The REAL Lancaster from current resident (Part I)

Posted in the Lancaster Forum

Since: Sep 09

Lancaster, Texas

#1 Sep 8, 2009
I have read a lot of negative comments about the city of Lancaster and its residents on this site. I can't believe some of the things that are being said about the community that I call home. As a resident who knows this city very well, I want to debunk a few of the common things that are often said about Lancaster on this forum. I encourage all current Lancaster residents who are proud to live here to post here to counter the misinformation that is taking place.
Here are 10 facts (with sources) about the City of Lancaster:
FACT #1. Lancaster has a population of 36,200, up from 25,894 in 2000. That is a growth rate of 39.8 percent, one of the highest among suburbs in Dallas County. Only one city in the county with a larger population than Lancaster had a higher rate of growth Cedar Hill (42.1 percent). Source: 2009 North Central Texas Council of Governments Population estimates
REALITY: Lancaster's location and desirable, reasonably priced housing has continued to attract thousands of new residents despite the negative perceptions coming mostly from outside of the city itself. Today, the same new subdivisions constructed by well-known home builders in other area suburbs are now found throughout Lancaster Pleasant Run Estates, Millbrook East, Glendover Estates, Anderson Farms, Ames Meadow, Meadowview, Tribute at Mills Branch, Hearthstone, and so on and so on.
FACT #2. The percentage of Lancaster residents with college-degrees has risen from 18.9 percent in 2000 to 21.1 percent in 2007, one of the highest rates of growth in the DFW Metroplex. These figures rose in DeSoto and Cedar Hill and well, but fell slightly in Duncanville. Sources: Census 2000; 2005-2007 American Community Survey
FACT #3. Lancaster's per capita, median family, and median household incomes have all continued to rise since 2000. Sources: Census 2000; 2005-2007 American Community Survey
REALITY: With all the demographic changes that Lancaster has experienced, the people moving in tend to be better of economically than those moving out. There has been no large-scale "middle-class flight" in the city.
FACT #4. The 2007 median income for African American households in Lancaster was $54,869. For Whites, it was $50,507, and Hispanics $48,312. When home values are examined, the average Black-owned home in the city was worth $128,825, compared with $108,157 for Whites and $100,232 for Hispanics. Source: Lancaster, TX (Texas) Houses and Residents, City-Data.com
REALITY: The striking income disparities that are common in majority minority communites aren't true in Lancaster.
FACT #5. Only 1.2 percent of Lancaster households were on public assistance in 2007, a decrease from 2.4 percent in 2000. Sources: Census 2000; 2005-2007 American Community Survey
REALITY: The myth that Lancaster is just some big ghetto full of people living in section 8 housing and receiving welfare checks is untrue. As I resident, I have read this type of comment numerous times and it is the one that gets me the most angry. The numbers above show that Lancaster is in actuality a solidly middle-class suburb with hardworking people who do not depend on any type of government assistance.

FACTS 6-10 are CONTINUED in a second post.

Since: Sep 09

Lancaster, Texas

#2 Sep 8, 2009
FACT #6. According to the latest available crime statistics from the FBI, the following cities in the DFW Metropolitan Area had higher violent crime rates (per 100,000 population) than Lancaster in 2007: Dallas, Balch Springs, Addison, Terrell, Commerce, Arlington, Fort Worth, Kennedale and Royse City. Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 2007.

FACT #7. When it came to property crime rates, the following cities in the DFW Metropolitan Area had higher rates of property crime (per 100,000) population than Lancaster in 2007: Lake Worth, Arlington, Pantego, Dallas, Ferris, Balch Springs, Arlington, Lavon, Greenville, Terrell, Fort Worth, Haltom City, Ennis, and Hutchins. Source: FBI Uniform Crime Reports, 2007.

FACT #8. For the year 2009, Lancaster has reported no murders, while the following suburbs have: Little Elm, Plano (multiple), Carrollton, Euless, Garland, Arlington, etc. Sources: Local news sites; City Police Department statistical data.

REALITY (answers for facts 6,7 and 8): No community, regardless of location, size, income, or demographic makeup is immune to crime. Like many of the other suburbs, however, Lancaster and its residents are not accustomed to murders and widespread violence. In the twenty years that I have lived in the southern suburbs, I have never been a victim of crime, heard gunfire, or experienced open-air drug deals on the corner or gang violence things that go on and are associated with true "ghettos" across the country.

FACT #9. Lancaster has increased its sales tax revenues by 17.29% for the period January-August 2009, when compared with the same period in 2008. Many DFW cities have experienced significant declines during this time. A few examples are: Dallas (-8.83%), Fort Worth (-5.01%), Frisco (-4.72%), Plano (-13.54%), Grand Prairie (-5.70%), Cedar Hill (-4.52%), and Waxahachie (-6.99%). Source: Texas State Comptroller of Public Accounts

REALITY: Although the city is in need of more retail businesses, the one's that have set up shop in Lancaster continue to do well despite the current economic conditions. Businesses of all types continue to enter the Lancaster market.

FACT #10. Lancaster is one of the few suburban communities that share a common border with the city of Dallas that isn't built-out or mostly built out. In 2000, only 34.5 percent of the land within the city limits of Lancaster was developed. Even with all of the growth over the following years, that rate is only now above forty percent and will decrease again due to planned annexations, beginning in 2010. Source: North Central Texas Council of Governments Land Use Reports.

REALITY: Those who say that Lancaster is dying or in decline are writing a death certificate for a community that isn't even half developed. The combination of location and affordable, abundant land means that Lancaster has long-term growth potential.

I know that no matter what I nor any other Lancaster resident may say will change the false perceptions of some who are going to look down on the community no matter what. For those who are willing to listen, however, I just want to say that Lancaster is not all bad and there are many positives in living here. Put yourself in my shoes. If you knew what was being said about the place you have chosen to live, wouldn't you do the same to defend it, especially when the things being said are completely untrue?

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