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Greenacres was founded by Lawrence Carter Swain and incorporated as a city in 1926. Originally 320 acres, Swain specifically created the city for the working and middle class. Swain Boulevard and L.C. Swain Middle School are named in his honor. The name Greenacres was the winning entry in a local naming contest.
As of 2010, there were 17,249 households out of which 16.6% were vacant. As of 2000, 24.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.9% were married couples living together, 12.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.1% were non-families. 29.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.80.
In 2000, 20.9% of the population were under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 23.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 87.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.2 males.