The population in Rapho Township increased by nearly 18 percent, making it Lancaster County’s fastest-growing municipality, according to updated population data released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
Located in the county’s northwest sector, Rapho is along the busy Route 283-Route 230 corridor, an area that the Lancaster County Planning Commission and Economic Development Company of Lancaster have targeted as prime for future growth.
In the nine-plus years from April 1, 2010, to July 1, 2019, the township added an estimated 1,865 people, climbing from 10,439 to 12,304. Rapho’s nearly 18% growth rate ranked seventh in the state among municipalities with at least 10,000 residents, and 276th nationally.
Suzanne Reiley, president of the board of the Manheim Area Chamber of Commerce, and her husband, Barney, live in Rapho Township. They are redeveloping an old factory site, the former Bickel’s Snack Foods plant, in Manheim Borough.
Strickler Road, which runs between Route 772 and Route 230, is the catalyst for much of what’s happening in Rapho, Barney Reiley said.
There’s a Holiday Inn & Suites under construction about 2 miles from Spooky Nook Sports, a re-built Sheetz and a relatively new Tractor Supply, he said, naming just a few of the businesses in the area. Good Country Fruit’s distribution center is also on Strickler Road.
He cited three reasons for Rapho’s population boom: the strong economy (prior to the COVID-19 pandemic); its lower tax rates; and its size.
At more than 47 square miles, Rapho Township is among the largest municipalities in the county. “We have the space to do it here,” while still preserving the agricultural parts of the township, Barney Reiley said. He also noted that Rapho features one of the two Pennsylvania Turnpike entrances in Lancaster County, a selling point to commuters
And he characterized the township’s leadership as business friendly.
Census data shows Lancaster County gained 26,281 residents in the decade, up 5.1% from 519,443 to 545,724. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania’s population barely budged in that span, ticking up less than a percent to 12,801,989.
There are 17 municipalities in Lancaster County with at least 10,000 people.
The most populous are Lancaster city, 59,265; Manheim Township, 40,548; East Hempfield Township, 24,701; Manor Township, 21,021; and Warwick Township, 19,536.
The least populous are Christiana Borough, 1,171; Terre Hill Borough, 1,435; Adamstown Borough, 1,858; Eden Township, 2,233; and Marietta Borough, 2,604.