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Florida sees greatest annual increase in population since 2006

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Florida is going through a growth spurt.

The Sunshine State’s population grew by 333,471 between April 1, 2015 and April 1, 2016. That marks the greatest annual increase in residents since 2006, according to a report by the Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

The state’s population was more than 20.1 million as of April 1. The estimate is slightly lower than a recent estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported Florida’s population was about 20.2 million as of July 1, 2015.

Florida’s population has been driven largely by net migration, with more people moving into the state than leaving. But net migration fell to record lows during 2008 and into 2009, accounting for just shy of 26 percent of population growth in fiscal 2008-09.

Those low levels of net migration were “largely due to national economic conditions.” More simply: The Great Recession meant folks just weren’t moving to Florida.

That didn’t mean Florida wasn’t growing. The U.S. Census Bureau reported in 2014 that the state’s population was about 19.9 million, stealing the No. 3 spot from New York, which that year reported a population of 19.7 million.

And don’t expect the streets to get any less crowded. The Office of Economic and Demographic Research estimates annual population change will remain above 300,000 net new residents each year for the next five years.

The state estimates the population will grow to more than 20.4 million by April 1, 2017, an increase of about 330,000. That steady growth is expected to continue, with more than 21.7 million expected to be living in Florida by April 1, 2021.

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