December 18, 2014

Community Portrait

Fort Lauderdale and Broward County

More than just gathering data, we're capturing elements that make each community distinctive.

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Who Lives Here (see below)
Demographics
Economic Life
Quality of Life

Why I Live Here

Who Lives Here?

> The Count

» Broward County: 1.77 million residents

» Fort Lauderdale: 180,400

Mayor Jim Naugle left office in March as the city’s longest-serving mayor (and new term limits will assure no one beats his record.) The outspoken Naugle — a Democrat and proudly not politically correct — angered gays but was popular, winning every election since his first mayoral win in 1991 by whopping margins. His decades of leadership — counting all offices he served in — saw the rebirth of the city’s famous beach and the advent of downtown high-rise living, among other changes. Former Wilton Manors mayor and former state Rep. Jack Seiler is the new mayor.


Las Olas Boulevard
» Pembroke Pines: 151,747

Broward’s second-largest city and Florida’s 11th, Pembroke Pines saw explosive growth in the 1990s thanks to I-75 and Hurricane Andrew, giving Miami-Dade residents, respectively, a faster commute and mobility. In 1998, Pembroke Pines founded what’s now the largest city-run charter school system in the nation with a high school, two middle schools and four elementaries totaling 5,400 kids.

» Hollywood: 143,172

The city is an older suburb with an interesting history, tough politics and a classy layout that features huge traffic circles. It has all the tools for future success, notably a beach conducive to strolling, an engaged citizenry, the 998-room Westin Diplomat hotel, proximity to Miami and I-95. A recent source of anxiety: Low-rent motels along Federal Highway frequented by hookers and drug dealers.

» Coral Springs: 128,930

The rest of the suburbs have closed in on the “city in the country.” If not for the welcome signs, you wouldn’t know when you arrived in the city that leaped ahead of the Broward westward development wave. Coral Springs prides itself on its administration — the first local government to win a Baldridge award — and volunteerism. It’s the place where people locate for schools and the quiet bedroom community life, hopping on the Sawgrass Expressway or driving east to Florida’s Turnpike and I-95 to get to work. Two major employers — electronic commerce processor First Data and entertainment products distributor Alliance Entertainment — have laid off hundreds. Money magazine named the city a best place to live (No. 78 of 100) in 2008.

» Miramar: 112,666

See Pembroke Pines for Miramar’s growth story. Abutting Miami-Dade County, Miramar saw a $20-million cultural center and art park open in December, bringing opera, theater and ballet to the ‘burbs. Money magazine named it a best place to live (No. 98 of 100) in 2008.

» Pompano Beach: 100,058

How many towns can claim a Goodyear blimp hangar? The Brazilian markets on the main streets testify to Pompano’s diversity. It also has a sizable Haitian population.

» Davie: 92,207

Davie well could be the last Broward community with a stand-up fight over the disappearance of an agricultural flavor. Its “Western” roots — it has a rodeo grounds — are clashing with development. Overwhelmingly white, it’s home to Nova Southeastern University (already the largest independent university in the Southeast and sixth nationally), which has ambitious plans for growth, a Florida Atlantic University campus and a Broward College campus among other higher-ed outposts.

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