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Lancaster County, Pennsylvania

Lancaster County is a county located in the south central portion of the U.S. State of Pennsylvania in the Susquehanna Valley. As of 2000, the population is 470,658. The area is most famous for its farmland and the Amish.

The land is mostly flat, lending itself to farming. The farmland of Lancaster County is considered to be among the most fertile non-irrigated farmland in the world. Popular crops include tobacco, soybeans, and maize. There are a large number of dairy and chicken farms as well.

Table of contents
1 General Information
2 History
3 Law and Government
4 Geography
5 Demographics
6 Economy
7 Covered bridges
8 Cities and Towns

General Information


The land, part of
William Penn's charter, was first settled in 1718. It was part of Chester County, Pennsylvania until 1729 when it became the fourth county in the state. Lancaster is named after Lancashire, England, the native home of one of the early settlers named John Wright.

Law and Government

The county seat for the county is Lancaster.


Lancaster County is bounded in the northwest by Dauphin County and Lebanon County, in the northeast by Berks County, in the southeast by Chester County and in the southwest by York County. In the south it is bounded by Cecil County, Maryland at the Mason-Dixon line.

The county has a total area of 2,548 km2 (984 mi2). 2,458 km2 (949 mi2) of it is land and 90 km2 (35 mi2) of it is water. The total area is 3.53% water.


As of 2000, there are 470,658 people, 172,560 households, and 124,070 families residing in the county. The population density is 191/km2 (496/mi2). There are 179,990 housing units at an average density of 73 persons/km2 (190 persons/mi2). The racial makeup of the county is 91.46% White, 2.76% African American, 0.14% Native American, 1.45% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.90% from other races, and 1.25% from two or more races. 5.68% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. There is a traditionally large Christian population. The Mennonites and Amish are the most well-known in the county. There is thus a large Pennsylvania Dutch population.

There are 172,560 households out of which 33.70% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.90% are married couples living together, 8.60% have a woman whose husband does not live with her, and 28.10% are non-families. 23.10% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.30% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.64 and the average family size is 3.14.

In the county, the population is spread out with 26.60% under the age of 18, 9.20% from 18 to 24, 28.30% from 25 to 44, 21.90% from 45 to 64, and 14.00% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 95.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 91.60 males.


Agriculture is a very crucial part of the economy. The land in the county is considered to be among the best non-irrigated farmland in the world. Farming plays a large role in the economy even though the number of farms is decreasing due to the population growth. In general, the area has a lower unemployment rate than the national average.

Covered bridges

Cities and Towns

* This is not a state township, borough or CDP. It is officially in the jurisdiction of another township or borough on the list.

See also: List of Pennsylvania counties