Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Hispanic Boom

  • By
  • | 11:25 a.m. July 15, 2011
  • | 2 Free Articles Remaining!
  • News
  • Share

As the Gulf Coast's fastest-growing group, Hispanics represented 55% of Florida's 2.8 million increase in residents over the past decade.

Florida's Hispanic population grew from nearly 17% of the state's population to more than 22%, according to 2010 U.S. Census data.

For the eight Gulf Coast counties from Pasco to Collier, in 2000 one in 10 residents was of Hispanic or Latino origin. In 2010, it was nearly one in six. Of the Gulf Coast counties, only Collier (26%) and Hillsborough (25%) exceed the state's percentage of the population who identified themselves as Hispanic/Latino in the 2010 U.S. Census.

The Gulf Coast's Hispanic population grew by 91% from 2000 to 2010 to 718,098. The addition of 341,356 Hispanic residents makes up 47% of the region's total population growth of nearly 724,000.

That growth bodes well for the Gulf Coast and the trade opportunities that population may attract, says Regions Bank private banker Maria Eichelberger, chairwoman of the Tampa Bay Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “When people are looking at Florida for trade they're not just looking at Miami now,” she says, pointing out new Port of Tampa trade opportunities coming about with the 2014 completion of the Panama Canal expansion. “That's a very positive change.”

Hillsborough County, the Gulf Coast's largest in population with 1.23 million residents, became home to nearly 127,000 more Hispanics, or 37% of the region's total Hispanic population growth. In fact, Hispanics account for 55% of the county's total added residents.

Now, one in four Hillsborough County residents is Hispanic, but that's still below the 65% Hispanic population in Miami-Dade County, where 51% of its 1.6 million Hispanics are Cuban. Hendry County comes in second with 49%, and Osceola ranks third at 45%.

According to 2009 American Community Survey data, 35% of the Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitan area's Hispanic population is Puerto Rican, 19% Cuban, and 19% Mexican.

The nearly 71% increase in Hillsborough's Hispanic population, however, is dwarfed in percentage terms by Pasco County, which saw a 178% increase. “This is one of the fastest-growing counties in terms of Hispanic population in the state of Florida,” according to Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Hispanic Center, a nonpartisan research center. Lopez also points out that Pasco is the second-largest county among the fastest growers of Hispanic population in Florida.

Pasco's percentage gain edges out Lee County's nearly 170% rise, though Lee had more than twice as many new Hispanic residents as Pasco, adding 71,266 compared to Pasco's 34,933.

While Pasco had the largest percentage increase of Hispanic population among Gulf Coast counties — and sixth statewide — it also ranks next to last with its 29% Hispanic share of total population change for the decade.

Pasco's population went up nearly 35%, thereby diluting the Hispanic influence on the county's total population. The county's percentage of Hispanic population grew from 5.7% in 2000 to 11.7% in 2010.

Sarasota County's Hispanic population also more than doubled, growing 112%. However, with just less than 8% of its population being Hispanic, it's second only to Charlotte County, which has the lowest percentage of Hispanic population at less than 6%. Still, Charlotte's Hispanic population nearly doubled, rising to 9,213, though its total population only grew 13% for the decade.

Additionally, although 26% of Collier County's population is Hispanic, ranking it seventh in the state, its 69% increase of its Hispanic population is the lowest among Gulf Coast counties. But that percentage is still higher than the state's 57% rise of Hispanic residents for the decade.

Click here for a more detailed look at the numbers behind the changes in Florida's Hispanic population.


Latest News


Special Offer: Only $1 Per Week For 1 Year!

Your free article limit has been reached this month.
Subscribe now for unlimited digital access to our award-winning business news.
Join thousands of executives who rely on us for insights spanning Tampa Bay to Naples.