Lawrence is the county seat of Douglas County and sixth-largest city in Kansas. It is in the northeastern sector of the state, astride Interstate 70, between the Kansas and Wakarusa Rivers. As of the 2010 census, the city’s population was 87,643; by 2017 the estimated population had risen to 96,892. Lawrence is a college town and the home to both the University of Kansas and Haskell Indian Nations University.
Downtown Lawrence is located at 38°58′18″N 95°14′7″W / 38.97167°N 95.23528°W / 38.97167; -95.23528 (38.959902, −95.253199), approximately 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Topeka, and 35 mi (56 km) west of Kansas City, Kansas. Though Lawrence has a designated elevation of 866 feet (264 m), the highest elevation is Mount Oread on the University of Kansas campus with an elevation of 1,020 feet (310 m).
The city lies on the southern edge of the Dissected Till Plains, bordering the Osage Plains to the south. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 34.26 square miles (88.73 km), of which, 33.56 square miles (86.92 km) is land and 0.70 square miles (1.81 km) is water, and is split between Wakarusa Township and Grant Township with small portions in Lecompton, Kanwaka and Clinton Townships.
Lawrence is located between the Kansas and Wakarusa Rivers. Several major creeks flow through Lawrence. Burroughs Creek in East Lawrence (named after the writer William S. Burroughs, who retired in East Lawrence) and Baldwin Creek in northwestern Lawrence empty into the Kansas River. Yankee Tank Creek in southwest Lawrence and an unnamed creek that flows through central Lawrence converge with the Wakarusa River south of the city. Yankee Tank Creek is dammed to form Lake Alvamar, which was originally called Yankee Tank Lake. The Wakarusa River was dammed to form Clinton Lake. Potter Lake is on the University of Kansas Campus and Mary’s Lake is located in southeastern Lawrence within Prairie Park. The Haskell-Baker Wetlands, maintained by Haskell University and Baker University, is an extensive open space located in the southern part of the city that features wetlands, native plants, hiking and biking trails, and interpretative signage about the prairie and wetland ecosystems.
Lawrence has 54 parks which include community and neighborhood parks, trails, cemeteries and nature preserves. A new, multi-use trail system called the Lawrence Loop (“the Loop”) encircles the city and, when fully completed, will create a 22-mile paved recreational trail, a green transportation network, and multiple opportunities for environmental restoration. Community parks include South Park, Buford Watson Park, Broken Arrow Park, Riverfront Park, Holcomb Park, “Dad” Perry Park, Centennial Park and Prairie Park. Cemeteries include Oak Hill, Maple Grove and Memorial Park. The first cemetery in Lawrence, Pioneer Cemetery, is on the University of Kansas campus and is maintained by KU.
The city’s planning and urban development department estimates that the city reached 100,000 people in early 2018.
As of the census of 2010, there were 87,643 people, 34,970 households, and 16,939 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,611.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,008.3/km). There were 37,502 housing units at an average density of 1,117.5 per square mile (431.5/km). The racial makeup of the city was 82.0% White, 4.7% African American, 3.1% Native American, 4.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 1.5% from other races, and 4.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.7% of the population.
There were 34,970 households of which 24.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.6% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 51.6% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.91.
In the city, the population was spread out with 17.5% of residents under the age of 18; 28.7% of residents between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.4% from 25 to 44; 18.5% from 45 to 64; and 8% were 65 years of age or older. The median age in the city was 26.7 years. The gender makeup of the city was 50.2% male and 49.8% female.
As of 2010 the median income for a household was $41,290, and the median income for a family was $65,673. Males had a median income of $42,362 versus $34,124 for females. The per capita income for the city was $23,666. About 10.7% of families and 23.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.2% of those under age 18 and 7.1% of those age 65 or over.
As of the census of 2000, there were 80,098 people, 31,388 households, and 15,725 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,849.4 people per square mile (1,100.2/km). There were 32,761 housing units at an average density of 1,165.4 per square mile (450.0/km). The racial makeup of the city was 83.80% White, 5.09% African American, 2.93% Native American, 3.78% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 1.36% from other races, and 2.97% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.65% of the population. 23.8% were of German, 10.6% English, 10.1% Irish and 7.1% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 91.0% spoke English, 2.9% Spanish and 1.0% Chinese or Mandarin as their first language.
Of the 31,388 households, 25.1% included children under the age of 18, 38.0% were married couples living together, 8.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 49.9% were non-families. 30.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the city, the population was spread out with 18.6% under the age of 18, 30.7% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 15.1% from 45 to 64, and 7.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.2 males.
As of 2000 the median income for a household was $34,669, and the median income for a family was $51,545. Males had a median income of $33,481 versus $27,436 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,378. About 7.3% of families and 18.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.6% of those under age 18 and 7.7% of those age 65 or over. However, traditional statistics of income and poverty can be misleading when applied to cities with high student populations, such as Lawrence.