Which Florida Counties are Growing the Fastest?
June 10, 2019
Over the current decade, Florida is one of the most rapidly growing states. From 2010 to 2018, the state’s population increased by 2,039,236 or almost 11 per cent to 20,840,568, making Florida the third largest state in the country after California and Texas and ahead of the Empire State of New York. The driving source of the Sunshine Mega-State’s population growth is interstate and international migration, not the natural increase of births exceeding deaths. Indeed, deaths exceed births in most rural Florida counties.
Consequently, it should be no surprise that all counties in Florida have not grown to the same extent (Chart 1). The largest increases in population were in the largest urbanized (or suburbanized) counties: Miami-Dade, which grew by 282,865; Orange County (Orlando) by 203,641; Hillsborough (Tampa) by 179,638; Broward (Fort Lauderdale) by 149,910; Palm Beach by 113,283; and Duval (Jacksonville) by 88,598. Some of the smaller rural counties that did not attract migrants like Putnam, Bradford, Hardee, Lafayette, Taylor, Hamilton, and Jefferson experienced declines in population.
Nevertheless, some of the counties that are not as large as the ones containing the major metropolitan areas did grow the most rapidly (Chart 2). For instance, Sumter County, where The Villages, a magnet for retirees, is located northwest of Orlando, grew 33.7 per cent, which was the fastest of all the counties. Osceola, which is south of Orlando and is not so small, grew 31.3 per cent. St. Johns, a suburb of Jacksonville, which is also not small, grew 25.6 per cent.
Population growth is not spread out evenly across Florida. Its concentration is exacerbating the infrastructure and construction booms in the major metropolitan centers that are growing the most rapidly. This has led to congestion and other environmental problems. If current population trends persist, managing population growth will continue to be a big challenge for the state.
This article explores themes from Florida Dreams: All About the Amazing Rise of the Sunshine Mega-State (Amazon, 2019).
Florida Dreams is available from Amazon.com.