Lancaster : Pennsylvania

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What it's Like to Retire in Lancaster

Lancaster, population 55,000, is the capital of Lancaster County in south-central Pennsylvania.  Located in Pennsylvania Dutch country, it has pretty scenery. It is home to the private Franklin and Marshall College. The town has a long and important history - Conestoga wagons and the Pennsylvania long rifle were both made here. President James Buchanan hailed from Lancaster, as did Thaddeus Stevens. Woolworth's, the first successful five and dime store, opened in Lancaster. Lancaster General Hospital and Franklin & Marshall are engaged in the Northwest Gateway Project, a $73 million conversion of a former Armstrong  industrial plant into an exciting and major expansion of their campuses. Photo of Duke Street courtesy of and per license of Wikipedia and Scanlan.

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Where to Retire in Lancaster and Home Prices

You can live in town or in one of the active adult or CCRCs in the area (see link at right).
Zillow pegged the median value of a home to be about $115,100 in late 2016.


What is special about Lancaster

Lancaster has a rich history. It is also a college town in a pretty part of Pennsylvania Dutch country.  The Central Market is the oldest farmers market in the country and a big tourist attraction because of the Amish goods offered for sale there. Many cultural institutions. Renovating the downtown area.

What is not special about Lancaster

There is a troubled history of drug deals gone bad and a resultant high crime rate. The city has had its ups and downs, including the current high unemployment rate.

Who will like retirement in Lancaster

Pennsylvanians who want to escape the city and live in a college town might like Lancaster. The community is very walkable.


Local economy is driven by

Being the county seat, center of the local commercial area, and home to Franklin & Marshall drive the local economy. Park City Center is a very large enclosed shopping mall with over 150 stores.

Climate and Physical Environment

Lancaster is in the rolling terrain of south central Pennsylvania. The average July high is 85. The average Jan low is 21. The wettest month is September (4.5").

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The Fulton Opera House is the oldest continuously operated theatre in the country, one of only three theatres designated as National Historic Landmarks. There are several art museums including the Demuth Museum and two others on the campus of Franklin & Marshall. There is an arboretum, James Buchanan's home, and a proposed museum for Thaddeus Stevens.


The crime rate is well above average.

Medical facilities

Lancaster has several hospitals including Lancaster General and Community Hospital.


Red Rose Transit Authority provides local bus service. Amtrak has a station in Lancaster, and there is also the Lancaster Airport.

Valuable Links

Wikipedia information on Lancaster
Pennsylvania Dutch Visitors Center
Mini-guide to Pennsylvania Retirement


What people are saying about Lancaster

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Facts about LANCASTER
  • State: PA
  • Environment: College Town,
  • City Population: 50,001-100,000
  • Median age of Population: 25-44
  • Avg Jan Temperature: 21-40
  • Avg July Temperature: 60-80
  • Median HH Income: 20,001-40,000
  • Average Home Price (MLS): $100,000-$200,000
  • Annual Property Tax on a $200,000 house: 2000-4000
  • Total Crime Index: 111-120 (high)
  • Cost of Living Index: 91-100 (slightly below average)
  • Culture Index: 101-110 (slightly above average)
  • State Sales Tax: Yes
  • State Income Tax: Yes
  • Name of the Guide: boomer1

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1. Rating: 3.0/5 ( 2 votes cast)

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6. Rating: 1.7/5 ( 3 votes cast)

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10. Rating: 2.0/5 ( 3 votes cast)


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