Florida, as “hot” as ever

Statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau in March revealed that Florida was home to six of the nation’s fastest-growing metro areas from 2013-2014. According to the report, the population influx was enough to offset the fact that there were more deaths than births in about half of the state’s counties. Florida – so seemingly in demand – is also clawing its way to the top of the rankings for most populous state, beating out New York for third place.

The No. 1 spot for fastest-growing metro area for the second consecutive year went to The Villages, located to the west of Orlando. The growth exhibited in the state is particularly impressive considering that population gains nationwide have seen the lowest growth rate in 70 years, and U.S. fertility rates have fallen to an all time low.

Domestic migration accounted for the bulk of the influx – The Villages saw a population increase of 26.1 percent mostly from domestic migration. No demographic breakdown has been released but Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies David Brain suspects that some portion of the influx is related to the retirement of baby boomers. Other theories note that all but one of the metro-areas on the list boasted an unemployment rate below the national average.

North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton ranked 18th on the list and gained around 16,000 new residents in the period analyzed by the Census Bureau, bringing the total population estimate in that area to 748,708 as of July 2014.

While the state’s metro-areas continuously flourishing population rate is an optimistic sign for the economy, it is also likely to cause friction over development, traffic and environmental impacts.

“ … We have a regional economy that is heavily dependent on growth, and in a growing economy it might be possible to begin addressing some of [Sarasota County’s affordable] housing issues,” Brain said. “In fact, it will be important to do so, since at a certain point, economic growth can be stymied by the lack of ‘workforce’ housing. So there might even be an increasing incentive on the part of both business and local government to look for solutions.”

Information for this article was taken from heraldtribune.com.

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