Strategic Assessment of Florida's Environment (SAFE)

Urban/Rural Population Ratio

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. The current definition of an urban population is all persons living in urbanized areas and in places of 2,500 or more persons outside urbanized areas. An urbanized area comprises an incorporated place and an adjacent densely settled surrounding area that together have a minimum population of 50,000. Population not classified as urban constitutes 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.

Source


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) 392-0171. The abstract is available at most major libraries. It may also be purchased annually from the publisher, University Press of Florida, 15 N.W. 15th Street, Gainesville, Florida 32611, or at (904) 392-1351.

Data Characteristics


This information is collected on an annual basis statewide and by county. 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 will cost $19.95 to purchase.

Overall Assessment


This indicator is useful in that it documents a major change in the character of Florida's demographics, the shift from a predominantly rural Florida to an urbanized Florida. These figures are estimates derived from mathematical analyses based on census data collected every 10 years. While some flaws and biases inherent in the census information due to the data collection process and mathematical analysis, they are not defects that reduce the utility and validity of these figures.

Analysis of Indicator


The transition of Florida from a rural to an urban state has been steady and rapid. As late as 1850 Florida lacked any urban population. Beginning in 1860, Florida began a pattern of growth that was marked by decennial increases in urban growth that has culminated in nearly 85 percent of Florida's population residing in urban areas by 1990. Until 1980 when urban growth leveled out, decennial shifts from rural to urban areas generally ranged between 7 and 10 percent. This data is presented in the following table and graph.

                  Urban/Rural Population Ratio:
                           1830 - 1990
           Urban      Percent    Rural      Percent
Total
  Year   Population   Urban    Population    Rural
Population

  1830           0         0      34,730      100
34,730
  1840           0         0      54,477      100
54,477
  1850           0         0      87,455      100
87,455
  1860       5,708       4.1     134,716       95.9
140,424
  1870      15.275       8.1     172,473       91.9
187,748
  1880      26,947      10.0     242,546       90.0
269,493
  1890      77,358      19.8     314,064       80.2
391,422
  1900     107,031      20.3     421,511       79.7
528,542
  1910     219,080      29.1     533,539       70.9
752,619
  1920     353,515      36.5     614,955       63.5
968,470
  1930     759,778      51.7     708,433       48.3
1,468,211
  1940   1.045,791      55.1     851,623       44.9
1,897,414
  1950   1,566,788      65.5     957,415       34.5
2,771,305
  1960   3,077,989      73.9   1,290,177       26.1
4,951,560
  1970   5,544,551      81.7   1,246,867       18.3
6,791,418
  1980   8,212,385      84.3   1,533,939       15.7
9,746,324
  1990  10,970,445      84.8   1,967,481       15.2
12,937,926

Urban/Rural Population Change