Fort Myers Population GrowthCushman & Wakefield released their inaugural Florida Population Report, an examination of population trends and its economic impact in Florida.

The report, compiled by Cushman & Wakefield’s Research Team, analyzes population growth, employment levels, home values and retail sales activity in Florida’s eight major markets – Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Lakeland (Polk County), Miami-Dade County, Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg and West Palm Beach. It issued a statewide report and individual reports for each of the eight markets.

Key report findings

  • Florida’s population will reach 20.7 million by the end of 2016. In 1910, the state had a population of 1 million people; by 1980 it grew to 10 million. Since then, the population has doubled.
  • Lee County (Fort Myers-Cape Coral) leads Florida’s eight major metro areas in population growth, expanding at an annual rate of 3.3% in the past year. Lee County is projected to end 2016 with 726 thousand residents. Orlando, growing at an annual rate of 2.6% finished second and Lakeland at 2.3% finished third.
  • Florida’s population grew 1.84 percent in the past year, trailing only North Dakota, Colorado and Nevada as the fastest-growing states. Florida trailed California (39.14 million) and Texas (27.5 million) in overall population.
  • Florida’s population grew by more than 1,000 people per day, a pace that has accelerated over the past year. Jobs are the No. 1 reason people are attracted to the state. The trend is driven, in part, by economic challenges in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico’s population declined 1.7 percent over the past year, with most exiting residents settling initially in Florida.
  • For the past 38 months, Florida’s job-growth percentage has exceeded the national average. In the past 12 months, 244,500 new jobs were added, a 3 percent growth rate. Most new jobs supported the expanding healthcare, logistics and home construction markets. Retail and hospitality also contributed to the state’s employment performance.
  • Current home prices in Florida were down $42,000 compared to fourth quarter 2006 values. Prices have rebounded since bottoming out in 2011, however, rising by an average $83,000 in the span of five years. Tight supply and pent up demand are driving price increases and pace of sales.
  • Retail sales continued to highlight consumer optimism and a favorable local economic climate. Florida’s economy enjoyed elevated consumer confidence despite uncertainty at the national level caused by the upcoming presidential campaign.

“Florida remains a national leader in population growth,” says Chris Owen, Florida research manager. “This is driven by excellent employment numbers, lagging home prices and favorable consumer sentiment. We foresee this optimism prevailing in the short term.”