Population Growth

The Villages, located to the west of the Orlando metro area, grew by 5.4 percent between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014, and now has a population of about 114,000. That makes it the fastest growing U.S. city, according to Census Bureau information released yesterday.

Overall, Florida has seven metro areas in the U.S. top 50 for growth over that timeframe.

The Census Bureau released information in December that found Florida had become the nation’s third most populous state. The latest demographic info shows how growth in individual metro areas contributed to that expansion.

Florida metro growth

The seven Florida cities in the top 50 for new residents accounted for more than three-quarters of the state’s total population gain over the time period:

  • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach (with a one-year gain of about 66,000)
  • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (about 50,000)
  • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (about 41,000)
  • Jacksonville (about 23,000)
  • Cape Coral-Fort Myers (about 18,000)
  • North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (about 16,000)
  • Lakeland-Winter Haven (about 11,000)

County growth

In addition, eight counties within these Florida metro areas were among 50 counties nationwide that gained the most population between 2013 and 2014.

Collectively, these counties accounted for more than half of the state’s population gain over the period:

  • South Florida: Broward (with a population gain of about 24,000 over the period), Palm Beach (about 22,000) and Miami-Dade (about 21,000)
  • Central Florida: Orange (about 26,000) and Osceola (about 11,000)
  • West Central Florida: Hillsborough (about 22,000)
  • Southwest Florida: Lee (18,000) and Polk (11,000)

City growth by percentage

When looking at percentage of growth rather than raw numbers of new immigrants, six Florida metro areas land on the Census Bureau’s top 20 list.

Furthermore, six metro areas in Florida were among the 20 fastest growing in the nation between 2013 and 2014. In addition to The Villages, they were Cape Coral-Fort Myers (sixth), Naples- Immokalee-Marco Island (10th), Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (16th), North Port-Sarasota- Bradenton (18th) and Panama City (19th).

“Florida’s ascension, revealed when the 2014 state population estimates were released last December, was a significant demographic milestone for our country,” Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. “These county and metro area estimates provide a more detailed picture of how this happened, showing growth in areas such as central and southern Florida.”

Migration to Florida from other states and abroad was heavy enough to overcome the fact that in about half the state’s counties, there were more deaths than births over the 2013 to 2014 period.