The 2011 U.S. Census estimated that Florida has 19.05 million residents making ours the fourth-largest state. Florida’s median age is 40.7, making it one of seven states with a median age over 40. However, both Maine and Vermont have higher median ages. Florida’s population does have the highest percentage of residents (17.3%) over age 65 in the country although six other states have a slightly higher percentge of the very old (defined as 85 and up) than Florida.
Florida ranks second in the nation for the lowest percentage of residents born in the state with only 35.2% natives. Nevada is #1 in the nation for the number of natives living in its borders at just 24.3%! Of those folks moving to the Sunshine State, the largest number came from New York (55,000 in 2010) followed by Georgia, Texas, New Jersey and California.
While Florida has its share of elderly residents, it also has plenty of young people with 10.5 million of its residents under age 45. Even more significant, more than 21% of the state’s population is under age 18. Sumter County (with a population of just under 100,000 and home to the giant Villages retirement community) is the Florida county with the highest median age at 62.7. The following Florida counties all have median ages over 50: Sarasota, Charlotte, and Citrus.
Duval County (Jacksonville) is the youngest in our state with a median age of 34. Not surprisingly, Gainesville and Tallahassee are our youngest ciites with their vibrant student populations.
We are a diverse group. In seven Florida counties (Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, Osceola, Hendry, Hardee and Gadsen), non-Hispanic whites make up less than half of the population. We are also clustered around our coastline as 80% of Florida’s population lives within 10 miles of the coast.
Hispanics account for 22.5% of Florida’s population (making ours the 6th largest percentage of Hispanics of all states). African-Americans account for 16% of Florida’s population and we are ranked number one in the U.S. for the largest number of French Creole speakers. The number of undocumented immigrants who call Florida home was 760,000 in 2010 which was down from nearly 1 million four years earlier according to federal estimates.
Our state’s population has also shifted over time. In 1990, 2/3 of Floridians lived north of Ocala. By 2012, nearly half of Floridians lived south of Lake Okeechobee.
So, does your board look more or less like the State’s and your county’s demographics? Who runs for and is elected to the board in your community? Have younger people, native Floridians and/or non-native English speakers been less or more represented on your board?
The census statistics reviewed don’t even discuss the gender divide in our population and the makeup of our community boards. That could certainly be a topic for a future blog!