Living in Cumberland Valley
Cumberland Valley's 33 townships and boroughs combine the best of rural landscapes and thriving downtowns, surrounded by delightful views and scenic mountain vistas. Easily accessible from several major highways -- including I-81, the Pennsylvania Turnpike (I-76), I-83, and US 11/15 -- and within a two-hour drive of three airports (Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Baltimore), Cumberland Valley's location in south-central Pennsylvania is affordable compared to major cities but offers the amenities and sophistication that new residents will appreciate.
While Cumberland Valley's main thoroughfares are easy to navigate, residents often travel the scenic backroads. Whatever route you choose, the Valley's amenities and nearby attractions are never far from your doorstep.
Facts & Figures
- The county is governed by an elected three-person Board of Commissioners.
- The 2020 population was 259,469, a 10% increase since 2010, making it the fastest-growing county in the state.
- On average, it is 75% more expensive to live in a city like New York than in Cumberland Valley. Also, according to the PA Department of Labor & Industry, the cost of living in the south-central PA region is almost 5% below the national average.
- A recent analysis by the Independent Fiscal Office shows that Cumberland County has the lowest property tax burden in the surrounding region and the 40th lowest in the state (out of a total of 67 counties).
Over the years, Cumberland Valley has received numerous accolades recognizing its high quality of life. Here are a few highlights.
- SmartAsset ranked Mechanicsburg as #5 among Pennsylvania's best places to retire.
- Carlisle was voted #4 in USA Today's 10 Best Historic Small Towns.
- Carlisle was among ten communities across the country to receive a 2021 All-America City Award from the National Civic League.
- More than 55% of small businesses in downtown Camp Hill are women-owned.
- The Harrisburg-Carlisle area was ranked #9 by Think Advisor in the 15 Best Cities for Millenial Homebuyers in 2021.
- Cumberland County is ranked one of the healthiest counties in the state based on health outcomes and health factors.
- Livability ranked Carlisle in the "5 Best Cities for Green Living" in PA.
Residents of Cumberland County are served by four hospitals.
- UPMC Carlisle: A 166-bed facility in the heart of Cumberland County.
- UPMC West Shore, Mechanicsburg: A five-story, 166-bed acute-care hospital with all private rooms.
- Penn State Health Hampden Medical Center, Enola: An acute care hospital with 110 private, inpatient beds.
- Penn State Health Holy Spirit Medical Center, Camp Hill: A 312-bed community hospital in East Pennsboro Township.
There are also numerous outpatient urgent care centers throughout the county.
There are 9 school districts in Cumberland County.
The Big Spring School District has a K-12 enrollment of approximately 25,00 students housed in five buildings. The district is comprised of a senior high (grades 9-12), a middle school (grades 6-8), and three elementary schools (K-grade 5).
Approximately 1,340 students are enrolled in the Camp Hill School District. The district is comprised of Hoover Elementary School (K-grade 2), Eisenhower Elementary School (grades 3-5), Camp Hill Middle School (grades 6-8), and Camp Hill High School (grades 9-12). The middle school is in the same building as the high school. Camp Hill is a walking school district and does not provide transportation to and from school. Students are encouraged to walk or bike to school.
Carlisle Area School District has a K-12 enrollment of approximately 5,129 students. The district is comprised of 7 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and one high school, serving families from Carlisle borough, Mt. Holly Springs borough, Dickinson Township, North Middleton Township, and the US Army War College. The 2022 graduation rate was 89.95%.
Cumberland Valley School District covers 106 square miles and enrolls approximately 8,000 students from Hampden, Silver Spring, Monroe, and Middlesex Townships. The facilities include seven elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school.
East Pennsboro Area School District has 4 public schools – two elementary schools, a middle school, and a high school – serving approximately 2,405 students. The school district serves East Pennsboro Township, including the villages of Enola, Summerdale, and West Fairview.
Eight schools serve approximately 4,300 students in the Mechanicsburg Area School District: Kindergarten Academy, Elmwood Academy, 4 elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. The district encompasses 16.1 square miles, including Mechanicsburg and Shiremanstown boroughs and Upper Allen Township.
The Shippensburg Area School District covers 129 square miles and serves approximately 3,500 students in grades K-12. It operates 5 education facilities organized by K-3 grade, 4 & 5 grades, 6-8 grades, and 9-12 grades. The district and Shippensburg University jointly operate the Grace B. Luhrs University Elementary School, a K-5 elementary school on the campus of Shippensburg University.
South Middleton School District's approximately 2,252 students in kindergarten through grade twelve attend classes in four buildings. Students in K-grade 3 attend W.G. Rice Elementary School; students in grades 4 & 5 attend classes at the Iron Forge Educational Center; students in grades 6-8 attend the Yellow Breeches Middle School; and students in grades 9-12 attend the Boiling Springs High School. Geographically, the School District is contained within a single municipality, South Middleton Township. The Township covers 51.5 square miles and is home to approximately 12,939 residents, concentrated in a suburban-rural setting.
The West Shore School District, located between Harrisburg and York in southcentral Pennsylvania, has eight elementary schools, three middle schools, two high schools, and a virtual learning academy, serving more than 7,500 students.
Cumberland Valley is also by the Capital Area Intermediate Unit in Summerdale and the Cumberland Perry Area Career & Technical Center in Mechanicsburg.
The resources below provide helpful area information.
The yearly Welcome to Cumberland Valley guide published by The Sentinel, Cumberland Valley's local independent newspaper, includes governing bodies across the county, with address, website, school district, and real estate tax information for boroughs and townships; school districts throughout the county, including enrollment and tax rate; higher education opportunities, including enrollment and tuition; private schools; urgent care centers; police and EMS; and more.
The Carlisle Area Chamber of Commerce's online directory includes extensive relocation information.
Access the Cumberland County site to learn more about local government services.