A few years ago, we took a look at how the Lancaster County, Pennsylvania area—our home here at Explore Retirement Living—is growing and changing. The good news story back in 2017 was that steady population growth in both Downtown Lancaster, as well as the surrounding towns and municipalities within the county’s borders, was creating an increase in opportunities for people of all ages.
More jobs, even better access to high-quality healthcare resources, and positive effects on other crucial quality of life indicators were becoming reality—and still are.
Steady Growth, a Little Slower Than Before
But, growth is also challenging and can be a bit unpredictable, too. Since our last report, local population growth has slowed a bit. Lancaster County is still the 13th fastest growing county in PA (out of 67 in total), but its progress toward the population mark of 550,000 residents may now not likely occur until 2021. The county’s total population grew to 543,557 people by the end of 2018.
Despite the slight dip in growth numbers—which only represents about a 0.2 percent decline between 2017 and 2018—Lancaster has won a number of awards since we last checked in. This proves that quality continues to drive our local culture regardless of just how fast we’re growing.
Let’s take a closer look at how Lancaster continues to grow and change as we move into the 2020s.
Big Changes Continue in Downtown Lancaster
There’s no doubt that if you’ve been living in the Lancaster area for more than a decade already, you’ve seen some changes. A lot of changes. Downtown Lancaster has gone through a massive revitalization with the addition of many new businesses and restaurants with each new year that passed in the 2010s.
More recently, some large buildings that had been sitting mostly idle for years, like the former Stahr Armory and the Bulova building—both on North Queen Street a few blocks apart—are finding new life thanks to significant developer investment. (The Stahr Armory is now Decades bowling alley and amusement center and the Bulova building is part of a more extensive revitalization of the former Lancaster Square that encompasses several buildings and organizations.)
With all of these changes, as well as and the continual improvement of neighborhoods and city streets with features like new bike lanes and intentional beautification projects, Lancaster has practically been reborn in just the last ten years.
Lancaster is an Award-Winning Community
National organizations and media outlets have begun paying attention, heaping awards and accolades on our hometown:
- In late 2018, U.S. News and World Report named Lancaster the Best Place to Retire in the USA for 2019. We remain in the top 3 for 2020.
- Also in late 2018, Lancaster became one of the first cities in the world to earn a Gold certification through the LEED for Cities program.
- Lancaster was recently designated as an Age-Friendly City by AARP, too.
In summary, the City of Lancaster is on the move, and improvements show no sign of slowing down, even if the regional population is growing a bit more slowly. Simply visit established gems, like the bustling Central Market—which just completed a historically accurate roof replacement project—and you’ll get a sense of how vibrant our hometown has become.
Lancaster County is Adapting to Meet Growth Demands
Robust growth does come with some “growing pains,” of course. Some worry that the growth seen so far could be detrimental to the image of Lancaster County if it continues. Many individuals are concerned that the sweeping farmlands and open spaces we cherish here will eventually be totally eaten up by development.
However, thanks to the excellent work of agencies like the Lancaster County Planning Commission, thoughtful and intentional conservation is at the heart of growing Lancaster County without sacrificing its unique character.
Several organizations, such as the Lancaster Farmland Trust and the Lancaster Conservancy, are dedicated to preserving thousands of acres of land around us to help keep development contained to areas where it makes the most sense. And this approach helps to keep one of our most important industries—agriculture—in good health for the future.
Discover Why Lancaster is Such an Excellent Place to Live and Grow
If you’re looking for a new place to call home in retirement, you owe it to yourself to visit Lancaster and see for yourself why our community continues to grow and draw new residents of all ages.
Or, if you’ve lived in the area for decades already, you may not realize how many fantastic active senior living communities are just beyond your front door! Get in touch with us here at Explore Retirement Living to learn more.