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Broward, the state’s second-most populous county, is a densely populated (1,460 people per square mile) collection of urban and suburban towns — Fort Lauderdale, the county’s largest city, has fewer than 200,000 people, but the county’s residents account for more than 9% of Florida’s total population.
Broward County roughly matches the state average in household size (2.5) and median age (37.8 in Broward vs. 38.7 statewide).
- White, non-Hispanic: 48%
- Black: 24%
- Hispanic: 23%
Some 25% of the people living in Broward County are foreign-born, compared to an average of about 17% statewide. About a third speak a language other than English at home — more than half of those speak Spanish. In contrast to Miami-Dade County, as many Hispanic residents come from other Latin countries as come from Cuba. Similarly, a good portion of the county’s black population is not African-American, but rather Caribbean. The most common places of birth for foreign-born residents are Jamaica (15% of the total foreign-born), Haiti (12%), Cuba (8%) and Colombia (8%).
With a median age of 47, white residents of Broward County tend to be significantly older than either black residents (30) or Hispanics (33).
Among U.S.-born residents, most are from Florida and the northeast. Between 2005-06, the top counties from which taxpayers relocated to Broward were Miami-Dade; Palm Beach; Queens County, N.Y.; and Orange County. The three Florida counties were among the top destination counties for taxpayers leaving Broward during the same period.
A slightly lower percentage of Broward County’s population considers itself religious than in the rest of the U.S. A much lower percentage of the population belongs to mainstream Protestant denominations. About 21% of the county’s population is Catholic — about the same as the national average. The percentage of the county’s population that is Jewish, about 13%, far outstrips the national average of about 2%.
The county is a bastion of support for the Democratic Party, dating back to the 1960s and 1970s, when large numbers of retired blue-collar workers and small-business owners — many New Yorkers — retired to the area. For many, condo associations replaced union halls as centers of political activity, and the “condo commandos” took on a place in the state’s political lore. Younger condo residents tend to be less politically active and more likely to vote Republican, but in 2008, old patterns persisted: 67% of Broward voters cast ballots for Barack Obama, with only 32% voting for John McCain.
Next page: The Economic Life in Ft. Lauderdale and Broward County