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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.More recently, however, the area around Phillipsburg, New Jersey west of Pohatcong Mountain, parts of upper Bucks County around Quakertown, and portions of northeastern Berks County and southern Carbon and Schuylkill counties in Pennsylvania are considered outer parts of the Valley.The Lehigh Valley is located approximately 60 mi (97 km) north of Philadelphia, 80 mi (130 km) northeast of Harrisburg, and 90 mi (140 km) west of New York City, the country's largest city. Recent census studies show it to be the fastest growing region in Pennsylvania, due in part to its growing popularity as a bedroom community for the highly populated neighboring regions of Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York City as well as its favorable business climate and much lower cost of living in comparison to surrounding areas.It has a humid continental climate (Dfa/Dfb) and the hardiness zone ranges from 5b in the highlands of northern Carbon to 6b.87.1% of the population were White American, 4.6% were Black or African American, 0.1% were American Indian, 2.3% were Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Americans made up 0.1%, 4.3% were of some other race, and 1.5% belonged to two or more races.All of the region, except Warren County, New Jersey, is part of Philadelphia's designated media market. It is the 64th most populated metropolitan area in the United States.
It is one of the largest and fastest growing economies in Pennsylvania with a 5% increase in GDP between 20 alone.
Hispanics and Latinos of any race made up 11.3% of the population.
The Lehigh Valley is seeing an influx of residents coming from New Jersey and New York to take advantage of the greatly reduced cost of living, employment opportunities, and close proximity to two of the largest cities in the country, Philadelphia and New York City.
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 Lehigh Valley ranks as the third most populous metropolitan areas in the state of Pennsylvania and ranks 68th most populous in the United States.
As of the 2010 US Census, the population of the CSA was 23,076,664, making it the most populous Combined Statistical Area in the United States.