Lancaster is a city located in Pennsylvania. With a 2020 population of 59,392, it is the 8th largest city in Pennsylvania and the 651st largest city in the United States. Lancaster is currently declining at a rate of -0.02% annually but its population has increased by 0.12% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 59,322 in 2010. Lancaster reached it's highest population of 63,774 in 1950. Spanning over 7 miles, Lancaster has a population density of 8,218 people per square mile.
The average household income in Lancaster is $56,024 with a poverty rate of 24.83%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to $834 per month, and the median house value is $111,800. The median age in Lancaster is 32.1 years, 31.3 years for males, and 33 years for females. For every 100 females there are 101.4 males.
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.
Lancaster Diversity and Population Statistics
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 Population Growth
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.