. David Deshler, the city's first shopkeeper, opened a saw mill in 1782. By 1814 the list of industrial plants in the city included flour mills, saw mills, two saddle makers, a tannery and tan yard, a woolen mill, a card weaving ·plant, two gunsmiths, two tobacconists, two clock-makers, and two printers. In 1855, the first railroads reached Allentown. These were in direct competition for moving coal with the Lehigh Canal. The Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad ordered four locomotives and stations were erected at Easton, Allentown and Mauch Chunk. The railroad was placed in operation in September of that year. Connections for New York City were made via the Central Railroad of New Jersey and later connections with Philadelphia were made via the Perkiomen railroad which operated between Norristown and Freemansburg.
It was Henry Leh who began the true industrialization of Allentown in 1861. The Union Army needed boots. Since Simon Cameron, the secretary of war, was from Pennsylvania, many government contracts flowed to the Keystone state. Leh had opened his shoe and ready-to-wear clothing store in Allentown in 1850. If the Union Army needed boots and shoes, he'd make them. In addition to Leh's boot and shoe industry, during the Civil War, eight brick yards, a saw mill, the Allentown Paint factory, two shoe factories, a piano factory, flour mills, breweries and distilleries had opened in the city.
Beds of iron ore had been discovered in the hills around Allentown in the 1840s, and a furnace was constructed in 1846 for the production of pig iron by the Allentown Iron Company. The furnace was opened in 1847 under the supervision of Samuel Lewis, an expert in iron production, and this led to the opening of plants for a wide variety of metal products. The Allentown Rolling Mill Company was a merger of several small companies in 1860 and became the most significant iron company in the city. It employed many people and turned out more iron products than any other. Although not as large as the iron and steel industry in neighboring Bethlehem, in the latter half of the 19th Century, Allentown became a major iron-producing center.
The Allentown Boiler Works was founded in 1883 by Charles Collum. He and his partner, John D. Knouse, built a large facility at Third and Gordon Streets in the First Ward, near the Lehigh Valley Railroad yard to the east near Jeter's (later Kline's) Island. The business manufactured iron products of many types, being used in the White House and at the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY. Its boilers and kilns were used across the United States, and also in Canada, Cuba and the Philippines.
In addition to the iron and railroad industries, Allentown also had a strong tradition in the brewing of beer and was home to several notable breweries, including the Horlacher Brewery (founded 1897, closed 1978), the Neuweiler Brewery (founded 1875, closed 1968) and Schaefer Beer, whose brewery was later owned by Pabst Brewing Company and Guinness but is now owned by the Boston Beer Company, maker of Samuel Adams.
Brick making flourished in the city until after World War I, the clay unearthed in various sections of the community proving highly suitable for the manufacture of building brick as well as fire brick. Bricks were the first products shipped outside of the Allentown area by rail and were sold nationwide. Food processing started with the early bakers, who came into the city with the first settlers. In 1887, Wilson Arbogast and Morris C. Bastian formed Arbogast and Bastian, where commercial slaughtering was done on a large scale.
With the industrial industry, Allentown became a major banking and finance center. William H. Ainey was born in Susquehanna county, November 30, 1834. In 1860, he organized the Allentown Savings Institution and was chosen its first president. In 1863–64 the Second National Bank of Allentown was organized. He was elected its first president, a position he filled up to the time of his death. Ainey was a financier of the industrial and retail growth of the city. Through his industry and assistance the following industries were established: The Iowa Barb Wire Co., which was later absorbed by American Steel & Wire; The Pioneer Silk Factory, The Palace Silk Mill, and the Allentown Spinning Company.
In the late 1870s, Allentown's iron industry collapsed. It left the city economically depressed and to prevent this from happening again, efforts were made to develop a diversified industrial base. Convincing the Phoenix Manufacturing Company to open a silk mill in Allentown was the first major success of that effort. The success of its Adelaide mill at Race and Court Streets prompted the opening of the Pioneer silk mill in 1886 and the city was established as a silk manufacturing center. With its many ancillary businesses, the silk industry became the largest in the city and remained so until the late 20th century. By 1914, there were 26 mills in Allentown, which by 1928, when rayon was introduced, became 85 mills. Over 10,000 people were employed in the Allentown silk industry at its height during the 1940s.
Jack and Gus Mack moved their motor car plant to Allentown from Brooklyn in 1905; taking over the foundries of the former Weaver-Hirsh company on South 10th Street. By 1914, Mack Trucks had developed a reputation for being sturdy and reliable. Many were sent to the battlefields of the Western Front in France before the United States entered World War I in 1917. The British gave the Mack AC five and seven-ton trucks the nickname "Bulldog". Mack eventually had a total of eight manufacturing plants in Allentown. In the post-World War II era, the Western Electric plant on Union Boulevard was announced on October 11, 1945, after a nationwide search to locate a new manufacturing plant. On October 1, 1951, the world's first transistor production began at the Allentown Western Electric plant. It would become the backbone of a communications revolution. Over the years the plant was at the forefront of the postwar electronics revolution.
Max Hess came to Allentown in 1896 on a business trip and envisioned a department store serving the area. He moved his family from Perth Amboy, New Jersey, in 1897. Max and his brother Charles opened Hess Brothers on Ninth and Hamilton streets. In the first half of the 20th Century, Hess Brothers was a shopping destination. Flamboyance and excitement were cornerstones of the store. It was well known for its fashion apparel as a result of introducing the latest trends from Europe. Opening in 1926, the Zollinger-Harned Company became Allentown's third major department store in the Central Business District.
The Pennsylvania guide, compiled by the Writers' Program of the Works Progress Administration, described the impact that Allentown's historical patterns of immigration and the Pennsylvania German community had on the city's linguistic landscape in the first half of the 20th century, noting in 1940 that:
By the mid-20th Century, Allentown had become a major retailing and entertainment center separate from Philadelphia and New York City. The establishment of the Hess Brothers, H. Leh and Company and Zollinger Department stores led to the growth of the retail business sector in the Central Business District. There were dozens of smaller retail stores, along with numerous restaurants, hotels, banks and professional offices in the "downtown", as it was called. In addition to the shopping, at least seven cinemas and stage theaters were located along Hamilton Street between Fifth and Tenth Streets.
By the mid-1960s, Allentown's economy had been booming for decades. Rising taxes in the city and the inability to expand the city's legal limits led to a migration of the baby boom generation to live outside of the city limits. Townships such as Salisbury, South Whitehall and Whitehall had large areas of farmland that were prime locations for large housing estates to be built. Allentown began to be drained of its next generation of working class, who began to migrate to the newer, less-expensive housing in suburbs which also offered lower taxes, green space, less crime, and newer schools.
With these demographic changes that began in the 1970s and continued into the 1980s and 1990s, Allentown's city government and school district were left with fewer resources. The financial shortcomings of the city increased the number of working-class families leaving Allentown because of the Allentown School District's shortcomings as well as the sea change in demographics in the city's neighborhoods, especially those in center city. With the departure of many working-class families from older center city neighborhoods, many homes were sold to landlords which converted them into inexpensive multi-family apartments which became government subsidized because of lax zoning enforcement and permissive city codes. The subsidized housing attracted new migrants to the area from New York and Philadelphia, looking for a better life in the more affordable Allentown area, but started a poverty problem with many of these residents requiring social services which the city could not afford easily.
While the neighborhoods and school system continued to decline, Allentown, like many other cities, focused all of its attention and resources on Hamilton Street Retail and the Central Business District, ignoring the neighborhoods around them. This exacerbated the decline of the city at large. With the population growing in the townships, more and more shopping centers along with other services were built outside of the city to accommodate the needs of their growing populations. In 1966, the Whitehall Mall, the first closed shopping mall north of Philadelphia was opened. Ten years later, in 1976, the larger Lehigh Valley Mall was built north of the Lehigh Valley Thruway (US Route 22). The stores in the downtown shopping district began to close and be replaced with stores whose customers were less affluent than the past. Large areas of the downtown were torn down for parking lots and the downtown business district was rebuilt in an attempt to compete with the suburban shopping areas. However, the Hamilton Mall concept of covered sidewalks and reduced traffic was ultimately unsuccessful. Two of the city's major department stores, Leh's and Zollingers closed by 1990. The third, Hess's was sold to The Bon-Ton in 1994, which subsequently closed in 1996. The closure of Hess's and the fate in 1993 of the Corporate Center, the city's new flagship business center on North Seventh Street, fell victim to a large sinkhole, which caused its condemnation and ultimate demolition.
Combined with this, the manufacturing economy of the Northeastern United States began suffering from deindustrialization. That caused many of the factories and corporations headquartered in Allentown to close or move. Mack Trucks relocated to Greensboro, North Carolina, LSI Corporation (formerly Western Electric, later Agere Systems, which merged with LSI Logic), moved its headquarters to California, and numerous factories ceased operation. With the manufacturing base of the economy eroding, more and more high-paying industrial jobs were replaced with lower-paying jobs in the service sector.
In the 2000s and 2010s, Allentown's economy, like most of Pennsylvania's, has been based in the service industries with some manufacturing. There also has been significant growth in the health care, transportation and warehousing industries.
The Allentown Economic Development Corporation (AEDC) operates a business incubator, the Bridgeworks, which helps attract and support young commercial and manufacturing businesses. In addition, the Neighborhood Improvement Zone (NIZ) was created by the Pennsylvania State Legislature in 2009 to encourage development and revitalization in Allentown. The NIZ consists of approximately 128 acres (52 hectares) in downtown Allentown and the new Riverfront district (the western side of the Lehigh River). As a result, the Central Business District has been redeveloped with Allentown's new PPL Center arena, a full-service Renaissance Hotel and redeveloped office buildings.
In addition to the Central Business District, the Lehigh River waterfront area is being redeveloped with a mixed-use development of apartment and office buildings. There is also an effort underway to bring suburban residents back into the city. Downtown apartment complexes, such as the Strata Lofts I and II are being built to provide rentals primarily for millennials who work in the new office buildings. Empty Nester boomer and Gen-X residents are being attracted to condominium residences such as the redeveloped Livingston Building and Farr Lofts, as well as new urban condominiums planned in the Five City Center Complex downtown. In addition to the residences and office buildings, new retail stores and restaurants are being built as part of the NIZ development.
As of the 2010 census, the city was 58.5% White (43.2% non-Hispanic white), 12.5% Black or African American (10.2% non-Hispanic black), 0.8% Native American (non-Hispanic), 2.2% Asian (non-Hispanic), and 5.0% were two or more races. 42.8% of the population were of Hispanic or Latino ancestry, mostly made up of Puerto Ricans. 14.6% of the population were foreign-born.
As of the census of 2000, there were 106,632 people and 25,135 families residing in the city. The population density was 6,011.5 inhabitants per square mile (2,320.8/km2). There were 45,960 housing units at an average density of 2,591.1 per square mile (1,000.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 72.55% White, 7.85% African American, 0.33% Native American, 2.27% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 13.37% from other races, and 3.55% from two or more races. 24.44% of the population were Hispanic or Latino.
There were 42,032 households in the city, of which 28.8% had children under the age of 18, 39.4% had married couples living together, 15.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2% had non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The city's average household size is 2.42 and the average family size was 3.09.
The city's population broken down by age ranges was 24.8% under 18, 11.2% from 18–24, 29.8% from 25–44, 19.1% from 45–64, and 15.1% 65 years or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there are 91.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.7 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $32,016, and the median income for a family was $37,356. Males had a median income of $30,426 versus $23,882 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,282. 18.5% of the population and 14.6% of families were below the poverty line. 29.4% of those under the age of 18 and 10.3% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line. The unemployment rate for the entire Lehigh Valley area is 9.8% as of February 2010, with Allentown's unemployment rate estimated at over 10%.
For 2010, crime was down in the City of Allentown for the fourth consecutive year. The decline was led by a 31 percent drop in the number of homicides from 13 to 9. Motor vehicle theft fell 11 percent. Burglary was down 6 percent. Reported robberies, rapes and property crimes also fell. There were slight increases in the number of aggravated assaults and arsons. The number of violent crimes in the city fell more than 30 percent since 2006.
Allentown is the birthplace of, or home to, several notable Americans, including:
The state of Pennsylvania is a prominent southern, Midwestern state located along the northeast coast of the United States. Pennsylvania is governed by a hybrid political party that is called the Democratic Republicans. Pennsylvania is home to more than 35 million people - the largest population in the Eastern States. Pennsylvania's economy is highly diversified with a large number of industries based in its central region. The city of Philadelphia attracts a large number of residents who commute to New York City.
The state capital of Harrisburg is the state's largest. The city of Pittsburgh is Pennsylvania's biggest city. In terms of culture and ethnic diversity, Pennsylvania is best known for its German, Irish, and Dutch heritage. The state has one of the largest populations of Roman Catholics.
Pennsylvania's demography is older than the United States at about half a century. The last quarter of a century has seen a dramatic change in the state's demography. There are now more elderly people in this country than any other age group. Many immigrants have been to the state for generations but there has been an influx of recently arriving Hispanic immigrants in large numbers.
The ethnic diversity of Pennsylvania is reflected in its demography as well. The state has many ethnic groups including German Americans, Italian Americans, Irish Americans, Polish Americans, Russian Americans, and Latin American Americans. The state has many diverse ethnic identities and many different ethnic backgrounds.
Because of its long history and the diversity of its ethnic demographics, Pennsylvania is a state with lots of historical interest for historians and genealogists. Beginning in the seventh century, the state has been a key player in the expansion of Europe and the western world. Throughout European history, many battles have been fought between the native British population and the invaders from other tribes. Many of these invasions have taken place along the Pennsylvania border.
Over the years, many cultures have made their home in Pennsylvania. One of these cultures is the German community that settled in the Lackawinkle area over a century ago. Over the years, the German immigrants built many of the structures that are still standing today including historical townships, schools, churches, roads, and neighborhoods. They also left behind many language and dialectal symbols that are still used today by the German Americans in Pennsylvania.
Another significant ethnic group to arrive in Pennsylvania were Irish immigrants. In fact, there were so many of these immigrants that they all contributed to the state's economy and culture. This ancient population migrated to the state in large numbers during the latter part of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Many Irish immigrants settled near what is now the city of Philadelphia, where they established many of the early city's buildings.
Historically, African Americans have also made significant contributions to the state. In fact, the state was home to some of the most powerful slave societies in the country prior to the Civil War. Throughout their history, these groups helped shape the society that exists today. In addition, the Black population has always been an important element in Pennsylvania's culture and heritage. This population has always played an important role in Pennsylvania history and culture.
Historically, Italian immigrants have also made a significant impact on the state. These immigrants brought a new perspective and way of life to the nation. In addition, they built a number of the cities and towns that are familiar to us today such as York, Lancaster, and Scranton. Their vast amount of experience in building and managing constructions has resulted in some of the most beautiful and unique structures anywhere.
Yet another group of immigrants that have made a positive impact on Pennsylvania culture and society are the Gypsies. Originating from southern Italy, these unique people brought a sense of elegance and style to the people of Pennsylvania. In addition to their building and architecture, Gypsies were also well known for their kindness and hospitality. They showed a willingness to share their culture with newcomers and helped to ensure that those who came to America would be able to fully adapt to the unique customs and way of life of Pennsylvania.
The immigrants from Europe and other countries have shaped the history and culture of Pennsylvania just as much as the native population has. Because of this, it is imperative that we continue to learn more about the people who came before us. In addition, the Pennsylvania Dutch people were also an important part of the history of Pennsylvania. While the Dutch language was more related to French than Italian, they were an important part of the overall French influence in Pennsylvania.