Popularly called “The Immigrant City” since its foundation in the 1840’s, Lawrence has undergone significant demographic change during the last 40 years. The following statistics offer a concise sketch of Lawrence today:
- Lawrence has a population of 75,919 people.
- 46.3% of Lawrence’s residents are naturalized United States citizens. Of the 53.7% of people who are not, 7.5% entered the country in 2010 or after; 98.5% entered the country before 2010.
- 73.8% of Lawrence’s population is Hispanic or Latino.
- Among people at least five years old, 75.6% speak a language other than English at home.
- 61.6% of households with children under 18 years of age are headed by individuals with no spouse present.
- Lawrence has an average per capita income of $22,604 – only 60.9% of the statewide average per capita income of $37,091.
- The median household income in Lawrence is $32,851 – 38.6% percent of the average statewide median household income of $84,900.
- The unemployment rate in Lawrence is consistently near the highest in the state of Massachusetts.
- Of Lawrence’s people, 29.2% live below the poverty line, compared with 11.4% of the statewide population.
- An overwhelming 39 percent of children under age 18 in Lawrence live in households below the poverty line, as compared to 14.9% of children under age 18 statewide.
- In 2013, a staggering 62.2% of the babies born in Lawrence were born to unmarried mothers, as compared to 30.5% of babies statewide.
- Lawrence’s teen birth rate in 2013 was 41 births per 1,000 females aged 15-19, as compared to the statewide average of 11 births per 1,000 females aged 15-19.
- 79% of Lawrence’s women who gave birth in 2013 relied on public payment for prenatal care, as compared to 36% of women statewide.
Given these realities, it is not surprising that the people of Lawrence contend with a wide range of social problems, including violent crime, the presence of gangs, the widespread sale and use of illegal drugs, prostitution, domestic violence, physical hunger (approximately 75% of the city’s school-age children qualify for government-subsidized food programs), and one of the highest percentages of obese and overweight children in Massachusetts (45%). Perhaps because Lawrence is geographically small (nearly 76,000 people crowded into 6.93 square miles of land), these social problems contribute to a daily sense of fear for many people.
Sources: United States Census 2010, American Community Survey 2008-2013, United States Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013, Massachusetts Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development Department of Unemployment Assistance 2015, Massachusetts Department of Public Health 2013, Massachusetts Department of Education 2012, Lawrence Public Schools 2012.