Are you thinking of moving to Lancaster? This charter city in Antelope Valley is part of a twin city complex that also includes Palmdale. As one of the principal cities within the region, Lancaster attracts many people and could be right for you. So, what’re the pros and cons of living in Lancaster?
When choosing where to live, people look for several qualities. Many of these qualities, such as cost of living, affordable housing, proximity, and several attractions, are in Lancaster. But the city has drawbacks too. They include crime rate, extreme weather, unemployment and poverty, and stress.
Regardless of its drawbacks, you can’t ignore the livability qualities present here. So, it’s always up to you to decide whether it’s right for you or not. Here, we look at the pros and cons of living in Lancaster to help you come to that decision.
Pros of living in Lancaster
There are several advantages to living in a place like Lancaster. They include
1. Low Cost of Living
When living in Lancaster, California, you don’t have to worry too much about affordability. This is one of the cheapest cities to live in California, and with an average salary, you can meet your essential expenses. The cost of living is only 12.7% above the national average. For someone moving from another state where things are cheaper, this might seem like a lot.
But the California average is 49.9% higher, and there are cities in the state where the cost of living is more than 100% above the national average. Once you consider this, you see how cheap this city is. Grocery and healthcare are more affordable here than the national average. But, utilities, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses cost more here.
2. Housing is Cheaper
Getting an affordable house in California can be difficult. Homes in the state are very pricey and well outside the price range of most people. The average price of a home in California is $700,828. Fortunately, there are cities where the cost of houses remains relatively affordable. Lancaster is one of those hidden gems.
The average price of a home in the city is $400,529. Even though that is still above the national average of $298,933, it’s still low enough to be very affordable. So, if you’re looking to buy a house in California, this might be the right place for you. The cost of rent is also lower here than the California average. So even if you’re renting an apartment, you’ll still get it for a lower amount.
3. Proximity to Bigger Cities
Lancaster isn’t a city in the wilderness. While it’s quiet and laid-back, the city is close to bigger cities such as Los Angeles and Anaheim, less than 2 hours away. San Diego is farther away, but you can get there within three hours. Thus, if you get bored of this city’s laidback and suburban lifestyle, you can go for a day trip to the major neighboring cities.
4. Several Attractions for Residents
Lancaster might be a suburban city, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. The city is well known for its Red Poppy Festival that attracts thousands of people from all over the country. The Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve is perhaps the biggest attraction in the city. Other places include the Museum of Art and History, Prime Desert Woodland Preserve, Saddleback Butte State Park, Lancaster Performing Arts Center, Antelope Valley Indian Museum State Historic Park, Civic Musical Road, etc.
Lancaster isn’t that perfect city where everything goes right. This suburban city has several problems that residents deal with. Moving here means you have to face issues such as.
1. High Crime Rate
The rate of crime in this city is one of the issues that might discourage anyone from moving there. Even though many cities in California have a high crime rate, Lancaster is still 7% higher than the California average. It’s also above the national average by 19%. But not to worry, your property isn’t at any higher risk here. Property crime rates are the same as the national average.
However, violent crimes are quite common in this area. The rate is 125% above the national average. In this city, the chance of becoming a crime victim is 1 in 34. Despite all these, the city is still safer than 9% of cities in the US, which means it’s not as bad as they make it to be. The crime rate has been reducing over the years.
2. Extreme Weather Conditions
It’s common knowledge that California has excellent weather. In Lancaster, the weather is quite remarkable to a large extent too. But unlike cities with a Mediterranean climate where every time of the year is warm and mild, Lancaster has a semi-arid climate with extremes. The summer is usually sweltering, with the temperature going past 100 degrees during the hottest months. This can be very uncomfortable.
Unlike most cities in California, where the winters only bring rain, winters in Lancaster come with snow, even though it’s in small quantities. The city sees about 0.5 inches of snow annually, and winds are usually present throughout the year. This means the weather can be a little cooler than most places in California during the winter. However, despite the extremities of the weather, it’s still quite comfortable and has a comfort index rating of 8/10.
3. Most Stressful City in California
According to a study, Lancaster is the most stressful city to live in California. The study based the decision on a set of criteria. Using these standards, Lancaster emerged as the number 1 out of 20 cities in the state.
The criteria include the chances of being a victim of a violent crime, the commute time, average weekly work hours, divorcees percentage, and percentage of income that goes to housing. Lancaster is the most stressful considering all these criteria because of its high divorce rates, long commute, and long work hours.
However, residents spend a lesser part of their income on housing, and the odds of becoming a violent crime victim are lower here. So, while it might be the most stressful, you can still enjoy your time in this city.
4. High Unemployment and Poverty Rate
The rate of employment in the city is relatively high compared to the national average. For example, in July 2021, the unemployment rate was 13.30%, much higher than the national rate of 5.4% for the same month.
The effect of this unemployment coupled with the city’s low income per capita means that the poverty rate is a little high. Its poverty rate of 23.8% is substantially higher than the national average of 10.5%.
The suburban city of Lancaster is a beautiful city with access to nature. Several qualities make it a great place to live, but some downsides will make you reconsider that decision. It’s up to you to see if it fits what you want when looking for a residential community.