Florida Population Drops

August 19, 2009

The University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research estimates the state’s population slipped by 58,294 people, to 18,748,925 on April 1 from 18,807,219 in April 2008, the first decline in Florida’s population since 1946.  The last official, final census count – in 2000 – was 15,982,824.

The population estimates were produced using data from residential electric hookups, building permits and homestead exemptions. In the State of Florida, it is estimated that public school enrollment for 2009-2010 is down 10,000 from the previous school year, according to the Florida Office of Economic and Demographic Research. Florida’s unemployment rate is up to 10.6 percent in June, the highest rate since 1975, and the state’s foreclosure rate is among tops in the nation.

According to the report, the likely cause of the decrease is directly related to the recession and housing market bust. Also, the influx of temporary residents (primarily construction workers) who rented and were able to move quickly caused a quick decrease in the population.  Other elements contributing to the population slowdown noted in the report include frequent hurricanes, high coastal property insurance and a rising cost of living. Also noted is the fact that fewer people are moving to the state due to their inability to sell their homes in other states. 

Not all is doom and gloom for the State.  Florida’s natural attraction to retirees and as a vacation destination will continue to fuel growth after the economy improves.  As the country moves out of the recession, it is expected growth will increase but not as high as levels seen over the last three or four decades.

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