Steve Schale offers a first look at 2010 Florida census data

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Editor’s note: The following is a column from Steve Schale and is re-printed with permission. Please visit his blog for more information.

The 2010 redistricting process will be unlike any before it. With the introduction of the redistricting standards approved by the voters in November 2010, this cycle? version is sure to take on a very different look.

Over the next several months, I hope to use this blog from time to time to explore some interesting data nuggets as this process develops. But before we delve into that, there are a few interesting top-line observations from the Census.

While not perfect, the state? media markets do a nice job of breaking down the state by region. For purposes of this exercise, looking at the state by region or media market is easier than breaking down county level data. In future blogs, I?l take a more detailed look individual counties and districts in a few markets as it pertains to redistricting.

Please visit Steve Schale’s blog here.


While Tampa for some time has been the largest block of votes in the state, making up roughly 25% of all likely voters, Miami has held down the #1 spot, at least in terms of the census population, as the largest media market in the state. Not anymore.

Even though the market? share of the state was unchanged from 2000 to 2010, the Tampa media market, with 23.3% of the state? residents now reigns supreme, as the Miami market shrunk from 24.8% of the state to 23.0%.

In terms of growth, as a percentage, Fort Myers grew the fastest (23.1%), while Pensacola grew the slowest (7.5%). But in terms of real change, the Orlando market is rapidly gobbling up more of the state? population, and is now approaching 20% of the state? residents. In fact, if the state continues to grow in roughly the same proportions, the Orlando market will overtake Miami in 20 years and Tampa in roughly 30 years. If growth rates return to anything approaching pre-2000 rates, it will probably be sooner than that.

Population by Market:

Market 2010 Population Change

Fort Myers 6.3% 23.1%

Gainesville 1.7% 12.6%

Jacksonville 8.1% 15.8%

Miami 23.0% 8.4%

Orlando 19.6% 20.8%

Panama City 1.9% 13.7%

Pensacola 3.3% 7.5%

Tampa 23.3% 15.0%

Tallahassee 2.5% 12.8%

West Palm Beach 10.2% 16.8%

Probably more interesting to the forty-five people (I do appreciate you!) who read my blog, let? look at how these numbers in terms of county electoral types.

For purposes of simplicity, I tend to look break the state into five county typologies: Safe GOP (those counties that a statewide Democrat never wins—Nelson 06 excluded), Lean GOP (those counties that almost always vote Republican), Swing, Lean Dem (those counties that typically vote Democrat), and Safe Dem (those counties that only Connie Mack ?4 has won!)Please visit Steve Schale’s bloghere.

To give you a sense of what this looks like:

Safe GOP= 32 counties

Lean GOP= 14 counties

Swing = 11 counties

Lean Dem = 4 counties

Safe Dem = 6 counties

When we look at the state from this perspective, the change is minimal. There? been a slight shift in total population out of the Democratic counties into the swing and GOP counties, which is due to the general shift in population towards the more suburban areas of the state

2010 2000

Safe GOP 32.2% 31.0%

Lean GOP 7.5% 7.7%

Swing 23.1% 22.3%

Lean Dem 17.8% 18.6%

Safe Dem 19.4% 20.5%

One last way to look at the state is to group counties into various size categories. Not surprisingly, there has been a shift of population share into the ?merging?counties, which with very few exceptions, tend to be suburban or exurban in nature.

2010 2000

Small/Rural (less than 100K) 6.8% (34)* 6.6% (34)

Midsized (100K-250K) 8.7% (11) 13.2% (14)

Emerging (250-750k) 31.5% (15) 26.2% (12)

Urban (750K) 51.7% (7) 53.8% (7)

*the slight up-tick in the rural population is almost exclusively due to two counties, Sumter and Flagler, which both experienced growth near 50% and are both very close to 100,000 residents. The ten smallest counties in Florida experienced growth of roughly 14% and a dozen rural counties had less than 10% growth.


Rightly, much has been written about the growing Hispanic population in Florida. Since 2010, the Hispanic population is up some 36.5%. In fact, every media market in the state, except for Miami, saw its Hispanic population grow by more than 42% (and three markets saw over 50%). But what is missing from most news coverage is just how generally diverse Florida is becoming.

Please visit Steve Schale’s bloghere.

In 2000, the state? white (non-Hispanic) population made up 61.2% of residents. As of the 2010 census, that number was 52.6%, with Hispanics making up 22.5% of the state and the Black (Black is the census reported term, and for Florida, this means both African American and Caribbean American populations) population making up 16%. Without question, the white (non-Hispanic) population of Florida will be under 50% at the next census.

In terms of overall change, the state? white (non-Hispanic) population grew by just under 12%, while Black population grew by 22.1% and Hispanic by 36.5%.

Looking at pure percentage change by market, not surprisingly, the Orlando area has seen the biggest change, driven by a 50% increase in Hispanic residents and a 32% increase in Black residents. West Palm Beach has seen a very similar level of change, with a 44% increase in Hispanic residents and a 30% increase in Black residents (we know from other data sources that a significant portion of this is driven by Caribbean growth).

The Miami market continues to be the most diverse market in the state, with its white (non-Hispanic) population at 21.6% (and under 10% in Miami Dade County), with both the largest Hispanic populations (2.1 million) and Black populations (950K). Panama City and Pensacola are the least diverse.

Please visit Steve Schale’s bloghere.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.