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Dream Big!

Population Shifts/Users/adamp/Desktop/FEB images/BizLine

People Watching

Reports of Florida’s declining population boom are greatly exaggerated. That’s according to Stan Smith, director of the University of Florida’s (UF) Bureau of Economic and Business Research. “There have been a number of news articles lately focusing on the idea that population growth in Florida has fallen off and practically come to a standstill, and that simply isn’t true,” says Smith. “Florida has a strong economy and adds jobs every year. That is a major factor in last [year’s still having been] a big year for population growth, even though it was less than in the previous three years.”

According to new UF research, Florida’s population grew by 331,000 between 2006 and 2007, or about 900 people per day. That’s less than the 1,100-people-per-day rate recorded a few years ago. Florida’s total population was 18,680,367 as of April 1, 2007.

Where are all these people going? To Orange, Miami-Dade and Hillsborough counties, according to UF. But in terms of growth rates, Flagler, Sumter and Osceola counties lead the state.

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On the Move

When it comes to moving, people are still doing it as frequently as they were in 2005. According to recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 39.8 million U.S. residents moved between 2005 and 2006. The moving rate remained statistically unchanged from 2005 at 14 percent.

Nearly half of the reasons given for moving (18.4 million) were housing related, such as wanting a bigger or smaller house. The West had the highest moving rate (16 percent), followed by the South (15 percent), the Midwest (13 percent) and the Northeast (10 percent).

In 2006, nearly 30 percent of all people living in renter-occupied housing units had lived elsewhere a year earlier. However, the moving rate for people living in owner-occupied housing units was 7 percent. Most of those moving stayed within the same county (62 percent), while 20 percent moved from a different county within the same state; 14 percent moved from a different state, and 3 percent moved from abroad.