Located in southwest Oklahoma, Lawton is home to military facilities, a regional airport and professional sports teams. Its downtown features quality dining and shopping, while the surrounding Wichita Mountains offer outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, hiking and camping. The Museum of the Great Plains offers interactive exhibits in a trading post and schoolhouse, while tribal, religious and military objects are displayed at the Comanche National Museum and Cultural Center. The adjacent Elmer Thomas Park includes Lake Helen, a playground and paths.
The median age in the city was 31.4 years. Males had a median income of $40,557 versus $31,825 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,655. About 16.6% of families and 19.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.5% of those under the age of 18 and 5.9% of those aged 65 or over.
The majority of the city's workforce is employed in professional, scientific and technical occupations. The largest employers in the city are Fort Sill, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and Cameron University. The city also has a strong manufacturing base, as well as significant health care, education and retail sectors. In addition, the city is home to several historic sites and buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, such as Old Fort Sill and the Mattie Beal House. Lawton also has a council-manager government, with members elected to single-member districts and the mayor elected at-large. These leaders hire a professional city manager to direct daily operations.