October 1, 2014

Economic yearbook 2011

North Central - Yearbook

Cynthia Barnett | 4/1/2011

SUMTER County

Sumter Population: 81,946
Population Growth Rate (2007-11): 1.62%
Population by Age:
0-14
15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
10.9% 3.8%
21.8% 39.0% 24.5%
Per Capita Income: $28,639

Sumter County has the highest population growth rate in the region, along with a relatively low unemployment rate — around 9.5% — thanks in part to The Villages, one of the largest retirement communities in the nation. The county's location at the intersection of Interstate 75 and Florida's Turnpike also helps, giving Sumter a diversified industrial base. County officials are confident about continued growth in the coming years because of four Developments of Regional Impact on tap — the first a commercial project at the Villages.

The Villages
The Villages development accounts for much of Sumter's population growth. [Photo: The Villages]

Dixie / levy County

Dixie Population: 15,134
Population Growth Rate (2007-11): 0.44%
Population by Age:
0-14
15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
16.9% 5.3% 23.9% 33.8% 20.0%
Per Capita Income: $24,189

Levy Population: 40,486
Population Growth Rate (2007-11): 1.05%
Population by Age:
0-14
15-19 20-39 40-64 65+
17.7% 6.0% 21.5% 35.6% 19.2%
Per Capita Income: $26,721

These picturesque coastal counties continue to draw new residents and build nature-based tourism around the Gulf shore, rivers and springs. However, both counties' unemployment rates have topped 12%. And highly anticipated new projects, including Progress Energy's nuclear plant in southern Levy County and a new hospital in Chiefland, have been delayed. The nuclear plant's construction will not begin until Progress lands its federal license, which company executives expect in late 2012 or early 2013. Local economic developers have responded with a focus on "trying to help existing and small businesses survive," says Pat O'Neal, executive director of the Nature Coast Business Development Council.

Progress Energy
Progress has delayed a new nuclear facility planned for Levy. [Rendering: Progress Energy]

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Comic-book and gaming stores are expanding across Florida. The state's major comic & video game themed conventions continue to generate increased interest and revenue. What's your level of participation in the world of comics & gaming?

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