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Florida Demographics: Who we are in 2012

Florida Beachgoers

We're Numerous

19.05 million: U.S. Census estimate of Florida's 2011 population, making it the fourth-biggest state

Fourth largest state

New York pipeline

We're Mostly from Somewhere Else

» Transplants: The state ranks second in the nation for the lowest percentage of residents born in the state — 35.2%. (Nevada is No. 1 at 24.3%.)

» New York pipeline: Of those who moved to Florida in 2010, the largest number came from New York — more than 55,000 — followed by Georgia, Texas, New Jersey and California.


We're Old — And Young

» Median age — 40.7: Florida is one of seven states with a median age over 40. Maine and Vermont have the highest median ages. Florida's population has the highest percentage of residents 65 and over in the country — 17.3%. Six states have a slightly higher percentage of the very old (85 and up) than Florida.

Florida Swimmers
[Photo: iStockphoto]

» Florida has plenty of young people: 10.5 million residents are under age 45. More than 21% of the state's population is under 18.

» Old counties: Sumter County has the nation's highest median age — 62.7. The county, with a population of just under 93,500, is home to much of the giant Villages retirement community. Sarasota, Charlotte and Citrus counties, meanwhile, all have median ages over 50.

» Young counties: Among the state's large counties, Duval (Jacksonville) is the youngest in the state, with a median age of 34. With their large student populations, Gainesville (24.9) and Tallahassee (26.1) are among the country's youngest cities.

UF students
[Photo: UF]

We're diverse: In seven Florida counties — Miami-Dade, Broward, Orange, Osceola, Hendry, Hardee and Gadsden — non-Hispanic whites now make up less than half of the population.

We're urban and suburban: 80% of Florida's population lives within 10 miles of the coast.

[Photo: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio]

Florida's Ethnic Communities

Hispanics — 22.5%: Florida, with the third-largest number of Hispanics, has the sixth-largest percentage of Hispanics of all states. In the past decade, Hispanics accounted for more than half of the state's overall population growth. Florida's Hispanic population is unevenly distributed: More than half live in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Orange counties. Meanwhile, the Hispanic population in Pinellas and Duval counties is 8% and 7.6% respectively. Not all of Florida's Hispanics are Cuban. Cubans remain the biggest single Hispanic group (1.2 million), but large populations of Puerto Ricans live in Hillsborough (86,303) and Orange (139,181) counties. Concentrations of immigrants from Mexico and Central America live inland in west-central and south Florida, including, for example, the bulk of the state's almost 84,000 Guatemalans.

African-Americans — 16%: Florida has the second-largest number of African-American residents of any state but ranks 11th percentage-wise. Counties with larger than average populations of African-Americans include Broward and Duval and counties along the state's border with Georgia.

Haitians, et al.: The Miami metro area, including Broward, has 36% of the nation's French Creole speakers, ranking it No. 1 nationally. The area is third nationally in its share of Hebrew, Yiddish and Spanish speakers and fourth in Portuguese and French. Orlando is fourth nationally in French Creole.

Undocumented ?— 760,000: The number of undocumented immigrants in Florida in 2010 was down from nearly 1 million four years earlier, according to federal estimates.


We're not Peoria

The diversity of Florida's individual markets is reflected in the fact that national restaurant chains prefer locations outside the state to test-market new products. Test-marketers want cities that mirror America's demographics; many Florida markets would oversample on seniors or Hispanics to serve as a viable test market, says Mike Brady, DeSantis professor of business administration and marketing department chair at Florida State University. Exceptions: A 2010 test by Boston Market in West Palm Beach of a new, "stove-top" style of serving. Miami-based Burger King introduced the Whopper Bar in 2009 at Universal CityWalk. Orlando also served as a test bed for Wendy's sea-salt fries. Among Florida cities, Tallahassee and Jacksonville, which landed 15th on a list by marketing company Acxiom in 2004 of the best test market cities, more closely reflect American demographics.

Boston Market
[Photo: Boston Market]


Population Distribution

In 1900, two-thirds of Floridians lived north of Ocala. By 2012, nearly half lived south of Lake Okeechobee.

Florida's Population Distribution