UF: Florida population soars in century’s first decade, but rate is slowing
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida was again one of the country’s leaders in population growth in the last decade, but the growth rates over the past few years have been among the lowest in the state’s history, according to a new study by the University of Florida.
Florida’s permanent resident population increased by more than 2.8 million between 2000 and 2010 — an increase of 17.6 percent to 18,801,310. That mark was the third-largest numeric increase and the eighth-largest percentage increase in the country. However, the growth rate lagged behind previous periods for the state, and projections are the growth rate will steadily decline through 2040.
“Growth rates varied considerably during the decade, not only from county to county but also from year to year,” said Stan Smith, director of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at UF’s Warrington College of Business Administration.
“Fueled by an expanding economy and a booming housing market, population increases from 2003 to 2006 were among the largest in Florida’s history,” he said. “As economic growth slowed and the housing market cooled later in the decade, population growth declined as well, reaching its lowest levels in more than 60 years.”
In the decades from 1970 to 2010, Florida saw annual population increases that averaged between 280,000 and 320,000. The projected annual growth is 252,000 for 2010 to 2020 and 255,000 for 2020 to 2030. The projection drops considerably for 2030 to 2040 with an annual growth of 220,000.
Smith said the slow economic recovery and a dismal job market have hampered population growth.
“Jobs are a major reason people come to Florida,” Smith said. “But Florida lost about 1 million jobs from 2007 to 2010. As the economy recovers, population growth will increase as well.”
"Projections of Florida Population by County, 2010-2040," Florida Population Studies, Volume 44, Bulletin 159, June 2011 produced by the UF Bureau of Economic and Business Research is now available for order in the Population section of BEBR Products at http://www.bebr.ufl.edu/bebr-products/series/Florida%20County%20Population%20Projections.