By the numbers
■ Collier’s 2010 population break-down came to 269,596 White, 21,087 Black or African American, 1,123 American Indian and Alaska Native, 3,507 Asian, 125 Native Hawaiian/ Other Pacific Islander, 19,920 of some other race, and 6,162 of two or more races.
■ Lee’s population break-down came to 513,496 White, 51,069 Black or African American, 2,193 American Indian and Alaska Native, 8,461 Asian, 380 Native Hawaiian/ Other Pacific Islander, 30,290 of some other race, and 12,865 of two or more races.
■ Among the top 20 most populous cites in the state, Cape Coral with 154,305 residents was climbed up two spots from 2000 to 11th in 2010. The city saw a 50.9 percent increase from its 2000 total of 102,286.
■ Florida’s five most populous incorporated cities in 2010 were Jacksonville with 821,784, Miami with 399,457, Tampa with 335,709, St. Petersburg with 244,769 and Orlando with 238,300. Jacksonville grew by 11.7 percent since the 2000 Census. Miami grew by 10.2 percent, Tampa grew by 10.6 percent, St. Petersburg decreased by 1.4 percent, and Orlando grew by 28.2 percent.
■ The largest county in Florida according to the 2010 Census was Miami-Dade with a population of 2.49 million. The county had a 10.8 percent population increase from 2000.
■ The other counties in the top five included Broward with a population of 1.74 million (a 7.7 percent increase), Palm Beach with 1.32 million (a 16.7 percent increase), Hillsborough with 1.22 million (a 23.1 percent increase) and Orange with 1.14 million (a 27.8 percent increase).
The Sunshine State just keeps on growing — as does its political capital.
On Thursday, the U.S. Census Bureau released more detailed 2010 Census population totals and demographic characteristics for Florida, including racial and ethnic breakdowns by county.
Both Collier and Lee counties were ranked among the top 20 most populous counties in the state. Collier was ranked 17th, up one place from 2000. Lee was ranked eighth, up three spots from 2000.
Collier County had 321,520 residents, a 27.9 percent increase from the 251,377 residents counted in the 2000 Census. In addition, 83,177 of Collier’s residents were of Hispanic descent.
The decennial count also showed that Lee County went from 440,888 residents in 2000 to 618,754 in 2010, a 40.3 percent increase. Hispanics in Lee County totaled 113,308.
News of the area’s continued growth was not surprising to Lee County Chamber president Armando Nargi.
However, Nargi said Southwest Florida is nowhere near where it could have been had the economy stayed strong.
“We are getting more inquiries and more traffic about relocation to the area,” said Nargi. “But we’re not the way we were before the recession started 2 ½ years ago.”
Although the chamber does not track specific minority business inquiries, Nargi said that he has personally seen the Hispanic population in Southwest Florida continue to grow.
He added that until Southwest Florida has some sort of major industry, the area’s population will continue to fluctuate.
“What industry do we have to sustain the population? We’re not building like we used to, when everything was revolving around the building,” he said. “And tourism is only a limited audience, limited time of the year. What focus of major industry will be here to sustain the livelihoods here?”
Overall, Florida’s population gains will garner the state two additional U.S. House seats and more sway on the national political stage. Florida will have 27 House seats.
“The importance of Florida’s impact on the national political debate cannot be overstated,” said U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fort Myers.
Florida’s population increased by 2.8 million, or 17.6 percent, to 18.8 million between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.
The Florida Legislature is slated to convene on Jan. 10, 2012, to enact new state Senate, state House and congressional districts based on the 2010 Census.
As to where the two new congressional districts will be formed, that will be determined by the Florida Legislature, Florida Gulf Coast University political science professor Peter Bergerson said.
For the most part, politicians in power try to create “safe seats” — a district that a party knows historically will vote in its favor, Bergerson said. Each member of the U.S. House represents, on average, about 710,767 people.
And even though congressmen don’t have any official power in redistricting, Bergerson said Thursday the current 25 do have enough political influence to be involved in the process.
On Thursday, Florida legislators said that by early summer both the state Senate and House will have a website with 2010 Census data so Floridians can participate in and follow the redistricting process.
“Our goal in redistricting is to let the public start the conversation,” state Rep. Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, chairman of the House Redistricting Committee, said in a written statement. “Paramount to achieving that goal is always sharing information like the 2010 Census results with the public, so that Floridians can benefit from the same tools and information available to the Legislature.”
Florida’s growing population has a lot do with a 60 percent increase in the share of Hispanics living in Florida over the past decade, according to the U.S. Census figures released Thursday.
The figures show the percentage of white residents declined slightly and the proportion of blacks and Asians inched up.
Hispanics now make up 22.5 percent of Florida’s 18.8 million residents, up from 16.7 percent of Floridians in 2000, when the state only had 15.9 million residents, the Census data showed.
“Were it not for the Hispanics, whether it has to do with fertility, immigration, in-migration from other states, or some combination of all three, Florida would be in much worse shape demographically, “ said William Frey, a demographer with the Brooking Institution Metropolitan Policy Program in Washington. “Florida has traditionally been a haven for everybody, especially white northeasterners and Midwesterners.”
That isn’t so much the case now as it has been in the past. The share of whites moving to Florida last decade was smaller than it was in the previous decade, Frey said.
Non-Hispanic whites now make up 57.8 percent of Florida’s population in 2010, down from 66 percent of the population in 2000. Their numbers grew by just under a half -million residents to 10.8 million people, the Census showed.
The non-Hispanic black population grew by more than 586,000 residents, so that they now make up 15.2 percent of the population, up from 14.1 percent of the population in 2000.
Asians now make up 2.3 percent of Florida’s residents, or more than 445,000 people, up from 1.6 percent in 2000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Census 2010 Florida Redistricting Map
Data provided by U.S. Census Bureau. Represents zero or rounds to 0.0. The term 'county' refers to county or equivalent entity. For more information on Substantial Changes to Counties and County Equivalent Entities: 1970-Present, please visit: http://www.census.gov/geo/www/tiger/ctychng.html