Lancaster is a city located in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. Lancaster has a 2023 population of 57,088. It is also the county seat of Lancaster County.Lancaster is currently declining at a rate of -0.36% annually and its population has decreased by -1.08% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 57,712 in 2020.
The average household income in Lancaster is $67,836 with a poverty rate of 19.15%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to - per month, and the median house value is -. The median age in Lancaster is 32.3 years, 32 years for males, and 32.5 years for females.
Lancaster is the county seat of Lancaster County and is one of the oldest cities in the country. Lancaster once served as the capital of Pennsylvania. It was also once the capital of the United States. However, it only held this role for one day.
The largest ethnic group residing within Lancaster is Puerto Ricans, making up 29.2% of the population. Germans, Black Americans, Irish and English are also significant ethnic groups living in this Pennsylvania City.
Its concentration of Puerto Rican residents is the second largest in the state, falling only behind Reading. There is also a large Amish community in Lancaster.
Over 900 children in Lancaster are listed as homeless according to public school records, and the poverty rate is twice that of Pennsylvania’s state average. Lancaster General Hospital is the city’s top employer, giving jobs to over 7,000 people. RR Donnelley, County of Lancaster, Armstrong World Industries, and the School District of Lancaster are other top employers in the region.
Lancaster, for the most part, has seen significant growth throughout its history. However, during the 1950s through 1980s, the city’s population dropped. Recent revitalization efforts have once again put the community on an upward trend. The city’s population peaked at the time of the 1950 census at 63,774. Today, the population is estimated to be over 59,000. Though it has remained about the same as it was during the 2010 census, continued efforts to revitalize the city could lead to significant growth in the future.
The city that is now Lancaster was once named Hickory Town. However, it was renamed to Lancaster after the English city. James Hamilton laid out the plans for the city in the 1730s, and in the next decade, it was incorporated as a borough. In 1777, Lancaster was designated as the capital of the United States. However, it was moved to York, Pennsylvania. The city also was the state capital from 1799 through 1812 before Harrisburg was designated as the new capital city.
Lancaster was officially incorporated as a city in 1818. The city through the 19th century continued to grow. Part of the first paved road in the country was located in Lancaster. The county prison, which is still in use today was also built during the 1800s. As the city grew, so did its population, and Lancaster was home to many prominent people, including James Buchanan. Buchanan’s estate, Wheatland, is a top tourist destination in Lancaster to this day.
Lancaster was an iron-foundry enter following the American Revolution. Many items were manufacturers here, including wagons and rifles. Toward the end of the 19th century, the first “five and dime” store was opened in Lancaster by Franklin Winfield Woolworth. During the 20th century, a US Navy research, development and manufacturing center was opened. It is no longer in use by the United States government today, but the facility has since become the site of RCA and later, Burle Industries.
In the 21st century, Gallery Row was established and today, the city has a thriving art community. In 2010, Lancaster began revitalizing its downtown and surrounding areas with shops, clubs, bars, and restaurants. Lancaster is also home to Central Market, the oldest farmers market in the country, as well as Park City Center, the largest indoor shopping mall in the South Central region of the state.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Lancaster was:
Black or African American
Two or more races
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
Average Family Size
Average Household Size
Rate of Home Ownership
Less Than 9th Grade
9th to 12th Grade
High School Graduate
High School Graduation Rate
The highest rate of high school graduation is among islander people with a rate of 81.93%.
The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among white people with a rate of 32.25%.
Other Indo-European Languages
Asian and Pacific Island Languages
65.68% of Lancaster residents speak only English, while 34.32% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 28.47% of the population.
Overall Poverty Rate
Male Poverty Rate
Female Poverty Rate
The race most likely to be in poverty in Lancaster is Multiple, with 38.35% below the poverty level.
The race least likely to be in poverty in Lancaster is White, with 11.76% below the poverty level.
The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 5.31%. Among those working part-time, it was 17.62%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 37.43%.
Overall Marriage Rate
Male Marriage Rate
Female Marriage Rate
The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 45-54.
Second Gulf War
First Gulf War
World War II
Less Than 9th Grade
High School Graduate
Bachelors or Greater
Veteran Poverty Rate
Veteran Disability Rate
Labor Force Participation
Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.
Born in Lancaster
88.07% of Lancaster residents were born in the United States, with 57.38% having been born in Pennsylvania. 6.07% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.