July 28, 2014

Community Portrait

Tampa & Hillsborough County

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


A University of South Florida grad student studies at the USF Center for Molecular Diversity in Drug Design, Discovery and Delivery. [Photo: Joseph Gamble]

Economic Life

» On the Job

Tampa and Hillsborough County are a “working center.” Compared to Florida as a whole, there are more working people, fewer retirees. Thus, while the area trails the rest of the state in per capita income, which includes income from dividends and pensions that flows typically to retirees, it leads the state by some $2,200 in average annual wage and salary. Hillsborough County, which has 6% of the state’s population, accounts for 8% of all jobs in Florida. In 2005, median household income in Hillsborough County was $45,084. That median income outpaced the state average by nearly $3,000. The area’s economy is diversified and service-oriented.

» Economically Noteworthy

Tampa is third in the nation among the top 10 cities for growth in women-owned firms.

Since 2004, poverty rates in the county have been below the U.S. average — 11.5% of the population and 9.2% of families.

Income inequality remains pronounced, however: The average income for whites is more than $54,000; for blacks, around $33,300 — a 61% gap.

The University of South Florida ranks among the top 50 U.S. medical schools in funding from the National Institutes of Health, with more than $300 million in research contracts and grants in 2007. The school also ranks 35th nationwide in patent research.

More than 3,200 homes were in foreclosure proceedings in October. The county has among the highest foreclosure rates in the region.

Compared to the nation, Tampa and Hillsborough County have traditionally had higher rates of homeownership and lower house prices.


» Green Acres

More than 40% of Hillsborough’s 1,000 square miles is agricultural. The county has 2,969 farms (the second most in the state) that generate more than $390 million in annual sales. The Plant City/Dover area produces 88% of the state’s strawberries; Hillsborough County produces 11% of Florida’s tomatoes and accounts for 85% of tropical fish.

» Major Economic Engines

University of South Florida

MacDill Air Force Base

Tampa International Airport

Port of Tampa

Call centers, back-office operations

» Big Employers

Verizon, MacDill Air Force Base, University of South Florida, county and city governments, school district, Tampa International Airport, James Haley Veterans Hospital, PBS&J, St. Joseph’s Hospital, JPMorgan Chase, Publix, Bank of America, OSI Restaurant Partners, WellCare Health Plans, TECO Energy, Walter Industries, Busch Gardens, Quality Distribution, Sykes Enterprises, USAA, Port of Tampa


Carnival’s Inspiration leaves the Port of Tampa.

Total Number of Businesses
County: 85,628 (5.6% of state total)
City: 30,097 (2% of state total)

Hillsborough County Tampa Statewide
Black-owned businesses 5.1% 8.1% 6.6%
Hispanic-owned businesses 12.5% 14% 17.3%

Top Industry Sectors Share of Total Jobs
Administrative and waste services 14.4%
Retail trade 10.2
Government/government enterprises 10.1
Healthcare/social assistance 8.2
Professional/technical services 7.4
Finance/insurance 7.2

Trade: The county’s wholesale trade sector amounts to only 3.3% of its overall economy, but the $24.5 billion it generates is nearly 25% of the state’s total wholesale trade.

» Cost of Living

Tampa’s cost of living ranks consistently below national averages.

Tags: Tampa Bay

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