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The Lehigh Valley's principal cities are Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton, making up the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton metropolitan area.

Lehigh Valley also is considered part of the historic Pennsylvania Dutch Country.

The three counties in the Metropolitan area are Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton.

The lower Lehigh Valley is geologically part of the Great Appalachian Valley and is bordered on the north by the mineral-rich Ridge and Valley Appalachians, which define its rugged upper parts from White Haven and west of the Poconos, south through the Lehigh Gorge to the Lehigh Gap near Palmerton.

The upper drainage basin contains or shares nearly half the southeastern Coal Region, which have the richest anthracite deposits in the world, while the lower valley holds valuable limestone, sandstone, and clay deposits.

Consequently, culturally and historically, the Valley runs from the drainage divide in the Solomon Gap just north of Mountain Top where coal flowed up the Ashley Planes from the Wyoming Valley coal beds in Luzerne County and across the divide, then downhill to the White Haven, then down through the Lehigh Gorge, past the historic Jim Thorpe terminus of the Summit Hill & Mauch Chunk Railroad (SH&MC) through historic locks and dams below Jim Thorpe or alongside the canal which fueled the American Industrial Revolution and operated into the Great Depression.

The American Canal age had its epicenter at the confluence of the Lehigh and Delaware rivers where five major canals met major rivers and coastal waterways, and all gave the people and industries of the Lehigh Valley access to minerals and markets via Easton from Connecticut, New York, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.The area is home to more than 820,000 people as of the 2010 U. The Lehigh Valley is geologically and geographically part of the Great Appalachian Valley, a region largely made up of limestone that stretches along the eastern edge of the Appalachian Mountains.The Lehigh Valley is so named because it is composed of an actual valley that lies between two mountain ranges, Blue Mountain to the north and South Mountain to the south.Bethlehem Steel, located along the Lehigh River and founded in 1857, was once the second-largest manufacturer of steel in the United States; its former location has been transformed into the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem and the Steelstacks performing arts campus The Lehigh Valley is known historically for its production of steel, Portland cement and apparel. Once a formidable industrial and manufacturing powerhouse serving the entire United States, the nationwide decline of this industry in the late 20th century and early 2000s led the Lehigh Valley to shift its economic focus more towards financial services, health care, life sciences and technology as well as becoming a distribution hub for some of the largest U. markets due to its comparatively low cost of living and proximity to some of the nation's largest metropolitan areas.However, a recent movement to reestablish manufacturing activities in the United States driven by customer demand for American made products, faster product delivery, increased overseas wages, and inflated costs of shipping has led to a sizeable increase in the local manufacturing base and rapidly growing interest in the region.In the charter of March 20, 1818 for the Lehigh Navigation Company, the legislature gave virtual total control to the Canal Company which it retained until 1964.These transportation improvements overcame the country's first energy crises due to deforestation in the early 19th century.Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 11.3% of the population.The Lehigh Valley has seen an influx of residents coming from New Jersey and New York to take advantage of the reduced cost of living.The Canal operated into the Great Depression, feeding ports up and down the Delaware River, the Delaware Canal, and transoceanic demand, and was integral to the regional industrial revolution in the greater Philadelphia-Trenton-Wilmington region.The Morris Canal and the 22–23 miles (35–37 km) coal feeder of the Delaware and Raritan Canal and locks at New Hope on the Delaware Canal were built to fuel the anthracite needs of Newark, Trenton, Jersey City and New York City.

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