Urban/Rural Population

Level of Indicator: I
Type of Indicator: A

Explanation of Indicator
This indicator describes the percentage of the population living in urban areas and the percentage of the population living in rural areas within the 35 coastal counties. An urban population is defined as all persons living in urbanized areas and in plac es of 2,500 or more persons outside urbanized areas. An urbanized area is comprised of an incorporated place and an adjacent densely settled surrounding area that together have a minimum population of 50,000. Population not classified as urban constitut es the rural population. Rural classification need not imply farm residence or a sparsely settled area, because a small city is rural as long as it is outside an urbanized area and has fewer than 2,500 persons. This indicator is useful in that it docume nts a major change in the character of the demographics of Florida's coastal areas - the shift from a predominantly rural Florida to an urbanized Florida. It is also useful in that it is associated with changing land use patterns brought on by increased development.

Data Characteristics
This information is located in the Florida Statistical Abstract which is produced on an annual basis by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, College of Business Administration, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611-2017, or at (904) 3 92-0171. The Abstract is available at most major libraries. It may also be purchased from the publisher, University Press of Florida, 15 N.W. 15th Street, Gainesville, Florida 32611, or at (904) 392-1351.

The data are available in hard copy format. There are no costs associated with obtaining the data from a public or university library; however, the Abstract costs $29.95 to purchase.

This information is estimated annually, statewide by county.

Data Limitations
These data are the best available for this indicator. The limitations associated with the data are the same limitations inherent in census data. The collection methodologies and analysis of the population figures may lead to some double counting, underc ounting, or misrepresentation.

Data Analysis
The shift from a rural to a predominantly urban state was fairly steady until the 1960s, when growth rapidly increased in urban centers. This shift may have been a result of increased economic activity partially aided by a growing influx of tourists and seasonal residents.

Two factors are thought to affect this pattern of population movement. First, there was a significant immigration of persons to Florida from outside the state. Most of these people located in urban areas where employment is found. A second factor conce rns an increase of size in the urban areas of Florida's coastal counties. This accounts for an increase in the population size of these areas as well.

Population in rural coastal areas has continued to increase as well, but at much slower rates. The greatest rate of population growth in rural areas occurred between 1950 and 1960, when this population increased by 46.8 percent. From 1960 to 1980 the pop ulation remained relatively stable, changing by roughly five percent each decade.

The shift of the population from rural to urban areas has been more gradual. The largest shift in population occurred from 1920 to 1930 when 13 percent of the population moved from urban to rural areas. The population shift began again in the 1940s and continued until the 1980s. The overall shift in population from 1940 to 1980 was 25 percent Between 1980 and 1990 the shift appeared to have slowed, shifting by only one percent during this time period.

Urban/Rural Population in Coastal Counties

   Year		Rural		Percent		Urban		Percent	     Total 
	      Population	 Rural	      Population	Urban	   Population

   1920		280,100		  49		291,415		  51	       571,515
   1930		344,176		  36		603,357		  64	       947,533
   1940		460,776		  35		846,921		  65	     1,307,697
   1950		524,027		  26		1,492,899	  74	     2,016,926
   1960		769,098		  20		3,067,013	  80	     3,836,111
   1970		734,789		  14		4,653,506	  86	     5,388,295
   1980		786,053		  10		6,878,675	  90	     7,664,728
   1990		981,228		  10		9,084,975	  90	    10,066,203

Urban/Rural Population in Coastal Counties