August 19, 2019

Up Front - The Publisher's Column

Florida's population, economy are growing

Andrew P. Corty | 3/28/2018

As this annual Economic Yearbook shows, Florida’s population now tops 21 million — 21,162,207 to be exact. That’s 430,000 more people in just one year, a gain in excess of 2.0%.

Per capita income grew 5.6% to $48,515, and unemployment fell a whole percentage point to end the year at 3.7%. Median age, of course, grew as 91,000 more residents now are in the over-65 age group. We don’t present the data here, but the over-80 crowd grew the fastest.

This is a crazy pace. You can witness the growth all over the state as construction cranes dot the sky with condos, apartments and single-family homes going gangbusters.

Is it sustainable? Even if there’s a recession, even if there’s no net domestic in-migration, even if there’s no net international in-migration, Florida will keep growing because births outnumber deaths (so-called “natural growth”).

While the Florida Chamber’s projection of 26 million residents by 2030 might be overstated, it’s not by much. Historically, Florida has grown 300,000 residents per year on average for the last 50 years. Do the math. Florida’s population was just over 6 million 50 years ago, 8.9 million in 1977 (40 years ago), 12.0 million in 1987, 15.2 million in 1997 and 18.4 million in 2007.

So 12 years from now Florida will have almost 25 million people. This has huge implications for water, roads, schools, universities, jobs, health care and just about everything else.

Delve into the Economic Yearbook information here and see what we have to say about how well major cities/counties are performing in categories such as economic development, the arts, transportation, construction, schools and government operations. While there are far more “thumbs-ups” than “thumbs-downs,” we need to pay attention to the challenges around the state to assure a bright future for all Florida residents.

Stock market volatility is back. The era of easy gains appears to be over. In this edition, some of the state’s top wealth managers offer insights on how to navigate this market. You’ll also find a listing of Florida’s largest investment banking firms and trust companies. Personally, I believe in asset allocation across equities, bonds and cash. But being in 100% equities sure would have been better in the last year!

Florida Trend is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year; we’ll produce a special issue next month looking at the past, present and future of this large state. We’ll peer at some of the things Florida is good at (think about the state college system, for example) and try to predict the future.

Florida is already the third-largest state, but millions more will join us in the next dozen years.

And despite concerns of sea-level rise, which impacts this peninsular state more than most others, the future is bright.

In the meantime, take a look at Florida Trend’s Facebook page with its “Covers” photo album. The magazine’s first cover in 1958 was in black and white and showed a rocket launching from Cape Canaveral — how prescient given the extraordinary aerospace industry that has grown here.

Technology today allows us to produce much more colorful covers and has improved the look of the entire magazine. Yet our mission remains unchanged — to tell the story of Florida business from all the varied corners of this great state.

Do you follow real estate?

If so, sign up for Florida Trend’s newest e-newsletter by going to It is published every Monday.

— Andy Corty, Publisher


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