Osceola County

Orange expected to lead Florida growth

Emptiness is what people see today when they drive through the monogrammed iron gates of Lake Drawdy Reserve in east Orange County. There are paved cul-de-sacs, lakefront lots and fancy frosted-glass streetlights. But nobody lives there.

Thirty years from now, they will likely see 28 upscale homes occupied by young families, residents from abroad, refugees from coastal counties, in-migrants from other states and well-to-do retirees.

Florida growth outpaces national trend

Most of Florida's largest counties and cities grew more rapidly than the nation since 2000, according to 2010 Census data released Thursday.

"It's a story of two different half-decades," says Stanley Smith, director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida. "The first half was so great that it made up for any decline of the past few years."

Orlando metro area grew a bit more crowded last year, despite recession

If not for babies and immigrants, Metro Orlando would be shrinking. The latest U.S. Census estimates show that the growth of Orlando's families, together with its continued appeal to people from other countries, narrowly offset the loss of residents who left the state because of the recession.

The four-county metropolitan area grew an anemic 1 percent in 2009, adding 21,198 people. Two-thirds of the increase was the result of having nearly twice as many births than deaths.

Unaffordable: Economy shatters private-school dreams

An unstable economy is forcing thousands of children to leave Florida's private schools for a public education or lessons taught by Mom and Dad at home.

About 14,000 students were taken out of private schools last school year -- part of an exodus of more than 46,000 kids since 2004, according to numbers released this week by the Florida Department of Education.

And officials expect the number to keep climbing.

Non-Hispanic whites leaving Broward, Palm Beach County in large numbers

Non-Hispanic whites are leaving Broward and Palm Beach counties in droves. Meanwhile, the dramatic growth of Hispanics and other minority groups has slowed to a trickle.

The latest U.S. census estimates, released today, show that the number of non-Hispanic whites in Broward County went down by more than 24,000 between 2006 and 2007, single-handedly accounting for the county's drop in total population. In Palm Beach County, that number dropped by more than 9,000.

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