BUCKS County, PA
Bucks County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As of the 2020 census, the population was 628,270; it is the fourth-most populous county in Pennsylvania. The county seat is Doylestown. The county is named after the English county of Buckinghamshire or more precisely, its abbreviation.
Bucks County constitutes part of the northern boundary of 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 with New Jersey.
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 in which he lived in England. He built a country estate, Pennsbury Manor, in Falls Township, Bucks County.
Some places in Bucks County were named after locations in Buckinghamshire, including Buckingham and Buckingham Township, named after the former 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.
American War of Independence
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 , of which is land and (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).
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% Non-Hispanic white, 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.
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 was $59,727, and the median income for a family was $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.
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 Township, 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 of existing building sites 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 undergoing a renaissance. At the same time, Central and Upper Bucks are still seeing rapid growth, with many municipalities doubling their populations.
The boroughs of Bristol and Morrisville were prominent industrial centers along the Northeast Corridor during World War II. Suburban development accelerated in Lower Bucks in the 1950s with the opening of Levittown, Pennsylvania, the second such "Levittown" designed by William Levitt.
Among Bucks' largest employers in the twentieth century were U.S. Steel in Falls Township, and the Vulcanized Rubber & Plastics and Robertson Tile companies in Morrisville. Rohm and Haas continues to operate several chemical plants around Bristol. Waste Management operates a landfill in Tullytown that is the largest receptacle of out-of-state waste in the USA (receiving much of New York City's waste following the closure of Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island, NY away).
Bucks is also experiencing rapid growth in biotechnology, along with neighboring Montgomery County. The Greater Philadelphia area consistently ranks in the top 10 geographic clusters for biotechnology and biopharma. It is projected by 2020 that one out of four people in Bucks County will work in biotechnology.
List of notable Bucks County businesses
thumb|Bucks County is home to a number of covered bridges, 10 of which are still open to highway traffic and two others (situated in parks) are open to non-vehicular traffic. Shown here is the Schofield Ford Covered Bridge over the Neshaminy Creek in Tyler State Park.
Another important asset of the county is tourism. The county's northern regions (colloquially referred to as Upper Bucks) are renowned for their natural scenery, farmland, colonial history, and proximity to major urban areas (particularly Philadelphia, but New York City, Allentown, Reading and Atlantic City are also within a two-hour radius).
Bucks County is home to twelve covered bridges. Ten are still open to vehicular traffic. Two other bridges, both located in parks, are open only to non-vehicular traffic. All Bucks County bridges use the Town truss design. The Schofield Ford Bridge, in Tyler State Park, was reconstructed in 1997 from the ground up after arsonists destroyed the original in 1991.
Popular attractions in Bucks County include the shops and studios of New Hope, Peddler's Village (in Lahaska), Washington Crossing Historic Park, New Hope Railroad, and Bucks County River Country. Rice's Market near Lahaska is a popular destination on Tuesday mornings. Quakertown Farmer's Market (locally called "Q-Mart") is a popular shopping destination on weekends. The county seat of Doylestown has the trifecta of concrete structures built by Henry Chapman Mercer, including the Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, the Mercer Museum and Fonthill, Mercer's personal home.
Southern Bucks (colloquially referred to as Lower Bucks) is home to two important shopping malls, Neshaminy Mall and Oxford Valley Mall, and Sesame Place, a family theme park based on the Sesame Street television series. Also within Lower Bucks County is Parx Casino and Racing in Bensalem, a casino and thoroughbred horse racing track. The casino was built on the grounds of what was originally Philadelphia Park Racetrack. The complex includes the throughbred horse racing track, expansive casino, a dance club, numerous dining options, and the Xcite Center.
Colleges and universities
Public school districts
The Bucks County public schools listed above are served by a regional educational service agency
called the Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22 located in the county seat of Doylestown.
Public charter schools
There are 11 public cyber charter schools in Pennsylvania that are available for free statewide, to children K–12. See: Education in Pennsylvania.
Community, junior and technical colleges
The Bucks County Library System was founded in 1956 by a resolution of the Bucks County Commissioners. Their mission statement reads: "Within our libraries and outside our walls, Bucks County Free Library fosters meaningful library experiences for the residents of Bucks County. We welcome our community by providing enthusiastic and effective staff, inviting buildings, a virtual presence, current materials, dynamic programs, and innovative services."
The Bucks County Library System is made up of 7 branch libraries in the following townships:
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, writer Eric Knight, 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. Allen Saalburg relocated to Bucks County in 1947, and named his press after the canal.
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 and the Bucks County Gilbert & Sullivan Society, founded in 2009, performs a Gilbert & Sullivan operetta with full orchestra each June.
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. The main members of the rock band Ween are from New Hope.
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 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.
Local print publications include Bucks County Courier Times, The Intelligencer, The Advance of Bucks County, Bucks County Herald, Bucks County Town and Country Living, Radius Magazine, Yardley Voice, Morrisville Times, Newtown Gazette, Northampton Herald, Langhorne Ledger, Lower Southampton Spirit, New Hope News, Doylestown Observer, Warwick Journal, Fairless Focus. Online news publications are Levittown Now, NewtownPANow, Bucks Happening, New Hope Free Press. WBCB-AM is a local radio news station.
The Bucks County Sharks rugby league team played in the AMNRL from 1997 to 2010 season. They returned to play in the AMNRL in 2011, until the league's fold in 2014, when they subsequently joined the USARL.
The county has a considerable history of producing Little League baseball contenders. Since its inception in 1947, four of the seven Pennsylvania teams to compete in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pennsylvania have come from Bucks County: Morrisville (1955), Levittown American (1960 and 1961), and Council Rock-Newtown (2005). Two of these squads, Morrisville and Levittown (1960), went on to win the World Series title. In 2007, Council Rock Northampton won the PA State championship, and lost in the finals of regionals.
The county is a part of PIAA's District I, and has seen many schools capture multiple state titles.
American Legion Baseball
In 1996, Yardley Western Post 317 won the American Legion National Championship.
Bristol Legion Post 382 recently won the 2011 American Legion State Championship.
Parks and recreation
Pennsylvania state parks
There are six Commonwealth-owned parks in Bucks County:
County recreation sites
County Nature Centers
Politics and government
As of November 1, 2021, there are 475,251 registered voters in Bucks County.
Like most of the Philadelphia suburbs, Bucks County was once a stronghold for the Republican Party. However, in recent years it has become more of a swing county, like Pennsylvania at large. In presidential elections, Bucks has been swept up in the overall Democratic trend that has swept the Philadelphia area, although the trend in Bucks has been somewhat less pronounced than in Delaware and Montgomery. It has gone Democratic in every presidential election since 1992.
Until recently, Republicans still held most local offices. However, after Democratic gains in the 2018 elections, Republicans hold all but four state house seats covering portions of the county, while the Democrats and Republicans hold two state senate seats each. The Democrats and Republicans each hold four of the row offices. As in most suburban Philadelphia counties, Republicans tend to be conservative on fiscal matters and moderate on social and environmental matters.
All four statewide winners (Barack Obama for President, Rob McCord for Treasurer, Jack Wagner for Auditor General, and Tom Corbett for Attorney General) carried Bucks in November 2008. Earlier in 2008, Democrats took a plurality of registered voters. The GOP statewide candidates in the 2010 midterms, Tom Corbett for Governor and Pat Toomey for Senate, both won Bucks.
Bucks County is represented in U.S. Congress by , (map) formerly numbered as the 8th District. While concerns about gerrymandering are on the rise, the 1st District remains one of the few districts in the United States that is almost fully encompassed by a single county. In order to comply with population requirements, the Bucks County-dominated 1st Congressional district also includes slightly over 100,000 residents in the Hatboro-Horsham area of Montgomery County.
The executive government is run by a three-seat board of commissioners, one member of which serves as chairperson. Commissioners are elected through at-large voting and serve four-year terms. In cases of vacancy, a panel of county judges appoints members to fill seats. The current commissioners are Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia (D) (Chairwoman), Robert "Bob" J. Harvie Jr. (D) (Vice-Chairman), and Gene DiGirolamo (R). The current terms expire in January 2024.
In 2012, four county employees were sentenced for compensating public employees for political work.
In the 2016 elections, Democrats Hillary Clinton (President), Josh Shapiro (Attorney General), and Joe Torsella (State Treasurer) won Bucks County while Republicans Pat Toomey (U.S. Senate), Brian Fitzpatrick (U.S. Representative), and John Brown (Auditor General) won Bucks County in theirs.
County Row Officers
The current Bucks County Sheriff is Frederick "Fred" A. Harran. Three members of the Sheriff's Office have died in the line of duty. One was shot and two others died in traffic accidents. The first, Sheriff Abram Kulp was murdered in February 1927.
State House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
United States Senate
right|thumb|300px|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:
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.
‡This populated place also has portions in an adjacent county or counties
Police Agencies and Services
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Bucks County.
† county seat
According to the Trewartha climate classification system, the Piedmont (United States) section of Bucks County, which is located roughly northwest of U.S. Route 1, has a Temperate Continental Climate with hot and slightly humid summers, cold winters and year-around precipitation (Dcao). Dcao climates are characterized by at least one month having an average mean temperature ≤ , four to seven months with an average mean temperature ≥ , at least one month with an average mean temperature ≥ and no significant precipitation difference between seasons. According to the Köppen climate classification system, the climate is a hot-summer, wet all year, humid continental climate (Dfa). During the summer months in the Piedmont, episodes of extreme heat and humidity can occur with heat index values > . The average wettest month is July which corresponds with the annual peak in thunderstorm activity. During the winter months, episodes of extreme cold and wind can occur with wind chill values < . The plant hardiness zone at Haycock Mountain, elevation 968 ft (295 m), is 6b with an average annual extreme minimum air temperature of . The average seasonal (Nov-Apr) snowfall total is between 26 and 36 inches (66 and 91 cm) depending on elevation and distance from the Atlantic Ocean. The average snowiest month is February which correlates with the annual peak in nor'easter activity. Some areas of the Piedmont farther south and along the river below New Hope are in hardiness zone 7a, as is the Atlantic Coastal Plain region of Bucks.
Atlantic Coastal Plain Region
According to the Trewartha climate classification system, the Atlantic coastal plain section of Bucks County, which is located roughly southeast of U.S. Route 1 has a Temperate Oceanic Climate with hot and slightly humid summers, cool winters and year-around precipitation (Doak). Doak climates are characterized by all months having an average mean temperature > , four to seven months with an average mean temperature ≥ , at least one month with an average mean temperature ≥ and no significant precipitation difference between seasons. According to the Köppen climate classification, this region has a humid subtropical climate (Cfa). During the summer months in the Atlantic Coastal Plain, episodes of extreme heat and humidity can occur with heat index values > . The average wettest month is July which corresponds with the annual peak in thunderstorm activity. During the winter months, episodes of extreme cold and wind can occur with wind chill values < . The plant hardiness zone in Andalusia, Bensalem Twp, elevation 16 ft (5 m), is 7a with an average annual extreme minimum air temperature of . The average seasonal (Nov-Apr) snowfall total is between 24 and 26 inches (61 and 66 cm) depending on elevation and distance from the Atlantic Ocean. The average snowiest month is February which correlates with the annual peak in nor'easter activity.
According to the A. W. Kuchler U.S. potential natural vegetation types, Bucks County, Pennsylvania would have a dominant vegetation type of Appalachian Oak (104) with a dominant vegetation form of Eastern Hardwood Forest (25).
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.
This page uses material from the Wikipedia article Bucks County, PA, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 4.0.