Is Lake City, Florida A Good Place To Live?

Heather Robbins
by Heather Robbins

In 1821, Lake City was founded as the town of Alligator near the Seminole village. When Columbia County was established in 1832 from Duval and Alachua counties, Alligator became the county seat. Alligator was incorporated in 1858, and the town was called Lake City. The Engagement of Olustee, the greatest American Civil War battle in Florida, took place near here in 1864, and the Confederates triumphed.

Lake City is a great place to live if you’re looking to live somewhere with a reasonable cost of living, low rent, and plenty of outdoor activities to do. However, it does have a higher crime rate and a flawed healthcare system.

Because of its proximity to the convergence of Interstate 75 and Interstate 10, Lake City is nicknamed “The Gateway to Florida.” Some people think it’s the perfect place to live in Florida, while others would beg to differ. In this article, we will talk about several points so that you can decide if this is the best move for you and your family.

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What Is Lake City Like?

Lake City had a significant role in American Civil War history, and the town’s ancient homes and structures will offer you a flavor of Old Florida. It has a suburban feel to it, which might be appealing to families seeking more room and a decent place to raise their children than bigger, more densely populated cities.

Lake City is a tiny city in the state of Florida, situated in Columbia county. Over the last five years, Lake City has seen a steady increase in new inhabitants. It is one of the fastest expanding in the United States. Many young individuals and individuals seeking to establish a family live in the city.

Outdoor enthusiasts would love living in this beautiful city. You can kayak, fish, boat, walk, fish some more, and camp until you’ve completely lost yourself in nature. When you’ve gotten your fill of bugs and bees, take a shower and eat at places like Moe’s Southwest Grill and Phish Heads, both specializing in seafood.

Lake City Residents

Lake City, FL, had a population of 12,000 people in 2018, with a median age of 36.1 and a median family income of $38,544. Between 2017 and 2018, the population of Lake City, FL decreased by 0.465 percent, from 12,033 to 11,977, but the median household income increased by 6.65 percent, from $36,142 to $38,544.

White (Non-Hispanic) (52.6%), Black or African American (Non-Hispanic) (35.4%), White (Hispanic) (4.48%), Two+ (Non-Hispanic) (3.01%), and Asian (Non-Hispanic) (3.01%) are the top five ethnic groups in Lake City, FL (2.05 percent ). 0 percent of Lake City, FL households speak a non-English language as their primary language at home, while 97.2 percent of Lake City, FL people are citizens of the United States.

Is Lake City, Florida A Good Place To Live?

Lake City definitely has its bonuses for any of those who are thinking about moving there. Here are some of the reasons that residents move to this excellent location.

1. Lower Cost Of Living

The city’s median household income was $28,533, while the family’s median income was $39,133. Males had a median income of $31,261, while females had a median income of $27,656. The city’s per capita income was $18,083. Poverty affected 20.5 percent of the population and 17.4 percent of households. 25.9% of those under the age of 18 and 14.0 percent of those 65 and over were living in poverty out of the total population.

Florida has no state income tax, making it one of the most tax-friendly states in the nation! This implies that if you work in Florida, you will not have to pay any taxes other than federal income taxes on your paycheck. This will increase your take-home pay and provide you more money for the necessities of life.

There are no taxes on retirement or pension benefits in Florida, making it a particularly tax-friendly state for retirees. Florida, on the other hand, has a statewide sales tax of 6%. Food, medical supplies, and agricultural production materials are among the products exempt from the sales tax.

2. Low Rent

You won’t have to jump through a lot of hoops to locate a place to reside in this town. Whether you’re looking for rental homes or flats, landlords in this area are searching for the same thing: cash. You are very much a shoe-in if you show up looking nice and have references and evidence of income.

Be prepared to pay an additional deposit if your roommate has hair, claws, or a tail that never stops wagging. Many landlords accept dogs, but you’ll have to pay a monthly fee to keep Buster’s head above water.

Lake City’s average rent is $699. Depending on the location and size of the apartment, you can expect to pay as little as $524 or as much as $856 a month to rent an apartment in Lake City. A studio apartment in Lake City, FL costs $524 per month on average. In Lake City, FL, the average rent for a three-bedroom apartment is $856.

3. Lots Of Outdoor Activities

The city is undergoing a revitalization, and there are a few good restaurants as well as a locally owned brewery. A one-mile walking route around beautiful Lake DeSoto is also available downtown. Young children will love feeding the ducks that are constantly present along the lakeshore, so bring some duck food with you.

The 1,800-acre Alligator Lake Recreation Area is about 1.5 miles south of downtown. It may be the first opportunity for visitors to witness a real live Florida alligator, thanks to its eight-plus kilometers of walking pathways. The small lake, which is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, is an important migratory bird destination.


The Olustee Festival, held in mid-February, celebrates the Civil War Fight of Olustee, the greatest Civil War battle to have happened in Florida, with a re-enactment, as well as a Beer and Wine Festival in late March and the Alligator Lake Spring Festival in mid-April. The Alligator Lake Spring Festival honors the flora and animals of the area.

Visitors come to Lake City all year because of its natural beauty and outdoor activities. Outdoor enthusiasts, festival attendees, music fans, and those who simply want to spend some time in a calm, serene setting will find this beautiful section of Florida to be a natural theme park. Crystal-clear freshwater springs, exciting music festivals, history, culture, paddling, and bicycling can all be found in Lake City.

Cons Of Living In Lake City

Since we talked about the plus side of living in Lake City, it’s only right that we talk about the cons of living in Lake City as well. This will help you to see if the benefits outweigh the disadvantages so you can make the best decision for you and your family.

1. Job Market Is Tight

The unemployment rate in Lake City is 4.9 percent. The average in the United States is 6.0 percent. The job market in Lake City has grown by 0.2 percent in the last year. Future job growth is expected to be 30.5 percent during the next 10 years, which is lower than the US average of 33.5 percent.

Hunter Panels, New Millennium, and United States Cold Storage have all opened major plants in Lake City since 2000. In Lake City, Target opened its first company-owned and third-party-operated perishable food distribution hub in 2008.

2. High Crime Rate

Lake City has one of the worst crime rates in America, with a rate of 77 per 1,000 people, when compared to all communities of all sizes – from the tiniest villages to the greatest metropolis. There is a one in 13 risks of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime here. More than 99 percent of towns in Florida have a lower crime rate than Lake City.

We discovered that the violent crime rate in Lake City is among the highest in the country across all towns of all sizes (both large and small). Rape, murder and non-negligent manslaughter, armed robbery, and severe assault, including assault with a dangerous weapon, were among the violent offenses investigated.

According to NeighborhoodScout’s analysis of FBI recorded crime statistics, you have a one in 74 chance of being a victim of one of these crimes in Lake City.

3. Not The Best Healthcare

For almost 60 years, Lake City Medical Center, a 91-bed acute care hospital, has served the populations of Columbia, Hamilton, and Suwannee counties. HCA Healthcare North Florida’s Lake City Medical Center offers a variety of medical and surgical treatments, including 24-hour emergency care, cardiac care, interventional cardiology, orthopedics, cancer treatment, imaging, and rehabilitation.

The Joint Commission has designated Lake City Medical Center as a Primary Stroke Center, an Accredited Chest Pain Center by the American College of Cardiology, and a Disease Specific Certification in the treatment of Sepsis by the Joint Commission.

The Lake City-Columbia County Chamber of Commerce has recognized us as the area’s Best of the Best Hospital for the past 20 years and an employer of choice in 2019!

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Related Questions

Is Lake City, Florida safe?

The crime is a bit higher than the average crime rate throughout the USA. It’s within the 40th percentile regarding safety which means that 60% of cities are deemed to be safer than Lake City. As long as you’re careful, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to any crimes.

Is Florida expensive to live in?

It depends on where you live in Florida. If you live in Miami, then the cost of living will be significantly higher than a smaller city that doesn’t draw as many tourists each year.

What’s bad about living in Florida?

Florida is prone to extreme heat waves and brings a lot of humidity, as well as hurricanes. Not to mention, you pay higher insurance premiums than anywhere else in the USA.

Hurricanes and extreme heat and humidity have an impact. The state is extremely flat, lacking mountains and valleys. There are more tourists and part-time residents than in other states. You’ll be paying higher insurance costs than other parts of the country

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Heather Robbins
Heather Robbins

Heather is a passionate writer who loves anything DIY. Growing up, she learned everything from home repairs to design, and wants to share her tips with you. When she's not writing, she's usually hiking or searching for her next DIY project.

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