Community






Community indicators cover a broad range of measures of what makes a region and community appealing to live in, including civic participation such as charitable giving and voting, crime and incarceration rates, population density, air and water quality, and the quality of housing. Compared to its peer counties and the state and nation, Lancaster is stronger in charitable giving, and has generally lower violent crime and incarceration rates. However, Lancaster has higher rates of air and water pollution and greater racial disparities in incarceration than many of its peer counties.

Charitable giving is comparatively strong in Lancaster County. In 2018, the average charitable contribution in Lancaster County was $15,882, above the average for Pennsylvania ($11,161) and the U.S. ($13,230), and higher than in any surrounding county.

Voter registration in Lancaster is below average, In 2019, 78% of voting-age Lancaster County residents were registered to vote, below the overall Pennsylvania rate (84%), the rates of several neighboring counties (Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin and Yorks), and unchanged since 2000. However, registered voter participation is about average: in 2018, 49% of voting-age people in Lancaster County cast votes in the election, identical to the statewide rate of 49%. During the 2016 presidential election, voter participation in Lancaster was above the U.S. rate, at 59%, and just under the statewide rate of 60%.

The age of housing stock in an area gives an indication of supply, demand, local construction levels, and the overall quality of housing available. On average, Lancaster County has newer housing stock than the state, but older stock than the nation. Fifteen percent of Lancaster County’s housing stock has been constructed since the 2000s. This is above the Pennsylvania level of 10%, but below the nation at 18%. By contrast, 22% of Lancaster County’s housing stock was constructed before the 1940s. This is below Pennsylvania’s 26%, but above the nation’s 13%.

Lancaster County had a 2019 population density of 578 people per square mile, above the Pennsylvania level of 286 and the U.S. level of 93. Of surrounding counties, Lancaster has the second highest population density, behind Chester (699). Parts of the county differ dramatically in population density. In the City of Lancaster, the density is 8,200 people per square mile.

In comparison to peer counties and the state, Lancaster has more challenges to air and water quality. In 2019, 65% of days in Lancaster were healthy air days, slightly above 64% in 2000. The year with the fewest healthy air days was 2014, at 34%. Lancaster lags behind its peer counties in air quality: in 2019, peers had between 73%-82% of their days be healthy air days. The air quality of York, Lebanon, Dauphin, Cumberland and Berks have all increased by significant amounts since 2000.

Lancaster has higher rates of stream pollution than the state as a whole and most neighboring counties. In 2020, 65% of Lancaster’s streams were pollution-impaired for aquatic life, 3.9% were impaired for fish consumption, 57% were impaired for recreation and 0.9% were impaired for water supply. This is significantly above state rates of 21% for aquatic life, 3.3% for fish consumption, 12% for recreation, and 0.1% for water supply.

Lancaster’s average water use is below its peers: at a daily average of 29 gallons per person, Lancaster County used less water per capita in 2015 than the state, overall, which had a rate of 41 gallons per capita, and also less water than all comparison counties. This is also well below the national rate of 72 gallons per capita, daily.

Lancaster sees less violent crime and incarceration than the state and neighboring counties. In 2018, there were 1.8 violent crimes reported per 1,000 residents in Lancaster County, lower than the Pennsylvania (3.1) and national (3.7) rates, and fairly stable since 2005. In 2017, the average Lancaster County jail population was 1.6 county jail inmates per 1,000 residents, down 25% from 2006. This was below the 2.6 incarceration rate of Pennsylvania as a whole and lower than most neighboring counties.

Despite its lower rates, racial disparities in incarceration are evident in Lancaster. In 2015, the latest year for which data is available, African Americans in Lancaster were incarcerated at a rate of 141 persons per 10,000 residents, more than seven and a half times the rate of 18 per 10,000 for white residents. Latinos, at 63 per 10,000 residents, were incarcerated at nearly three and a half times the rate of white residents. This is greater than the overall disparities in Pennsylvania, where African Americans are incarcerated at more than five and a half times the rate of whites and Latinos at 2.7 times the rate of whites. While such disparities are repeated in all surrounding counties, all of them have lesser disparities than Lancaster, with the exception of Chester.





INDICATORS TREND
Prekindergarten Participation Increasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 English Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 Math Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 English Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math Not Applicable
Student Performance in Grade 11 English Not Applicable
Student Performance in Grade 11 Math Decreasing
Per-Student Spending Maintaining
Students Receiving Special Education Services Increasing
Rate of Foster Care Admissions Maintaining
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Plans of High School Graduates Not Applicable
Enrollment in Local Colleges Decreasing
College Graduation Rates Decreasing
Brain Drain/Gain Increasing
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Average Charitable Giving Maintaining
Voter Registration Rate Not Applicable
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Age of Housing Stock Not Applicable
Violent Crime Rate Maintaining
Incarceration Rate Maintaining
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Population Density Increasing
Air Quality Increasing
Water Use Decreasing
Waterways Impaired by Pollution Not Applicable
Population by Age Not Applicable
Change in Population by Age and Gender Not Applicable
Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People with Disabilities Increasing
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Change in Employment by Sector Not Applicable
Sector Share of Total Jobs Not Applicable
Workers by Occupation Not Applicable
Change in Labor Force Maintaining
People Entering/Leaving County/Region for Work Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary Since 2000 Increasing
Female to Male Earnings Ratio Maintaining
Employer Size Not Applicable
Change in Number of Businesses by Sector Increasing
Change in Total Agricultural Sales Increasing
Spending for Local Government Maintaining
Spending for School Districts Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Increasing
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Veterans Living in Poverty Decreasing
Working Poor Maintaining
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance Increasing
Students Eligible for Free/Reduced Price Lunch Increasing
Median Home Value Maintaining
Occupied Housing Units Decreasing
Homeownership Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Rent Maintaining
Cost of Renting Increasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Health Status Maintaining
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Adults Who are Overweight or Obese Not Applicable
Mortality Rates Decreasing
Fatal Drug Overdoses Increasing
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
High-Tech Jobs Increasing
STEM Graduates Increasing
Science and Engineering Research and Development Maintaining
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Incarceration Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Households Receiving SNAP by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rate, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable


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