Lancaster County’s Racial Equity Profile – A Call To Action
Our Lancaster County community is extraordinary in many ways. We have thriving towns that attract visitors from around the globe. We have picturesque farmland with some of the world’s most fertile soil. It is not uncommon to read about Lancaster as “the best place to live,” and the “top spot to retire.”
However, when we dig a little deeper we find a less-than-comfortable truth. The experience of living in Lancaster is not one of equal opportunity for all, and those disparities have been clearly illustrated in Lancaster County’s first Racial Equity Profile.
For example, the data indicates that Black or Latinx members of our community are
- twice more likely to be unemployed than white residents.
- earning less than their white coworkers despite an equal level of education.
- experiencing childhood poverty at more than triple the rate of white children.
Lancaster County’s Racial Equity Profile is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania. A coalition of local civic organizations, including Lancaster County Community Foundation, supported a partnership with PolicyLink to lead the collection of primary-source data and experiences from throughout the county.
Having fair access to resources and opportunities is the keystone of a prosperous community. Now, for the first time, Lancaster County has data to back up what so many in our community have already known and experienced first-hand.
This data is a call to action. Information, in and of itself, is not a solution. But it can be used to inform our choices, plans and activities. The Racial Equity Profile can help changemakers identify gaps and disparities in resources while suggesting a framework for developing and improving policies.
One slice of data confirms that Lancaster County is in the midst of a demographic shift. According to recently collected data, the proportion of the population who are people of color and immigrants will continue to steadily rise and drive growth in the county. By 2050, the Latinx population will increase from 11% to 20%, and the Black population from 4% to 6% of our total population. As our community becomes more diverse, we must address racial inequity in our policies and practices to create an environment where we all have the opportunity to thrive.
The profile is a benchmark of data that shows us where our county currently stands using seven key indicators: Demographics, Economic Vitality, Youth Preparedness, Connectedness, Health, Justice, and Economic Benefits of Equity. The goal is to provide a resource that guides local leaders, voters, elected officials, community benefit organizations, philanthropic institutions, and businesses toward collaborative solutions for a more equitable future. The public can access both the summary and a full-length 97-page report for free.
We know that enduring, meaningful change requires intentionality and time, so we are asking ourselves how we can use what we know about our community today to help shape our community for tomorrow.
The Community Foundation’s role is to embolden extraordinary community. We believe that Lancaster County can only be extraordinary if all individuals are valued, supported, and feel that they belong. We fully embrace the data presented in the Racial Equity Profile and are weaving what we’ve learned into our daily work and organizational strategy. From the grants we award to the free resources we make available, from giving opportunities to learning opportunities, from amplifying the voices of community advocates to collaborating with emerging leaders, we commit to doing our part to lay the groundwork today for a more equitable tomorrow.
We invite you to join us.