July 11 is recognized globally as World Population Day. This annual occasion focuses our collective attention on the urgent need to address population-related issues, including growth, sustainability, and development.
These issues are particularly significant in the Sunshine State. Florida’s population grows by almost 1,000 people each day – citizens born in the state, as well as those who migrate here from across the country and around the world.
Florida is Booming
The Sunshine State attracts more than 100 million visitors each year, drawn by our state’s warm winters, magnificent coastline, world-class attractions, and boundless natural resources. And to think, many of us are among the 21 million lucky ones who get to call Florida home.
Almost four-fifths of Florida’s 209-percent population growth since 1970 has been from new residents moving into the state. Much of this in-migration comes from outside the United States – including 30 percent from the Caribbean and Central America, 17 percent from Asia, and 15 percent each from South American and Europe.
When Canadians move to the United States, they make Florida their number one destination. With over 31,000 migrants from Canada to Florida between 2005 and 2015, Florida saw more in-migration from Canada than Texas and New York combined!
It’s interesting how the different regions of Florida attract new residents from different places. Not surprisingly, Miami-Dade County is home to 26 percent of foreign immigrants who came to Florida between 2010 through 2014, most of them from Cuba and the Caribbean.
However, north and south of the Tampa Bay area are the heaviest infusion of foreign in-migration from Europe, while in-migration from Asia leads the way in the Florida Panhandle.
Indeed, the share of Florida residents born outside the United States has almost quadrupled since 1900, up to 21 percent. Only 36 percent of Floridians were native to the state – down from 43 percent in 1950 – with the remaining 43 percent coming to Florida from other states.
Florida: Like The Weather “Back Home”
Another surprise is that movement into Florida from around the United States doesn’t just come from cold-weather states.
According to the 2011 census, large numbers of people migrated not just from chilly New Jersey but also from southern mainstays Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina.
This strongly suggests that Florida is an attractive place to live for everyone, whatever the weather is like “back home.”
A Destination For (All) The Ages
Florida has the largest percentage of seniors, with one in four residents at least 60 years old. Florida’s Sumter County, home of The Villages, is the nation’s only county where most residents are age 65 or older.
But the state is also attracting its fair share of millennials – Jacksonville hits the list at number two among this population, followed by Tampa and Miami.
With a constantly growing population, Florida is a state of continual change and expansion. Whether you think of it as somewhere to raise a family or a place to retire, Florida is home to a growing and diverse population of neighbors.
With its focus on the elements that make up the human family, World Population Day reminds us that we need to carefully plan for the needs of future generations.