Florida (/ˈflɒrɪdə/ (listen); Spanish for "land of flowers") is the southernmost contiguous state in the United States. The state is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd-most extensive (65,755 sq mi or 170,300 km2), the 3rd-most populous (21,312,211 inhabitants), and the 8th-most densely populated (384.3/sq mi or 148.4/km2) of the U.S. states. Jacksonville is the most populous municipality in the state and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is Florida's most populous urban area. Tallahassee is the state's capital.
Florida's $1.0 trillion economy is the fourth largest in the United States. If it were a country, Florida would be the 16th largest economy in the world, and the 58th most populous as of 2018. In 2017, Florida's per capita personal income was $47,684, ranking 26th in the nation. The unemployment rate in September 2018 was 3.5% and ranked as the 18th in the United States. Florida exports nearly $55 billion in goods made in the state, the 8th highest among all states. The Miami Metropolitan Area is by far the largest urban economy in Florida and the 12th largest in the United States with a GDP of $344.9 billion as of 2017. This is more than twice the number of the next metro area, the Tampa Bay Area, which has a GDP of $145.3 billion. Florida is home to 51 of the world's billionaires with most of them residing in South Florida.
The first European contact was made in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León, who called it la Florida ([la floˈɾiða] "the land of flowers") upon landing there in the Easter season, known in Spanish as Pascua Florida. Florida was a challenge for the European colonial powers before it gained statehood in the United States in 1845. It was a principal location of the Seminole Wars against the Native Americans, and racial segregation after the American Civil War.
Today, Florida is distinctive for its large Cuban expatriate community and high population growth, as well as for its increasing environmental issues. The state's economy relies mainly on tourism, agriculture, and transportation, which developed in the late 19th century. Florida is also renowned for amusement parks, orange crops, winter vegetables, the Kennedy Space Center, and as a popular destination for retirees. Florida is the flattest state in the United States. Lake Okeechobee is the largest freshwater lake in the U.S. state of Florida.
Florida's close proximity to the ocean influences many aspects of Florida culture and daily life. Florida is a reflection of influences and multiple inheritance; African, European, indigenous, and Latino heritages can be found in the architecture and cuisine. Florida has attracted many writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, and continues to attract celebrities and athletes. It is internationally known for golf, tennis, auto racing, and water sports. Several beaches in Florida have turquoise and emerald-colored coastal waters.
About two-thirds of Florida occupies a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km), not including the contribution of the many barrier islands. Florida has a total of 4,510 islands that are ten acres or larger in area. This is the second-highest number of islands of any state of the United States; only Alaska has more. It is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Much of the state is at or near sea level and is characterized by sedimentary soil. Florida has the lowest high point of any U.S. state. The climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south. The American alligator, American crocodile, American flamingo, Roseate spoonbill, Florida panther, bottlenose dolphin, and manatee can be found in Everglades National Park in the southern part of the state. Along with Hawaii, Florida is one of only two states that has a tropical climate, and is the only continental state with either a tropical climate or a coral reef. The Florida Reef is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States, and the third-largest coral barrier reef system in the world (after the Great Barrier Reef and Belize Barrier Reef).
|State of Florida|
The Sunshine State
|Motto(s): In God We Trust|
|State song(s): "Old Folks at Home (State Song), Florida (Where the Sawgrass Meets the Sky) (State Anthem)"|
|Spoken languages||Predominantly English and Spanish|
|Largest metro||Greater Miami|
|• Total||65,755 sq mi |
|• Width||361 miles (582 km)|
|• Length||447 miles (721 km)|
|• % water||17.9|
|• Latitude||24° 27' N to 31° 00' N|
|• Longitude||80° 02' W to 87° 38' W|
|• Total||21,299,325 (2018 est.)|
|• Density||384.3/sq mi (121.0/km2)|
|• Median household income||$51,176 (41st)|
|• Highest point||Britton Hill|
345 ft (105 m)
|• Mean||100 ft (30 m)|
|• Lowest point||Atlantic Ocean|
|Before statehood||Florida Territory|
|Admission to Union||March 3, 1845 (27th)|
|Governor||Ron DeSantis (R)|
|Lieutenant Governor||Jeanette Núñez (R)|
|• Upper house||Senate|
|• Lower house||House of Representatives|
|U.S. Senators||Marco Rubio (R)|
Rick Scott (R)
|U.S. House delegation||14 Republicans |
13 Democrats (list)
|• Peninsula and "Big Bend" region||EST: UTC −5/−4|
|• Panhandle west of the Apalachicola River||CST: UTC −6/−5|
By the 16th century, the earliest time for which there is a historical record, major Native American groups included the Apalachee of the Florida Panhandle, the Timucua of northern and central Florida, the Ais of the central Atlantic coast, the Tocobaga of the Tampa Bay area, the Calusa of southwest Florida and the Tequesta of the southeastern coast.
Florida was the first region of the continental United States to be visited and settled by Europeans. The earliest known European explorers came with the Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León. Ponce de León spotted and landed on the peninsula on April 2, 1513. He named the region Florida ("land of flowers"). The story that he was searching for the Fountain of Youth is mythical and only appeared long after his death.
In May 1539, Conquistador Hernando de Soto skirted the coast of Florida, searching for a deep harbor to land. He described seeing a thick wall of red mangroves spread mile after mile, some reaching as high as 70 feet (21 m), with intertwined and elevated roots making landing difficult. The Spanish introduced Christianity, cattle, horses, sheep, the Castilian language, and more to Florida. Spain established several settlements in Florida, with varying degrees of success. In 1559, Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano established a settlement at present-day Pensacola, making it the first attempted settlement in Florida, but it was mostly abandoned by 1561.
In 1565, the settlement of St. Augustine (San Agustín) was established under the leadership of admiral and governor Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, creating what would become one of the oldest, continuously-occupied European settlements in the continental U.S. and establishing the first generation of Floridanos and the Government of Florida. Spain maintained strategic control over the region by converting the local tribes to Christianity. The marriage between Luisa de Abrego, a free black domestic servant from Seville, and Miguel Rodríguez, a white Segovian, occurred in 1565 in St. Augustine. It is the first recorded Christian marriage in the continental United States.
Some Spanish married or had unions with Pensacola, Creek or African women, both slave and free, and their descendants created a mixed-race population of mestizos and mulattos. The Spanish encouraged slaves from the southern British colonies to come to Florida as a refuge, promising freedom in exchange for conversion to Catholicism. King Charles II of Spain issued a royal proclamation freeing all slaves who fled to Spanish Florida and accepted conversion and baptism. Most went to the area around St. Augustine, but escaped slaves also reached Pensacola. St. Augustine had mustered an all-black militia unit defending Spain as early as 1683.
The geographical area of Florida diminished with the establishment of English settlements to the north and French claims to the west. The English attacked St. Augustine, burning the city and its cathedral to the ground several times. Spain built the Castillo de San Marcos in 1672 and Fort Matanzas in 1742 to defend Florida's capital city from attacks, and to maintain its strategic position in the defense of the Captaincy General of Cuba and the Spanish West Indies.
Florida attracted numerous Africans and African Americans from adjacent British colonies who sought freedom from slavery. In 1738, Governor Manuel de Montiano established Fort Gracia Real de Santa Teresa de Mose near St. Augustine, a fortified town for escaped slaves to whom Montiano granted citizenship and freedom in return for their service in the Florida militia, and which became the first free black settlement legally sanctioned in North America.
In 1763, Spain traded Florida to the Kingdom of Great Britain for control of Havana, Cuba, which had been captured by the British during the Seven Years' War. It was part of a large expansion of British territory following their victory in the Seven Years' War. A large portion of the Floridano population left, taking along most of the remaining indigenous population to Cuba. The British soon constructed the King's Road connecting St. Augustine to Georgia. The road crossed the St. Johns River at a narrow point called Wacca Pilatka, or the British name "Cow Ford", ostensibly reflecting the fact that cattle were brought across the river there.
The British divided and consolidated the Florida provinces (Las Floridas) into East Florida and West Florida, a division the Spanish government kept after the brief British period. The British government gave land grants to officers and soldiers who had fought in the French and Indian War in order to encourage settlement. In order to induce settlers to move to Florida, reports of its natural wealth were published in England. A large number of British settlers who were described as being "energetic and of good character" moved to Florida, mostly coming from South Carolina, Georgia and England. There was also a group of settlers who came from the colony of Bermuda. This would be the first permanent English-speaking population in what is now Duval County, Baker County, St. Johns County and Nassau County. The British built good public roads and introduced the cultivation of sugar cane, indigo and fruits as well as the export of lumber.
The British governors were directed to call general assemblies as soon as possible in order to make laws for the Floridas, and in the meantime they were, with the advice of councils, to establish courts. This was the first introduction of the English-derived legal system which Florida still has today, including trial by jury, habeas corpus and county-based government. Neither East Florida nor West Florida sent any representatives to Philadelphia to draft the Declaration of Independence. Florida remained a Loyalist stronghold for the duration of the American Revolution.
Defense of Florida's northern border with the United States was minor during the second Spanish period. The region became a haven for escaped slaves and a base for Indian attacks against U.S. territories, and the U.S. pressed Spain for reform.
Americans of English descent and Americans of Scots-Irish descent began moving into northern Florida from the backwoods of Georgia and South Carolina. Though technically not allowed by the Spanish authorities and the Floridan government, they were never able to effectively police the border region and the backwoods settlers from the United States would continue to immigrate into Florida unchecked. These migrants, mixing with the already present British settlers who had remained in Florida since the British period, would be the progenitors of the population known as Florida Crackers.
These American settlers established a permanent foothold in the area and ignored Spanish authorities. The British settlers who had remained also resented Spanish rule, leading to a rebellion in 1810 and the establishment for ninety days of the so-called Free and Independent Republic of West Florida on September 23. After meetings beginning in June, rebels overcame the garrison at Baton Rouge (now in Louisiana), and unfurled the flag of the new republic: a single white star on a blue field. This flag would later become known as the "Bonnie Blue Flag".
In 1810, parts of West Florida were annexed by proclamation of President James Madison, who claimed the region as part of the Louisiana Purchase. These parts were incorporated into the newly formed Territory of Orleans. The U.S. annexed the Mobile District of West Florida to the Mississippi Territory in 1812. Spain continued to dispute the area, though the United States gradually increased the area it occupied. In 1812, a group of settlers from Georgia, with de facto support from the U.S. federal government, attempted to overthrow the Floridan government in the province of East Florida. The settlers hoped to convince Floridans to join their cause and proclaim independence from Spain, but the settlers lost their tenuous support from the federal government and abandoned their cause by 1813.
Seminoles based in East Florida began raiding Georgia settlements, and offering havens for runaway slaves. The United States Army led increasingly frequent incursions into Spanish territory, including the 1817–1818 campaign against the Seminole Indians by Andrew Jackson that became known as the First Seminole War. The United States now effectively controlled East Florida. Control was necessary according to Secretary of State John Quincy Adams because Florida had become "a derelict open to the occupancy of every enemy, civilized or savage, of the United States, and serving no other earthly purpose than as a post of annoyance to them."
Florida had become a burden to Spain, which could not afford to send settlers or garrisons. Madrid therefore decided to cede the territory to the United States through the Adams–Onís Treaty, which took effect in 1821. President James Monroe was authorized on March 3, 1821 to take possession of East Florida and West Florida for the United States and provide for initial governance. Andrew Jackson, on behalf of the U.S. federal government, served as a military commissioner with the powers of governor of the newly acquired territory for a brief period. On March 30, 1822, the U.S. Congress merged East Florida and part of West Florida into the Florida Territory.
By the early 1800s, Indian removal was a significant issue throughout the southeastern U.S. and also in Florida. In 1830, the U.S. Congress passed the Indian Removal Act and as settlement increased, pressure grew on the U.S. government to remove the Indians from Florida. Seminoles offered sanctuary to blacks, and these became known as the Black Seminoles, and clashes between whites and Indians grew with the influx of new settlers. In 1832, the Treaty of Payne's Landing promised to the Seminoles lands west of the Mississippi River if they agreed to leave Florida. Many Seminole left at this time.
Some Seminoles remained, and the U.S. Army arrived in Florida, leading to the Second Seminole War (1835–1842). Following the war, approximately 3,000 Seminole and 800 Black Seminole were removed to Indian Territory. A few hundred Seminole remained in Florida in the Everglades.
On March 3, 1845, Florida became the 27th state to join the United States of America. The state was admitted as a slave state and ceased to be a sanctuary for runaway slaves. Initially its population grew slowly.
As European settlers continued to encroach on Seminole lands, and the United States intervened to move the remaining Seminoles to the West. The Third Seminole War (1855–58) resulted in the forced removal of most of the remaining Seminoles, although hundreds of Seminole Indians remained in the Everglades.
American settlers began to establish cotton plantations in north Florida, which required numerous laborers, which they supplied by buying slaves in the domestic market. By 1860, Florida had only 140,424 people, of whom 44% were enslaved. There were fewer than 1,000 free African Americans before the American Civil War.
On January 10, 1861, nearly all delegates in the Florida Legislature approved an ordinance of secession, declaring Florida to be "a sovereign and independent nation"—an apparent reassertion to the preamble in Florida's Constitution of 1838, in which Florida agreed with Congress to be a "Free and Independent State." Although not directly related to the issue of slavery, the ordinance declared Florida's secession from the Union, allowing it to become one of the founding members of the Confederate States, a looser union of states.
The confederal union received little help from Florida; the 15,000 men it offered were generally sent elsewhere. The largest engagements in the state were the Battle of Olustee, on February 20, 1864, and the Battle of Natural Bridge, on March 6, 1865. Both were Confederate victories. The war ended in 1865.
Following the American Civil War, Florida's congressional representation was restored on June 25, 1868, albeit forcefully after Radical Reconstruction and the installation of unelected government officials under the final authority of federal military commanders. After the Reconstruction period ended in 1876, white Democrats regained power in the state legislature. In 1885, they created a new constitution, followed by statutes through 1889 that disfranchised most blacks and many poor whites.
Until the mid-20th century, Florida was the least populous state in the southern United States. In 1900, its population was only 528,542, of whom nearly 44% were African American, the same proportion as before the Civil War. The boll weevil devastated cotton crops.
Forty thousand blacks, roughly one-fifth of their 1900 population, left the state in the Great Migration. They left due to lynchings and racial violence, and for better opportunities. Disfranchisement for most African Americans in the state persisted until the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s gained federal legislation in 1965 to enforce protection of their constitutional suffrage.
Historically, Florida's economy has been based primarily upon agricultural products such as cattle, sugar cane, citrus fruits, tomatoes, and strawberries.
Economic prosperity in the 1920s stimulated tourism to Florida and related development of hotels and resort communities. Combined with its sudden elevation in profile was the Florida land boom of the 1920s, which brought a brief period of intense land development. Devastating hurricanes in 1926 and 1928, followed by the Great Depression, brought that period to a halt. Florida's economy did not fully recover until the military buildup for World War II.
In 1939, Florida was described as "still very largely an empty State." Subsequently, the growing availability of air conditioning, the climate, and a low cost of living made the state a haven. Migration from the Rust Belt and the Northeast sharply increased Florida's population after 1945. In the 1960s, many refugees from Cuba fleeing Fidel Castro's communist regime arrived in Miami at the Freedom Tower, where the federal government used the facility to process, document and provide medical and dental services for the newcomers. As a result, the Freedom Tower was also called the "Ellis Island of the South." In recent decades, more migrants have come for the jobs in a developing economy.
With a population of more than 18 million, according to the 2010 census, Florida is the most populous state in the southeastern United States and the third-most populous in the United States.
After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017, a large population of Puerto Ricans began moving to Florida to escape the widespread destruction. Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans arrived in Florida after Maria dissipated, with nearly half of them arriving in Orlando and large populations also moving to Tampa, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
Much of Florida is on a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean and the Straits of Florida. Spanning two time zones, it extends to the northwest into a panhandle, extending along the northern Gulf of Mexico. It is bordered on the north by Georgia and Alabama, and on the west, at the end of the panhandle, by Alabama. It is the only state that borders the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Florida also is the southernmost state in the 48 contiguous states, with Hawaii being the only state reaching farther south. Florida is west of The Bahamas and 90 miles (140 km) north of Cuba. Florida is one of the largest states east of the Mississippi River, and only Alaska and Michigan are larger in water area. The water boundary is 3 nautical miles (3.5 mi; 5.6 km) offshore in the Atlantic Ocean and 9 nautical miles (10 mi; 17 km) offshore in the Gulf of Mexico.
At 345 feet (105 m) above mean sea level, Britton Hill is the highest point in Florida and the lowest highpoint of any U.S. state. Much of the state south of Orlando lies at a lower elevation than northern Florida, and is fairly level. Much of the state is at or near sea level. However, some places such as Clearwater have promontories that rise 50 to 100 ft (15 to 30 m) above the water. Much of Central and North Florida, typically 25 mi (40 km) or more away from the coastline, have rolling hills with elevations ranging from 100 to 250 ft (30 to 76 m). The highest point in peninsular Florida (east and south of the Suwannee River), Sugarloaf Mountain, is a 312-foot (95 m) peak in Lake County. On average, Florida is the flattest state in the United States.
The climate of Florida is tempered somewhat by the fact that no part of the state is distant from the ocean. North of Lake Okeechobee, the prevalent climate is humid subtropical (Köppen: Cfa), while areas south of the lake (including the Florida Keys) have a true tropical climate (Köppen: Aw). Mean high temperatures for late July are primarily in the low 90s Fahrenheit (32–34 °C). Mean low temperatures for early to mid January range from the low 40s Fahrenheit (4–7 °C) in north Florida to above 60 °F (16 °C) from Miami on southward. With an average daily temperature of 70.7 °F (21.5 °C), it is the warmest state in the U.S.
In the summer, high temperatures in the state seldom exceed 100 °F (38 °C). Several record cold maxima have been in the 30s °F (−1 to 4 °C) and record lows have been in the 10s (−12 to −7 °C). These temperatures normally extend at most a few days at a time in the northern and central parts of Florida. South Florida, however, rarely encounters below freezing temperatures. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Florida was 109 °F (43 °C), which was set on June 29, 1931 in Monticello. The coldest temperature was −2 °F (−19 °C), on February 13, 1899, just 25 miles (40 km) away, in Tallahassee.
Due to its subtropical and tropical climate, Florida rarely receives measurable snowfall. However, on rare occasions, a combination of cold moisture and freezing temperatures can result in snowfall in the farthest northern regions like Jacksonville, Gainesville or Pensacola. Frost, which is more common than snow, sometimes occurs in the panhandle. The USDA Plant hardiness zones for the state range from zone 8a (no colder than 10 °F or −12 °C) in the inland western panhandle to zone 11b (no colder than 45 °F or 7 °C) in the lower Florida Keys. Fog also occurs all over the state or climate of Florida.
|Average high and low temperatures for various Florida cities|
Florida's nickname is the "Sunshine State", but severe weather is a common occurrence in the state. Central Florida is known as the lightning capital of the United States, as it experiences more lightning strikes than anywhere else in the country. Florida has one of the highest average precipitation levels of any state, in large part because afternoon thunderstorms are common in much of the state from late spring until early autumn. A narrow eastern part of the state including Orlando and Jacksonville receives between 2,400 and 2,800 hours of sunshine annually. The rest of the state, including Miami, receives between 2,800 and 3,200 hours annually.
Florida leads the United States in tornadoes per area (when including waterspouts), but they do not typically reach the intensity of those in the Midwest and Great Plains. Hail often accompanies the most severe thunderstorms.
Hurricanes pose a severe threat each year during June 1 to November 30 hurricane season, particularly from August to October. Florida is the most hurricane-prone state, with subtropical or tropical water on a lengthy coastline. Of the category 4 or higher storms that have struck the United States, 83% have either hit Florida or Texas.
From 1851 to 2006, Florida was struck by 114 hurricanes, 37 of them major—category 3 and above. It is rare for a hurricane season to pass without any impact in the state by at least a tropical storm.
In 1992, Florida was the site of what was then the costliest weather disaster in U.S. history, Hurricane Andrew, which caused more than $25 billion in damages when it struck during August; it held that distinction until 2005, when Hurricane Katrina surpassed it, and it has since been surpassed by six other hurricanes. Andrew is currently the second costliest hurricane in Florida's history.
Florida is host to many types of wildlife including:
Mammals: Florida panther, northern river otter, mink, eastern cottontail rabbit, marsh rabbit, raccoon, striped skunk, squirrel, white-tailed deer, Key deer, bobcats, red fox, gray fox, coyote, wild boar, Florida black bear, nine-banded armadillos, Virginia opossum
Reptiles: eastern diamondback and pygmy rattlesnakes, gopher tortoise, green and leatherback sea turtles, and eastern indigo snake. In 2012, there were about one million American alligators and 1,500 crocodiles. Birds: peregrine falcon, bald eagle, American flamingo, northern caracara, snail kite, osprey, white and brown pelicans, sea gulls, whooping and sandhill cranes, roseate spoonbill, American white ibis, Florida scrub jay (state endemic), and others. One subspecies of wild turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, namely subspecies osceola, is found only in Florida. The state is a wintering location for many species of eastern North American birds.
As a result of climate change, there have been small numbers of several new species normally native to cooler areas to the north: snowy owls, snow buntings, harlequin ducks, and razorbills. These have been seen in the northern part of the state.
Florida also has more than 500 nonnative animal species and 1,000 nonnative insects found throughout the state. Some exotic species living in Florida include the Burmese python, green iguana, veiled chameleon, Argentine black and white tegu, peacock bass, mayan cichlid, lionfish, White-nosed coati, rhesus macaque, vervet monkey, Cuban tree frog, cane toad, Indian peafowl, monk parakeet, tui parakeet, and many more. Some of these nonnative species do not pose a threat to any native species, but some do threaten the native species of Florida by living in the state and eating them.
There are about 3,000 different types of wildflowers in Florida. This is the third-most diverse state in the union, behind California and Texas, both larger states. In Florida, wild populations of coconut palms extend up the East Coast from Key West to Jupiter Inlet, and up the West Coast from Marco Island to Sarasota. Many of the smallest coral islands in the Florida Keys are known to have abundant coconut palms sprouting from coconuts that have drifted or been deposited by ocean currents. Coconut palms are cultivated north of south Florida to roughly Cocoa Beach on the East Coast and the Tampa Bay Area on the West Coast.
On the east coast of the state, mangroves have normally dominated the coast from Cocoa Beach southward; salt marshes from St. Augustine northward. From St. Augustine south to Cocoa Beach, the coast fluctuates between the two, depending on the annual weather conditions. All three mangrove species flower in the spring and early summer. Propagules fall from late summer through early autumn. Florida mangrove plant communities covered an estimated 430,000 to 540,000 acres (1,700 to 2,200 km2) in Florida in 1981. Ninety percent of the Florida mangroves are in southern Florida, in Collier, Lee, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties.
The Florida Reef is the only living coral barrier reef in the continental United States. It is also the third largest coral barrier reef system in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef and the Belize Barrier Reef. The reef lies a little bit off of the coast of the Florida Keys. A lot of the reef lies within John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which was the first underwater park in the United States. The park contains a lot of tropical vegetation, marine life, and seabirds. The Florida Reef extends into other parks and sanctuaries as well including Dry Tortugas National Park, Biscayne National Park, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Almost 1,400 species of marine plants and animals, including more than 40 species of stony corals and 500 species of fish, live on the Florida Reef. The Florida Reef, being a delicate ecosystem like other coral reefs, faces many threats including overfishing, plastics in the ocean, coral bleaching, rising sea levels, and changes in sea surface temperature.
Florida is a low per capita energy user. It is estimated that approximately 4% of energy in the state is generated through renewable resources. Florida's energy production is 6% of the nation's total energy output, while total production of pollutants is lower, with figures of 6% for nitrogen oxide, 5% for carbon dioxide, and 4% for sulfur dioxide. Wildfires in Florida occur at all times of the year.
All potable water resources have been controlled by the state government through five regional water authorities since 1972.
Red tide has been an issue on the southwest coast of Florida, as well as other areas. While there has been a great deal of conjecture over the cause of the toxic algae bloom, there is no evidence that it is being caused by pollution or that there has been an increase in the duration or frequency of red tides. Red tide is now killing off wildlife or Tropical fish and coral reefs putting all in danger.
The Florida panther is close to extinction. A record 23 were killed in 2009, mainly by automobile collisions, leaving about 100 individuals in the wild. The Center for Biological Diversity and others have therefore called for a special protected area for the panther to be established. Manatees are also dying at a rate higher than their reproduction. American flamingos are rare to see in Florida due to being hunted in the 1900s, where it was to a point considered completely extirpated. Now the flamingos are reproducing toward making a comeback to South Florida since it is adamantly considered native to the state and also are now being protected.
Much of Florida has an elevation of less than 12 feet (3.7 m), including many populated areas. Therefore, it is susceptible to rising sea levels associated with global warming. The Atlantic beaches that are vital to the state's economy are being washed out to sea due to rising sea levels caused by climate change. The Miami beach area, close to the continental shelf, is running out of accessible offshore sand reserves. Elevated temperatures can damage coral reefs, causing coral bleaching. The first recorded bleaching incident on the Florida Reef was in 1973. Incidents of bleaching have become more frequent in recent decades, in correlation with a rise in sea surface temperatures. White band disease has also adversely affected corals on the Florida Reef.
The Florida peninsula is a porous plateau of karst limestone sitting atop bedrock known as the Florida Platform. The largest deposits of potash in the United States are found in Florida. The largest deposits of rock phosphate in the country are found in Florida. Most of this is in Bone Valley.
Extended systems of underwater caves, sinkholes and springs are found throughout the state and supply most of the water used by residents. The limestone is topped with sandy soils deposited as ancient beaches over millions of years as global sea levels rose and fell. During the last glacial period, lower sea levels and a drier climate revealed a much wider peninsula, largely savanna. While there are sinkholes in much of the state, modern sinkholes have tended to be in West-Central Florida. Everglades National Park covers 1,509,000 acres (6,110 km2), throughout Dade, Monroe, and Collier counties in Florida. The Everglades, an enormously wide, slow-flowing river encompasses the southern tip of the peninsula. Sinkhole damage claims on property in the state exceeded a total of $2 billion from 2006 through 2010. Winter Park Sinkhole, in central Florida, appeared May 8, 1981. It was approximately 350 feet (107 m) wide and 75 feet (23 m) deep. It was notable as one of the largest recent sinkholes to form in the United States. It is now known as Lake Rose. The Econlockhatchee River (Econ River for short) is an 87.7-kilometer-long (54.5 mi) north-flowing blackwater tributary of the St. Johns River, the longest river in the U.S. state of Florida. The Econ River flows through Osceola, Orange, and Seminole counties in Central Florida, just east of the Orlando Metropolitan Area (east of State Road 417). It is a designated Outstanding Florida Waters.
The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Florida was 21,299,325 on July 1, 2018, a 13.29% increase since the 2010 United States Census. The population of Florida in the 2010 census was 18,801,310. Florida was the seventh fastest-growing state in the U.S. in the 12-month period ending July 1, 2012. In 2010, the center of population of Florida was located between Fort Meade and Frostproof. The center of population has moved less than 5 miles (8 km) to the east and approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) to the north between 1980 and 2010 and has been located in Polk County since the 1960 census. The population exceeded 19.7 million by December 2014, surpassing the population of the state of New York for the first time. The Florida population was 21,299,325 residents or people according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2018 Population Estimates Program.
Florida contains the highest percentage of people over 65 (17%). There were 186,102 military retirees living in the state in 2008. About two-thirds of the population was born in another state, the second highest in the U.S.
In 2010, undocumented immigrants constituted an estimated 5.7% of the population. This was the sixth highest percentage of any U.S. state. There were an estimated 675,000 illegal immigrants in the state in 2010.
A 2013 Gallup poll indicated that 47% of the residents agreed that Florida was the best state to live in. Results in other states ranged from a low of 18% to a high of 77%.
The largest metropolitan area in the state as well as the entire southeastern United States is the Miami metropolitan area, with about 6.06 million people. The Tampa Bay Area, with over 3.02 million people, is the second largest; the Orlando metropolitan area, with over 2.44 million people, is the third; and the Jacksonville metropolitan area, with over 1.47 million people, is fourth.
The legal name in Florida for a city, town or village is "municipality". In Florida there is no legal difference between towns, villages and cities.
In 2012, 75% of the population lived within 10 miles (16 km) of the coastline.
Hispanic and Latinos of any race made up 22.5% of the population in 2010. As of 2011, 57% of Florida's population younger than age 1 were minorities (meaning that they had at least one parent who was not non-Hispanic white).
In 2010, 6.9% of the population (1,269,765) considered themselves to be of only American ancestry (regardless of race or ethnicity). Many of these were of English or Scotch-Irish descent; however, their families have lived in the state for so long, that they choose to identify as having "American" ancestry or do not know their ancestry. In the 1980 United States census, the largest ancestry group reported in Florida was English with 2,232,514 Floridians claiming that they were of English or mostly English American ancestry. Some of their ancestry went back to the original thirteen colonies.
As of 2010, those of (non-Hispanic white) European ancestry accounted for 57.9% of Florida's population. Out of the 57.9%, the largest groups were 12.0% German (2,212,391), 10.7% Irish (1,979,058), 8.8% English (1,629,832), 6.6% Italian (1,215,242), 2.8% Polish (511,229), and 2.7% French (504,641). White Americans of all European backgrounds are present in all areas of the state. In 1970, non-Hispanic whites were nearly 80% of Florida's population. Those of English and Irish ancestry are present in large numbers in all the urban/suburban areas across the state. Some native white Floridians, especially those who have descended from long-time Florida families, may refer to themselves as "Florida crackers"; others see the term as a derogatory one. Like whites in most other states of the southern U.S., they descend mainly from English and Scots-Irish settlers, as well as some other British American settlers.
As of 2010, those of Hispanic or Latino ancestry accounted for 22.5% (4,223,806) of Florida's population. Out of the 22.5%, the largest groups were 6.5% (1,213,438) Cuban, 4.5% (847,550) Puerto Rican, 3.3% (629,718) Mexican, and 1.6% (300,414) Colombian. Florida's Hispanic population includes large communities of Cuban Americans in Miami and Tampa, Puerto Ricans in Orlando and Tampa, and Mexican/Central American migrant workers. The Hispanic community continues to grow more affluent and mobile. As of 2011, 57.0% of Florida's children under the age of 1 belonged to minority groups. Florida has a large and diverse Hispanic population, with Cubans and Puerto Ricans being the largest groups in the state. Nearly 80% of Cuban Americans live in Florida, especially South Florida where there is a long-standing and affluent Cuban community. Florida has the second largest Puerto Rican population after New York, as well as the fastest-growing in the nation. Puerto Ricans are more widespread throughout the state, though the heaviest concentrations are in the Orlando area of Central Florida.
As of 2010, those of African ancestry accounted for 16.0% of Florida's population, which includes African Americans. Out of the 16.0%, 4.0% (741,879) were West Indian or Afro-Caribbean American. During the early 1900s, black people made up nearly half of the state's population. In response to segregation, disfranchisement and agricultural depression, many African Americans migrated from Florida to northern cities in the Great Migration, in waves from 1910 to 1940, and again starting in the later 1940s. They moved for jobs, better education for their children and the chance to vote and participate in society. By 1960, the proportion of African Americans in the state had declined to 18%. Conversely, large numbers of northern whites moved to the state. Today, large concentrations of black residents can be found in northern and central Florida. Aside from blacks descended from African slaves brought to the southern U.S., there are also large numbers of blacks of West Indian, recent African, and Afro-Latino immigrant origins, especially in the Miami/South Florida area.
In 2016, Florida had the highest percentage of West Indians in the United States at 4.5%, with 2.3% (483,874) from Haitian ancestry, 1.5% (303,527) Jamaican, and 0.2% (31,966) Bahamian, with the other West Indian groups making up the rest.
In 1988, English was affirmed as the state's official language in the Florida Constitution. Spanish is also widely spoken, especially as immigration has continued from Latin America. Twenty percent of the population speak Spanish as their first language. Twenty-seven percent of Florida's population reports speaking a mother language other than English, and more than 200 first languages other than English are spoken at home in the state.
The most common languages spoken in Florida as a first language in 2010 are:
Florida is mostly Christian, although there is a large irreligious and relatively significant Jewish community. Protestants account for almost half of the population, but the Catholic Church is the largest single denomination in the state mainly due to its large Hispanic population and other groups like Haitians. Protestants are very diverse, although Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals and nondenominational Protestants are the largest groups. There is also a sizable Jewish community in South Florida. This is the largest Jewish population in the southern U.S. and the third-largest in the U.S. behind those of New York and California.
The basic structure, duties, function, and operations of the government of the state of Florida are defined and established by the Florida Constitution, which establishes the basic law of the state and guarantees various rights and freedoms of the people. The state government consists of three separate branches: judicial, executive, and legislative. The legislature enacts bills, which, if signed by the governor, become law.
The Florida Legislature comprises the Florida Senate, which has 40 members, and the Florida House of Representatives, which has 120 members. The current Governor of Florida is Ron DeSantis. The Florida Supreme Court consists of a Chief Justice and six Justices.
Florida has 67 counties. Some reference materials may show only 66 because Duval County is consolidated with the City of Jacksonville. There are 379 cities in Florida (out of 411) that report regularly to the Florida Department of Revenue, but there are other incorporated municipalities that do not. The state government's primary source of revenue is sales tax. Florida does not impose a personal income tax. The primary revenue source for cities and counties is property tax; unpaid taxes are subject to tax sales, which are held (at the county level) in May and (due to the extensive use of online bidding sites) are highly popular.
|1952||74.8% 624,463||25.2% 210,009|
|1956||73.7% 747,753||26.3% 266,980|
|1960||59.8% 849,407||40.1% 569,936|
|1964||56.1% 933,554||41.3% 686,297|
|1966||44.9% 668,233||55.1% 821,190|
|1970||56.9% 984,305||43.1% 746,243|
|1974||61.2% 1,118,954||38.8% 709,438|
|1978||55.6% 1,406,580||44.4% 1,123,888|
|1982||64.7% 1,739,553||35.3% 949,013|
|1986||45.4% 1,538,620||54.6% 1,847,525|
|1990||56.5% 1,995,206||43.5% 1,535,068|
|1994||50.8% 2,135,008||49.2% 2,071,068|
|1998||44.7% 1,773,054||55.3% 2,191,105|
|2002||43.2% 2,201,427||56.0% 2,856,845|
|2006||45.1% 2,178,289||52.2% 2,519,845|
|2010||47.7% 2,557,785||48.9% 2,619,335|
|2014||47.1% 2,801,198||48.1% 2,865,343|
|2018||49.2% 4,043,723||49.6% 4,076,186|
|1952||45.0% 444,950||55.0% 544,036|
|1956||42.7% 480,371||57.3% 643,849|
|1960||48.5% 748,700||51.5% 795,476|
|1964||51.1% 948,540||48.8% 905,941|
|1968||30.9% 676,794||40.5% 886,804|
|1972||27.8% 718,117||71.9% 1,857,759|
|1976||51.9% 1,636,000||46.6% 1,469,531|
|1980||38.5% 1,419,475||55.5% 2,046,951|
|1984||34.7% 1,448,816||65.3% 2,730,350|
|1988||38.5% 1,656,701||60.9% 2,618,885|
|1992||39.0% 2,072,698||40.9% 2,173,310|
|1996||48.0% 2,546,870||42.3% 2,244,536|
|2000||48.8% 2,912,253||48.9% 2,912,790|
|2004||47.1% 3,583,544||52.1% 3,964,522|
|2008||50.9% 4,282,367||48.1% 4,046,219|
|2012||49.9% 4,237,756||49.0% 4,163,447|
|2016||47.4% 4,504,975||48.6% 4,617,886|
From 1952 to 1964, most voters were registered Democrats, but the state voted for the Republican presidential candidate in every election except for 1964. The following year, Congress passed and President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, providing for oversight of state practices and enforcement of constitutional voting rights for African Americans and other minorities in order to prevent the discrimination and disenfranchisement that had excluded most of them for decades from the political process.
From the 1930s through much of the 1960s, Florida was essentially a one-party state dominated by white conservative Democrats, who together with other Democrats of the "Solid South", exercised considerable control in Congress. They have gained slightly less federal money from national programs than they have paid in taxes. Since the 1970s, conservative white voters in the state have largely shifted from the Democratic to the Republican Party. Though the majority of registered voters in Florida are Democrats. It continued to support Republican presidential candidates through 2004, except in 1976 and 1996, when the Democratic nominee was from "the South".
In the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, Barack Obama carried the state as a northern Democrat, attracting high voter turnout, especially among the young, Independents, and minority voters, of whom Hispanics comprise an increasingly large proportion. 2008 marked the first time since 1944, when Franklin D. Roosevelt carried the state for the fourth time, that Florida was carried by a Northern Democrat for president.
The first post-Reconstruction era Republican elected to Congress from Florida was William C. Cramer in 1954 from Pinellas County on the Gulf Coast, where demographic changes were underway. In this period, African Americans were still disenfranchised by the state's constitution and discriminatory practices; in the 19th century, they had made up most of the Republican Party. Cramer built a different Republican Party in Florida, attracting local white conservatives and transplants from northern and midwestern states. In 1966, Claude R. Kirk, Jr. was elected as the first post-Reconstruction Republican governor, in an upset election. In 1968, Edward J. Gurney, also a white conservative, was elected as the state's first post-reconstruction Republican US Senator. In 1970, Democrats took the governorship and the open US Senate seat, and maintained dominance for years.
Since the mid-20th century, Florida has been considered a bellwether, voting for 15 successful presidential candidates since 1952. During such period, it has voted for a losing candidate only twice.
In 1998, Democratic voters dominated areas of the state with a high percentage of racial minorities and transplanted white liberals from the northeastern United States, known colloquially as "snowbirds". South Florida and the Miami metropolitan area are dominated by both racial minorities and white liberals. Because of this, the area has consistently voted as one of the most Democratic areas of the state. The Daytona Beach area is similar demographically and the city of Orlando has a large Hispanic population, which has often favored Democrats. Republicans, made up mostly of white conservatives, have dominated throughout much of the rest of Florida, particularly in the more rural and suburban areas. This is characteristic of its voter base throughout the Deep South.
The fast-growing I-4 corridor area, which runs through Central Florida and connects the cities of Daytona Beach, Orlando, and Tampa/St. Petersburg, has had a fairly even breakdown of Republican and Democratic voters. The area is often seen as a merging point of the conservative northern portion of the state and the liberal southern portion, making it the biggest swing area in the state. Since the late 20th century, the voting results in this area, containing 40% of Florida voters, has often determined who will win the state of Florida in presidential elections.
The Democratic Party has maintained an edge in voter registration, both statewide and in 40 of the 67 counties, including Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties, the state's three most populous.
In 2000, George W. Bush won the U.S. Presidential election by a margin of 271–266 in the Electoral College. Of the 271 electoral votes for Bush, 25 were cast by electors from Florida. The Florida results were contested and a recount was ordered by the court, with the results settled in a court decision.
Reapportionment following the 2010 United States Census gave the state two more seats in the House of Representatives. The legislature's redistricting, announced in 2012, was quickly challenged in court, on the grounds that it had unfairly benefited Republican interests. In 2015, the Florida Supreme Court ruled on appeal that the congressional districts had to be redrawn because of the legislature's violation of the Fair District Amendments to the state constitution passed in 2010; it accepted a new map in early December 2015.
The political make-up of congressional and legislative districts has enabled Republicans to control the governorship and most statewide elective offices, and 17 of the state's 27 seats in the 2012 House of Representatives. Florida has been listed as a swing state in Presidential elections since 1952, voting for the losing candidate only twice in that period of time.
In the closely contested 2000 election, the state played a pivotal role. Out of more than 5.8 million votes for the two main contenders Bush and Al Gore, around 500 votes separated the two candidates for the all-decisive Florida electoral votes that landed Bush the election win. Florida's felony disenfranchisement law is more severe than most European nations or other American states. A 2002 study in the American Sociological Review concluded that "if the state's 827,000 disenfranchised felons had voted at the same rate as other Floridians, Democratic candidate Al Gore would have won Florida—and the presidency—by more than 80,000 votes."
In 2008, delegates of both the Republican Florida primary election and Democratic Florida primary election were stripped of half of their votes when the conventions met in August due to violation of both parties' national rules.
In the 2010 elections, Republicans solidified their dominance statewide, by winning the governor's mansion, and maintaining firm majorities in both houses of the state legislature. They won four previously Democratic-held seats to create a 19–6 Republican-majority delegation representing Florida in the federal House of Representatives.
In 2010, more than 63% of state voters approved the initiated Amendments 5 and 6 to the state constitution, to ensure more fairness in districting. These have become known as the Fair District Amendments. As a result of the 2010 United States Census, Florida gained two House of Representative seats in 2012. The legislature issued revised congressional districts in 2012, which were immediately challenged in court by supporters of the above amendments.
The court ruled in 2014, after lengthy testimony, that at least two districts had to be redrawn because of gerrymandering. After this was appealed, in July 2015 the Florida Supreme Court ruled that lawmakers had followed an illegal and unconstitutional process overly influenced by party operatives, and ruled that at least eight districts had to be redrawn. On December 2, 2015, a 5–2 majority of the Court accepted a new map of congressional districts, some of which was drawn by challengers. Their ruling affirmed the map previously approved by Leon County Judge Terry Lewis, who had overseen the original trial. It particularly makes changes in South Florida. There are likely to be additional challenges to the map and districts.
According to The Sentencing Project, the effect of Florida's felony disenfranchisement law is such that in 2014, "[m]ore than one in ten Floridians – and nearly one in four African-American Floridians – are [were] shut out of the polls because of felony convictions", although they had completed sentences and parole/probation requirements.
In 1972, the state made personal injury protection auto insurance mandatory for drivers, becoming the second in the nation to enact a no-fault insurance law. The ease of receiving payments under this law is seen as precipitating a major increase in insurance fraud. Auto insurance fraud was the highest in the nation in 2011, estimated at close to $1 billion. Fraud is particularly centered in the Miami-Dade metropolitan and Tampa areas.
Capital punishment is applied in Florida. In 1995, the legislature modified Chapter 921 to provide that felons should serve at least 85% of their sentence. Florida approved its lottery by amending the constitution in 1984. It approved slot machines in Broward and Miami-Dade County in 2004. It has disapproved casinos (outside of sovereign Seminole and Miccosukee tribal areas) three times: 1978, 1986, and 1994. If a person committing a predicate felony directly contributed to the death of the victim then the person will be charged with murder in the first degree – felony murder which is a capital felony. The only two sentences available for that statute are life in prison and the death penalty. If a person commits a predicate felony, but was not the direct contributor to the death of the victim then the person will be charged with murder in the second degree – felony murder which is a felony of the first degree. The maximum prison term is life.
Florida's economy ranks among the largest in the world. As of Q2 2018, the gross state product (GSP) is about $1.0 trillion, the fourth largest economy in the United States. Florida is responsible for 5.0 percent of the United States' approximate $20.4 trillion gross domestic product (GDP). As of 2018, Florida's nominal GDP is larger than all but 16 countries. In terms of Purchasing Power Parity, it is larger than all but 24 countries. In the twentieth century, tourism, industry, construction, international banking, biomedical and life sciences, healthcare research, simulation training, aerospace and defense, and commercial space travel have contributed to the state's economic development.
The five largest sectors of employment in Florida are: trade, transportation, and utilities; government; professional and business services; education and health services; and leisure and hospitality. In output, the five largest sectors are: finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing, followed by professional and business services; government and government enterprises; educational services, health care, and social assistance; and retail trade.
In 2017, Florida became the United States' eighth largest exporter of trade goods. Florida's top countries for export are Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Germany, and Colombia. In 2017, Florida became the United States' tenth largest importer of trade goods. Florida imported US$75.4 billion worth of goods from around the globe in 2017. The value of Florida's imports equals 3.2% of United States' overall imported products for 2017. Florida's top countries for imports are China, Mexico, Canada, Germany, and France.
The Miami Metropolitan Area has the highest GDP of all the metro areas in Florida with $344.9 billion in 2017. This is more than twice the number of the next metro area, the Tampa Bay Area, which has a GDP of $145.3 billion. The economy of Florida is driven almost entirely by its nineteen metropolitan areas. In 2004, they had a combined total of 95.7% of the state's domestic product.
Per capita GDP in 2017 was $39,842, ranking fortieth in the nation. Per capita income varies widely by geographic region and profession. North Florida and the rural counties of the Florida Panhandle are the most impoverished in the state. Florida has a poverty rate of 14.0%, the seventeenth lowest of any state in the country. Many coastal cities include some of the wealthiest per-capita areas in the United States.
In 2018, there were more than 427,824 millionaires in the state, the fourth highest number in the nation.
For 2018–19, the approved state budget is $88.7 billion, a 4.4% increase over the previous 2017–18 budget of $84.9 billion. Chief Executive Magazine named Florida the third "Best State for Business" in 2011.
In 2017, Florida's per capita personal income was $47,684, ranking 26th in the nation. The state's unemployment rate in September 2018 was 3.5% and ranked as the 18th lowest in the United States. Florida is one of seven states that do not impose a personal income tax.
In 2017, Florida had a personal income of $1,000,624,065(in thousands of dollars). This personal income ranked 4th in the United States.
Florida's constitution establishes a state minimum wage that is adjusted for inflation annually. As of January 1, 2017, Florida's minimum wage was $5.08 for tipped positions, and $8.10 for non-tipped positions, which was higher than the federal rate of $7.25.
The poverty rate in Florida is 14% in 2018. This is down from a peak of 17.1% in 2012.
In the early 20th century, land speculators discovered Florida, and businessmen such as Henry Plant and Henry Flagler developed railroad systems, which led people to move in, drawn by the weather and local economies. From then on, tourism boomed, fueling a cycle of development that overwhelmed a great deal of farmland.
At the end of the third quarter of 2008, Florida had the highest mortgage delinquency rate in the U.S., with 7.8% of mortgages delinquent at least 60 days. A 2009 list of national housing markets that were hard hit in the real estate crash included a disproportionate number in Florida. The early 21st-century building boom left Florida with 300,000 vacant homes in 2009, according to state figures. In 2009, the US Census Bureau estimated that Floridians spent an average 49.1% of personal income on housing-related costs, the third highest percentage in the U.S.
In the third quarter of 2009, there were 278,189 delinquent loans, 80,327 foreclosures. Sales of existing homes in February 2010 was 11,890, up 21% from the same month in 2009. Only two metropolitan areas showed a decrease in homes sold: Panama City and Brevard County. The average sales price for an existing house was $131,000, 7% decrease from the prior year.
If you can't find something to do in Florida, you're just boring...
Tourism makes up one of the largest sectors of the state economy, with nearly 1.4 million people employed in the tourism industry in 2016 (a record for the state, surpassing the 1.2 million employment from 2015).
In 2015, Florida broke the 100-million visitor mark for the first time in state history by hosting a record 105 million visitors. The state has set tourism records for eight consecutive years, most recently breaking the 120-million visitor mark for the first time in 2018 with 126.1 million visitors reported.
Many beach towns are popular tourist destinations, particularly during winter and spring break, although activist David Hogg has called for a statewide boycott in 2018 unless state legislators pass substantive gun reform. Twenty-three million tourists visited Florida beaches in 2000, spending $22 billion. The public has a right to beach access under the public trust doctrine, but some areas have access effectively blocked by private owners for a long distance.
Amusement parks, especially in the Greater Orlando area, make up a significant portion of tourism. The Walt Disney World Resort is the most visited vacation resort in the world with over 50 million annual visitors, consisting of four theme parks, 27 themed resort hotels, 9 non–Disney hotels, two water parks, four golf courses and other recreational venues. Other major theme parks in the area include Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa. Today, Walt Disney World is the most visited vacation resort in the world, with an average annual attendance of over 52 million.
Agriculture is the second largest industry in the state. Citrus fruit, especially oranges, are a major part of the economy, and Florida produces the majority of citrus fruit grown in the United States. In 2006, 67% of all citrus, 74% of oranges, 58% of tangerines, and 54% of grapefruit were grown in Florida. About 95% of commercial orange production in the state is destined for processing (mostly as orange juice, the official state beverage).
Citrus canker continues to be an issue of concern. From 1997 to 2013, the growing of citrus trees has declined 25%, from 600,000 acres (240,000 ha) to 450,000 acres (180,000 ha). Citrus greening disease is incurable. A study states that it has caused the loss of $4.5 billion between 2006 and 2012. As of 2014, it was the major agricultural concern.
In 2009, fishing was a $6 billion industry, employing 60,000 jobs for sports and commercial purposes.
Phosphate mining, concentrated in the Bone Valley, is the state's third-largest industry. The state produces about 75% of the phosphate required by farmers in the United States and 25% of the world supply, with about 95% used for agriculture (90% for fertilizer and 5% for livestock feed supplements) and 5% used for other products.
After the watershed events of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the state of Florida began investing in economic development through the Office of Trade, Tourism, and Economic Development. Governor Jeb Bush realized that watershed events such as Andrew negatively impacted Florida's backbone industry of tourism severely. The office was directed to target Medical/Bio-Sciences among others. Three years later, The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) announced it had chosen Florida for its newest expansion. In 2003, TSRI announced plans to establish a major science center in Palm Beach, a 364,000 square feet (33,800 m2) facility on 100 acres (40 ha), which TSRI planned to occupy in 2006.
Another major economic engine in Florida is the United States military. There are 24 military bases in the state, housing three Unified Combatant Commands; United States Central Command in Tampa, United States Southern Command in Doral, and United States Special Operations Command in Tampa. Some 109,390 U.S. military personnel stationed in Florida, contributing, directly and indirectly, $52 billion a year to the state's economy.
In 2009, there were 89,706 federal workers employed within the state. Tens of thousands more employees work for contractors who have federal contracts, including those with the military.
In 2012, government of all levels was a top employer in all counties in the state, because this classification includes public school teachers and other school staff. School boards employ nearly 1 of every 30 workers in the state. The federal military was the top employer in three counties.
Florida has many seaports that serve container ships, tank ships, and cruise lines. Major ports in Florida include Port Tampa Bay in Tampa, Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Port of Jacksonville in Jacksonville, PortMiami in Miami, Port Canaveral in Brevard County, Port Manatee in Manatee County, and Port of Palm Beach in Riviera Beach. The world's top three busiest cruise ports are found in Florida with PortMiami as the busiest and Port Canaveral and Port Everglades as the second and third busiest. Port Tampa Bay meanwhile is the largest in the state, having the most tonnage. As of 2013, Port Tampa Bay ranks 16th in the United States by tonnage in domestic trade, 32nd in foreign trade, and 22nd in total trade. It is the largest, most diversified port in Florida, has an economic impact of more than $15.1 billion, and supports over 80,000 jobs.
There were 2.7 million Medicaid patients in Florida in 2009. The governor has proposed adding $2.6 billion to care for the expected 300,000 additional patients in 2011. The cost of caring for 2.3 million clients in 2010 was $18.8 billion. This is nearly 30% of Florida's budget. Medicaid paid for 60% of all births in Florida in 2009. The state has a program for those not covered by Medicaid.
In 2013, Florida refused to participate in providing coverage for the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act, popularly called Obamacare. The Florida legislature also refused to accept additional Federal funding for Medicaid, although this would have helped its constituents at no cost to the state. As a result, Florida is second only to Texas in the percentage of its citizens without health insurance.
Florida has the largest collection of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne buildings in both the United States and the entire world, most of which are located in the Miami metropolitan area, especially Miami Beach's Art Deco District, constructed as the city was becoming a resort destination. A unique architectural design found only in Florida is the post-World War II Miami Modern, which can be seen in areas such as Miami's MiMo Historic District.
Being of early importance as a regional center of banking and finance, the architecture of Jacksonville displays a wide variety of styles and design principles. Many of state's earliest skyscrapers were constructed in Jacksonville, dating as far back as 1902, and last holding a state height record from 1974 to 1981. The city is endowed with one of the largest collections of Prairie School buildings outside of the Midwest. Jacksonville is also noteworthy for its collection of Mid-Century modern architecture.
Some sections of the state feature architectural styles including Spanish revival, Florida vernacular, and Mediterranean Revival. A notable collection of these styles can be found in St. Augustine, the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement within the borders of the United States.
With an educational system made up of public school districts and independent private institutions, Florida had 2,833,115 students enrolled in 4,269 public primary, secondary, and vocational schools in Florida's 67 regular or 7 special school districts as of 2018. Miami-Dade County is the largest of Florida's 67 regular districts with over 350 thousand students and Jefferson is the smallest with less than one thousand students. Florida spent $8,920 for each student in 2016, and was 43rd in the nation in expenditures per student.
Florida's primary and secondary school systems are administered by the Florida Department of Education. School districts are organized within county boundaries. Each school district has an elected Board of Education that sets policy, budget, goals, and approves expenditures. Management is the responsibility of a Superintendent of schools.
The State University System of Florida was founded in 1905, and is governed by the Florida Board of Governors. During the 2010 academic year, 312,216 students attended one of these twelve universities. The Florida College System comprises 28 public community and state colleges. In 2011–12, enrollment consisted of more than 875,000 students. As of 2017, the University of Central Florida, with over 64,000 students, is the largest university by enrollment in the United States. Florida's first private university, Stetson University, was founded in 1883. The Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida is an association of 28 private, educational institutions in the state. This Association reported that their member institutions served over 121,000 students in the fall of 2006.
In 2016, Florida charged the second lowest tuition in the nation for four years, $26,000 for in-state students, to $86,000 for out-of-state students. This compares with an average of $34,800 nationally for in-state students.
Florida's highway system contains 1,495 mi (2,406 km) of interstate highway, and 10,601 mi (17,061 km) of non-interstate highway, such as state highways and U.S. Highways. Florida's interstates, state highways, and U.S. Highways are maintained by the Florida Department of Transportation.
In 2011, there were about 9,000 retail gas stations in the state. Floridians consumed 21 million gallons of gasoline daily in 2011, ranking it third in national use behind California and Texas. Motorists have the 45th lowest rate of car insurance in the U.S. 24% are uninsured.
Drivers between 15 and 19 years of age averaged 364 car crashes a year per ten thousand licensed Florida drivers in 2010. Drivers 70 and older averaged 95 per 10,000 during the same time frame. A spokesperson for the non-profit Insurance Institute said that "Older drivers are more of a threat to themselves."
Before the construction of routes under the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, Florida began construction of a long cross-state toll road, Florida's Turnpike. The first section, from Fort Pierce south to the Golden Glades Interchange was completed in 1957. After a second section north through Orlando to Wildwood (near present-day The Villages), and a southward extension around Miami to Homestead, it was finished in 1974.
Florida's primary interstate routes include:
|City served||Code||Airport name||FAA
|Orlando||MCO||Orlando International Airport||Large Hub||21,565,448|
|Miami||MIA||Miami International Airport||Large Hub||20,709,225|
|Fort Lauderdale||FLL||Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood Int'l Airport||Large Hub||15,817,043|
|Tampa||TPA||Tampa International Airport||Large Hub||9,548,580|
|Fort Myers||RSW||Southwest Florida International Airport||Medium Hub||4,364,224|
|West Palm Beach||PBI||Palm Beach International Airport||Medium Hub||3,110,450|
|Jacksonville||JAX||Jacksonville International Airport||Medium Hub||2,701,861|
Florida has three NFL teams, two MLB teams, two NBA teams, two NHL teams, and one MLS team. Florida gained its first permanent major-league professional sports team in 1966 when the American Football League added the Miami Dolphins. The state of Florida has given professional sports franchises some subsidies in the form of tax breaks since 1991.
About half of all Major League Baseball teams conduct spring training in the state, with teams informally organized into the "Grapefruit League". Throughout MLB history, other teams have held spring training in Florida.
NASCAR (headquartered in Daytona Beach) begins all three of its major auto racing series in Florida at Daytona International Speedway in February, featuring the Daytona 500, and ends all three Series in November at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Daytona also has the Coke Zero Sugar 400 NASCAR race weekend around Independence Day in July. The 24 Hours of Daytona is one of the world's most prestigious endurance auto races. The Grand Prix of St. Petersburg and Grand Prix of Miami have held IndyCar races as well.
Florida is a major golf hub. The PGA of America is headquartered in Palm Beach Gardens, the PGA Tour is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, and the LPGA is headquartered in Daytona Beach. The Players Championship, WGC-Cadillac Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational, Honda Classic and Valspar Championship are PGA Tour rounds.
Florida has teams in all of the major league sports – National Football League, Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Hockey League, and Major League Socce Florida's most recent major-league team, Orlando City, began play in MLS in 2015.
Minor league baseball, football, basketball, ice hockey, soccer and indoor football teams are based in Florida. Three of the Arena Football League's teams are in Florida. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium is the largest football stadium in Florida, the 12th largest stadium in American college football, and the 18th largest stadium in the world, as measured by its official seating capacity of 88,548 – though, it has often held over 90,000 for Florida's home football games.
Florida's universities have a number of collegiate sport programs. Major college football programs include the Florida State Seminoles and Miami Hurricanes of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and the Florida Gators of the Southeastern Conference. Since 1996, Florida has added four additional programs to the ranks of Division I FCS: UCF Knights, South Florida Bulls, Florida Atlantic Owls and FIU Panthers.
The majority of the symbols were chosen after 1950; only the two oldest symbols—the state flower (chosen in 1909), and the state bird (chosen in 1927), and the state nickname (chosen in 1970)—are not listed in the 2010 Florida Statutes.
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Admitted on March 3, 1845 (27th)
Robert Norman Ross (October 29, 1942 – July 4, 1995) was an American painter, art instructor, and television host. He was the creator and host of The Joy of Painting, an instructional television program that aired from 1983 to 1994 on PBS in the United States, and also aired in Canada, Latin America, and Europe. Ross went from being a public television personality in the 1980s and 1990s to being an Internet celebrity in the 21st century, becoming popular with fans on YouTube and many other websites after his death.Florida State University
Florida State University (Florida State or FSU) is a public space-grant and sea-grant research university in Tallahassee, Florida. It is a senior member of the State University System of Florida. Founded in 1851, it is located on the oldest continuous site of higher education in the state of Florida.The university is classified as a Research University with Very High Research by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university comprises 16 separate colleges and more than 110 centers, facilities, labs and institutes that offer more than 360 programs of study, including professional school programs. The university has an annual budget of over $1.7 billion and an annual economic impact of over $10 billion. Florida State is home to Florida's only National Laboratory, the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, and is the birthplace of the commercially viable anti-cancer drug Taxol. Florida State University also operates The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the State Art Museum of Florida and one of the largest museum/university complexes in the nation. The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
For 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked Florida State as the 26th best public university in the United States in the national university category. Florida State University is one of Florida's three state-designated "preeminent universities."
FSU's intercollegiate sports teams, commonly known by their "Florida State Seminoles" nickname, compete in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). In their 113-year history, Florida State's varsity sports teams have won 20 national athletic championships and Seminole athletes have won 78 individual NCAA national championships.Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Fort Lauderdale () is a city in the U.S. state of Florida, 28 miles (45 km) north of Miami. It is the county seat of Broward County. As of the 2017 census, the city has an estimated population of 180,072. Fort Lauderdale is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to an estimated 6,158,824 people in 2017.The city is a popular tourist destination, with an average year-round temperature of 75.5 °F (24.2 °C) and 3,000 hours of sunshine per year. Greater Fort Lauderdale, encompassing all of Broward County, hosted 12 million visitors in 2012, including 2.8 million international visitors. In 2012, the county collected $43.9 million from the 5% hotel tax it charges, after hotels in the area recorded an occupancy rate for the year of 72.7 percent and an average daily rate of $114.48. The district has 561 hotels and motels comprising nearly 35,000 rooms. Forty-six cruise ships sailed from Port Everglades in 2012. Greater Fort Lauderdale has over 4,000 restaurants, 63 golf courses, 12 shopping malls, 16 museums, 132 nightclubs, 278 parkland campsites, and 100 marinas housing 45,000 resident yachts.Fort Lauderdale is named after a series of forts built by the United States during the Second Seminole War. The forts took their name from Major William Lauderdale (1782–1838), younger brother of Lieutenant Colonel James Lauderdale. William Lauderdale was the commander of the detachment of soldiers who built the first fort. However, development of the city did not begin until 50 years after the forts were abandoned at the end of the conflict.
Three forts named "Fort Lauderdale" were constructed: the first was at the fork of the New River, the second was at Tarpon Bend on the New River between the present-day Colee Hammock and Rio Vista neighborhoods, and the third was near the site of the Bahia Mar Marina.Hurricane Katrina
Hurricane Katrina was an extremely destructive and deadly Category 5 hurricane that made landfall on Florida and Louisiana, particularly the city of New Orleans and the surrounding areas, in August 2005, causing catastrophic damage from central Florida to eastern Texas. Subsequent flooding, caused largely as a result of fatal engineering flaws in the flood protection system known as levees around the city of New Orleans, precipitated most of the loss of lives. The storm was the third major hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the fourth-most intense Atlantic hurricane on record to make landfall in the United States, behind only the 1935 Labor Day hurricane, Hurricane Camille in 1969, and Hurricane Michael in 2018.
The storm originated over the Bahamas on August 23, 2005, from the merger of a tropical wave and the remnants of Tropical Depression Ten. Early on the following day, the tropical depression then intensified into a tropical storm as it headed generally westward toward Florida, strengthening into a hurricane only two hours before making landfall at Hallandale Beach and Aventura on August 25. After very briefly weakening again to a tropical storm, Katrina emerged into the Gulf of Mexico on August 26 and began to rapidly intensify. The storm strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico but weakened before making its second landfall as a Category 3 hurricane on August 29, over southeast Louisiana and Mississippi. As Katrina made landfall, its front right quadrant, which held the strongest winds, slammed into Gulfport, Mississippi, devastating it.Overall, at least 1,836 people died in the hurricane and subsequent floods, making Katrina the deadliest United States hurricane since the 1928 Okeechobee hurricane. Severe property damage occurred in numerous coastal areas, such as Mississippi beachfront towns where boats and casino barges rammed buildings, pushing cars and houses inland; water reached 6–12 miles (10–19 km) from the beach. The total property damage was estimated at $125 billion (2005 USD), roughly four times the damage wrought by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, tying Katrina with Hurricane Harvey of 2017 as the costliest Atlantic tropical cyclone on record.Over fifty breaches in surge protection levees surrounding the city of New Orleans, Louisiana was the cause of the majority of the death and destruction during Katrina. Eventually, 80% of the city, as well as large tracts of neighboring parishes, became flooded, and the floodwaters lingered for weeks. Most of the transportation and communication networks servicing New Orleans were damaged or disabled by the flooding, and tens of thousands of people who had not evacuated the city prior to landfall became stranded with little access to food, shelter or basic necessities. The scale of the disaster in New Orleans provoked massive national and international response efforts; federal, local and private rescue operations evacuated displaced persons out of the city over the following weeks. Multiple investigations in the aftermath of the storm concluded that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which had designed and built the region's levees decades earlier, was responsible for the failure of the flood-control systems, though federal courts later ruled that the Corps could not be held financially liable because of sovereign immunity in the Flood Control Act of 1928.There were also widespread criticisms and investigations of the emergency responses from federal, state and local governments, which resulted in the resignations of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) director Michael D. Brown and New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Superintendent Eddie Compass. Many other government officials were criticized for their responses, especially New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco, and President George W. Bush. Several agencies including the United States Coast Guard (USCG), National Hurricane Center (NHC) and National Weather Service (NWS) were commended for their actions. The NHC was found to have provided accurate hurricane forecasts with sufficient lead time.Jacksonville, Florida
Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, the most populous city in the southeastern United States and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. It is the seat of Duval County, with which the city government consolidated in 1968. Consolidation gave Jacksonville its great size and placed most of its metropolitan population within the city limits. As of 2017 Jacksonville's population was estimated to be 892,062. The Jacksonville metropolitan area has a population of 1,523,615 and is the fourth largest in Florida.Jacksonville is centered on the banks of the St. Johns River in the First Coast region of northeast Florida, about 25 miles (40 km) south of the Georgia state line and 328 miles (528 km) north of Miami. The Jacksonville Beaches communities are along the adjacent Atlantic coast. The area was originally inhabited by the Timucua people, and in 1564 was the site of the French colony of Fort Caroline, one of the earliest European settlements in what is now the continental United States. Under British rule, settlement grew at the narrow point in the river where cattle crossed, known as Wacca Pilatka to the Seminole and the Cow Ford to the British. A platted town was established there in 1822, a year after the United States gained Florida from Spain; it was named after Andrew Jackson, the first military governor of the Florida Territory and seventh President of the United States.
Harbor improvements since the late 19th century have made Jacksonville a major military and civilian deep-water port. Its riverine location facilitates Naval Station Mayport, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, the U.S. Marine Corps Blount Island Command, and the Port of Jacksonville, Florida's third largest seaport. Jacksonville's military bases and the nearby Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay form the third largest military presence in the United States. Significant factors in the local economy include services such as banking, insurance, healthcare and logistics. As with much of Florida, tourism is important to the Jacksonville area, particularly tourism related to golf. People from Jacksonville may be called "Jacksonvillians" or "Jaxsons" (also spelled "Jaxons").Jeb Bush
John Ellis "Jeb" Bush (born February 11, 1953) is an American politician who served as the 43rd Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. Bush, who grew up in Houston, is the second son of former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush, and a younger brother of former President George W. Bush. He graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and attended the University of Texas, where he earned a degree in Latin American affairs. In 1980, he moved to Florida and pursued a career in real estate development, and in 1986 became Florida's Secretary of Commerce until 1988. At that time, he joined his father's successful campaign for the Presidency.
In 1994, Bush made his first run for office, losing the election for governor by less than two percentage points to the incumbent Lawton Chiles. Bush ran again in 1998 and defeated Lieutenant Governor Buddy MacKay with 55 percent of the vote. He ran for reelection in 2002, defeating Bill McBride and winning with 56 percent, to become Florida's first two-term Republican governor. During his eight years as governor, Bush pushed an ambitious Everglades conservation plan, supported caps for medical malpractice litigation, launched a Medicaid privatization pilot program, and instituted reforms to the state education system, including the issuance of vouchers and promoting school choice.
Bush announced his presidential candidacy on June 15, 2015. He suspended his campaign on February 20, 2016, shortly after the South Carolina primary and endorsed Senator Ted Cruz on March 23, 2016. Bush later made headlines by joining a group of Republicans who opposed the GOP nominee for president, Donald Trump.Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC, originally known as the NASA Launch Operations Center) is one of ten National Aeronautics and Space Administration field centers. Since December 1968, Kennedy Space Center has been NASA's primary launch center of human spaceflight. Launch operations for the Apollo, Skylab and Space Shuttle programs were carried out from Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 and managed by KSC. Located on the east coast of Florida, KSC is adjacent to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS). The management of the two entities work very closely together, share resources, and even own facilities on each other's property.
Though the first Apollo flights, and all Project Mercury and Project Gemini flights took off from CCAFS, the launches were managed by KSC and its previous organization, the Launch Operations Directorate. Starting with the fourth Gemini mission, the NASA launch control center in Florida (Mercury Control Center, later the Launch Control Center) began handing off control of the vehicle to the Mission Control Center shortly after liftoff; in prior missions it held control throughout the entire mission.Additionally, the center manages launch of robotic and commercial crew missions and researches food production and In-Situ Resource Utilization for off-Earth exploration. Since 2010, the center has worked to become a multi-user spaceport through industry partnerships, even adding a new launch pad (LC-39C) in 2015.
There are about 700 facilities and buildings grouped across the center's 144,000 acres. Among the unique facilities at KSC are the 525 ft tall Vehicle Assembly Building for stacking NASA's largest rockets, the Launch Control Center - which conducts space launches at KSC, the Operations and Checkout Building, which houses the astronauts dormitories and suit-up area, a Space Station factory, and a 3-mile-long Shuttle Landing Facility. There is also a Visitor Complex open to the public on site.Key West
Key West (Spanish: Cayo Hueso) is an island and city in the Straits of Florida on the North American continent. The city lies at the southernmost end of U.S. Route 1, the longest north-south road in the United States. Key West is the southernmost city in the contiguous United States and the westernmost island connected by highway in the Florida Keys. The island is about 4 miles (6.4 km) long and 1 mile (1.6 km) wide, with a total land mass of 4.2 square miles (11 km2). Duval Street, its main street, is 1.1 miles (1.8 km) in length in its 14-block-long crossing from the Gulf of Mexico to the Straits of Florida and the Atlantic Ocean. Key West is about 95 miles (153 km) north of Cuba at their closest points.The city is the county seat of Monroe County. The city boundaries include the island of Key West and all or part of several nearby islands: Sigsbee Park, Fleming Key, Sunset Key, and the northern part of Stock Island. The total land area of the city is 5.6 square miles (14.5 km2). Key West is the southern terminus of U.S. Route 1, State Road A1A, the East Coast Greenway and, before 1935, the Florida East Coast Railway.
Key West is 129 miles (208 km) southwest of Miami by air, about 160 miles (260 km) by car, and 106 miles (171 km) north-northeast of Havana. Key West is a port of call for many passenger cruise ships. The Key West International Airport provides airline service. Naval Air Station Key West is an important year round training site for naval aviation due to the tropical weather, which is also the reason Key West was chosen as the Winter White House of President Harry S. Truman. The central business district is located along Duval Street and includes much of the northwestern corner of the island. The official city motto is "One Human Family."Lynyrd Skynyrd
Lynyrd Skynyrd ( LEN-ərd SKIN-ərd) is an American rock band formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1964 by Ronnie Van Zant (vocals), Gary Rossington (guitar), Allen Collins (guitar), Larry Junstrom (bass guitar) and Bob Burns (drums). It is best known for popularizing the Southern rock genre during the 1970s. Originally called My Backyard, the band was also known by names such as The Noble Five and One Percent, before finally deciding on "Lynyrd Skynyrd" in 1969. The band gained worldwide recognition for its live performances and signature songs "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird". Van Zant, along with guitarist Steve Gaines, and backup singer Cassie Gaines, were killed in an airplane crash on October 20, 1977, putting an abrupt end to the 1970s era of the band.
The band re-formed in 1987 for a reunion tour with Ronnie's brother, Johnny Van Zant, as its lead vocalist. Lynyrd Skynyrd continues to tour and record with co-founder Gary Rossington, Johnny Van Zant, and Rickey Medlocke, who first wrote and recorded with the band from 1971 to 1972 before his return in 1996. Artimus Pyle remains active in music, but no longer tours or records with the band. Michael Cartellone has recorded and toured with the band since 1999.
Lynyrd Skynyrd has sold 28 million records in the United States. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 13, 2006. In January 2018, Lynyrd Skynyrd announced their farewell tour, and are also working on a final studio album.Miami
Miami, officially the City of Miami, is the cultural, economic and financial center of South Florida. Miami is the seat of Miami-Dade County, the most populous county in Florida. The city covers an area of about 56.6 square miles (147 km2), between the Everglades to the west and Biscayne Bay on the east; with a 2017 estimated population of 463,347, Miami is the sixth most densely populated major city in the United States. The Miami metropolitan area is home to 6.1 million people and the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the nation. Miami's metro area is the second-most populous metropolis in the southeastern United States and fourth-largest urban area in the U.S. Miami has the third tallest skyline in the United States with over 300 high-rises, 80 of which stand taller than 400 feet.
Miami is a major center, and a leader in finance, commerce, culture, media, entertainment, the arts, and international trade. The Miami Metropolitan Area is by far the largest urban economy in Florida and the 12th largest in the United States with a GDP of $344.9 billion as of 2017. In 2012, Miami was classified as an "Alpha−" level world city in the World Cities Study Group's inventory. In 2010, Miami ranked seventh in the United States and 33rd among global cities in terms of business activity, human capital, information exchange, cultural experience, and political engagement. In 2008, Forbes magazine ranked Miami "America's Cleanest City", for its year-round good air quality, vast green spaces, clean drinking water, clean streets, and citywide recycling programs. According to a 2009 UBS study of 73 world cities, Miami was ranked as the richest city in the United States, and the world's seventh-richest city in terms of purchasing power. Miami is nicknamed the "Capital of Latin America" and is the largest city with a Cuban-American plurality.Greater Downtown Miami has one of the largest concentrations of international banks in the United States, and is home to many large national and international companies. The Civic Center is a major center for hospitals, research institutes, medical centers, and biotechnology industries. For more than two decades, the Port of Miami, known as the "Cruise Capital of the World", has been the number one cruise passenger port in the world. It accommodates some of the world's largest cruise ships and operations, and is the busiest port in both passenger traffic and cruise lines. Metropolitan Miami is also a major tourism hub in the southeastern U.S. for international visitors, ranking number two in the country after New York City.Orlando, Florida
Orlando () is a city in the U.S. state of Florida and the county seat of Orange County. Located in Central Florida, it is the center of the Orlando metropolitan area, which had a population of 2,509,831, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released in July 2017. These figures make it the 23rd-largest metropolitan area in the United States, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the Southern United States, and the third-largest metropolitan area in Florida. As of 2015, Orlando had an estimated city-proper population of 280,257, making it the 73rd-largest city in the United States, the fourth-largest city in Florida, and the state's largest inland city.
The City of Orlando is nicknamed "The City Beautiful," and its symbol is the fountain at Lake Eola. Orlando is also known as "The Theme Park Capital of the World" and in 2016 its tourist attractions and events drew more than 72 million visitors. The Orlando International Airport (MCO or OIA) is the thirteenth-busiest airport in the United States and the 29th-busiest in the world.As one of the world's most visited tourist destinations, Orlando's famous attractions form the backbone of its tourism industry. The two most significant of these attractions are Walt Disney World, opened by the Walt Disney Company in 1971, and located approximately 21 miles (34 km) southwest of Downtown Orlando in Bay Lake; and the Universal Orlando Resort, opened in 1990 as a major expansion of Universal Studios Florida. With the exception of Walt Disney World, most major attractions are located along International Drive with one of these attractions being the Orlando Eye. The city is also one of the busiest American cities for conferences and conventions; the Orange County Convention Center is the second-largest convention facility in the United States.
Like other major cities in the Sun Belt, Orlando grew rapidly from the 1980s up into the first decade of the 21st century. Orlando is home to the University of Central Florida, which is the largest university campus in the United States in terms of enrollment as of 2015. In 2010, Orlando was listed as a "Gamma−" level global city in the World Cities Study Group's inventory. Orlando ranks as the fourth-most popular American city based on where people want to live according to a 2009 Pew Research Center study.Pensacola, Florida
Pensacola () is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle, approximately 13 miles (21 km) from the border with Alabama, and the county seat of Escambia County, in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 51,923, down from 56,255 at the 2000 census. Pensacola is the principal city of the Pensacola metropolitan area, which had an estimated 461,227 residents in 2012.Pensacola is a sea port on Pensacola Bay, which is protected by the barrier island of Santa Rosa and connects to the Gulf of Mexico. A large United States Naval Air Station, the first in the United States, is located southwest of Pensacola near Warrington; it is the base of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team and the National Naval Aviation Museum. The main campus of the University of West Florida is situated north of the city center.
The area was originally inhabited by Muskogean language peoples. The Pensacola people lived there at the time of European contact, and Creek people frequently visited and traded from present-day southern Alabama. Spanish explorer Tristán de Luna founded a short-lived settlement in 1559. In 1698 the Spanish established a presidio in the area, from which the modern city gradually developed. The area changed hands several times as European powers competed in North America. During Florida's British rule (1763–1781), fortifications were strengthened.
It is nicknamed "The City of Five Flags", due to the five governments that have ruled it during its history: the flags of Spain (Castile), France, Great Britain, the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America. Other nicknames include "World's Whitest Beaches" (due to the white sand of Florida panhandle beaches), "Cradle of Naval Aviation", "Western Gate to the Sunshine State", "America's First Settlement", "Emerald Coast", "Red Snapper Capital of the World", and "P-Cola".Stoneman Douglas High School shooting
On February 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing seventeen students and staff members and injuring seventeen others. Witnesses identified nineteen-year-old expelled student Nikolas Cruz as the assailant. Cruz fled the scene on foot by blending with other students, and was arrested about one hour later in nearby Coral Springs. He confessed to being the perpetrator, and he was charged with 17 counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder. Police and prosecutors have not offered a motive and are investigating "a pattern of disciplinary issues and unnerving behavior", but Cruz himself offered several motives for the crime.Cruz's killing spree is the deadliest high school shooting in United States history, surpassing the Columbine High School massacre that killed 13 in Colorado on April 20, 1999. The shooting came at a period of heightened public support for gun control following attacks in Las Vegas, Nevada and Sutherland Springs, Texas, respectively, in October and November 2017.
In 2016 and 2017, the sheriff's office received a number of tips about Cruz's threats to carry out a school shooting. The FBI learned that a YouTube user with the username "nikolas cruz" posted a message in September 2017 about becoming a school shooter, but the agency could not identify the user. In January 2018, someone contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tip line with a direct complaint that Cruz had made a death threat, but the complaint was not forwarded to the local FBI office.
Following the massacre, the anger and frustration of Parkland student survivors intensified towards the perceived inaction of the Republican-dominated legislature on the wider issue of mass shootings and gun violence. This led the students to found Never Again MSD, an advocacy group that lobbies for legislative action on gun violence. On March 9, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill that raised the minimum age for buying rifles in Florida from 18 to 21. The legislation also established waiting periods and background checks for gun buyers. The law also allowed for the arming of teachers who were properly trained and the hiring of school police. So-called "bump stocks" would now be banned and some potentially violent or mentally unstable persons would be prohibited from possessing guns. The National Rifle Association (NRA) immediately filed a lawsuit that challenged the federal constitutionality of the age requirement clause.After the shooting, the Broward County Sheriff's Office received national criticism for its handling of the police response, with much of the criticism being directed at Sheriff Scott Israel for not addressing loopholes that allowed Cruz to purchase a firearm despite his lengthy record of threatening behavior. Israel's deputies were also criticized for staying outside of the school and not attempting to confront Cruz while the shooting was in progress. Several police officers who responded to the shooting later resigned, and Israel himself was suspended by new Governor Ron DeSantis in January 2019 for his conduct in regards to the shooting. A commission appointed by then-Governor Scott to investigate the attack condemned the police inaction in the wake of the attack and urged school districts across the state to adopt greater measures of security, including the possibility of allowing educators and staff members to carry their own firearms on school property in the aim of preventing further attacks.Tallahassee, Florida
Tallahassee () is the capital city of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat and only incorporated municipality in Leon County. Tallahassee became the capital of Florida, then the Florida Territory, in 1824. In 2017, the population was 191,049, making it the 7th-largest city in the U.S state of Florida, and the 126th-largest city in the United States. The population of the Tallahassee metropolitan area was 382,627 as of 2017. Tallahassee is the largest city in the Florida Panhandle region, and the main center for trade and agriculture in the Florida Big Bend and Southwest Georgia regions.
Tallahassee is home to Florida State University, ranked the nation's twenty-sixth best public university by U.S. News & World Report. It is also home to Florida A&M University, the fifth-largest historically black university by total enrollment. Tallahassee Community College is a large state college that serves mainly as a feeder school to Florida State and Florida A&M. Tallahassee qualifies as a significant college town, with a student population exceeding 70,000.As the capital, Tallahassee is the site of the Florida State Capitol, Supreme Court of Florida, Florida Governor's Mansion, and nearly 30 state agency headquarters. The city is also known for its large number of law firms, lobbying organizations, trade associations and professional associations, including the Florida Bar and the Florida Chamber of Commerce. It is a recognized regional center for scientific research, and home to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory. In 2015, Tallahassee was awarded the All-American City Award by the National Civic League for the second time.Tampa, Florida
Tampa is a major city in, and the county seat of, Hillsborough County, Florida, United States. It is on the west coast of Florida on Tampa Bay, near the Gulf of Mexico, and is the largest city in the Tampa Bay Area. The bay's port is the largest in the state, near downtown's Channel District. Bayshore Boulevard runs along the bay, and is east of the historic Hyde Park neighborhood.
Today, Tampa is part of the metropolitan area most commonly referred to as the "Tampa Bay Area". For U.S. Census purposes, Tampa is part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. The four-county area is composed of roughly 3.1 million residents, making it the second largest metropolitan statistical area (MSA) in the state, and the fourth largest in the Southeastern United States, behind Washington, D.C., Miami, and Atlanta. The Greater Tampa Bay area has over 4 million residents and generally includes the Tampa and Sarasota metro areas.
The city had a population of 335,709 at the 2010 census, and an estimated population of 385,430 in 2017.The Tampa Bay Partnership and U.S. Census data showed an average annual growth of 2.47 percent, or a gain of approximately 97,000 residents per year. Between 2000 and 2006, the Greater Tampa Bay Market experienced a combined growth rate of 14.8 percent, growing from 3.4 million to 3.9 million and hitting the 4 million population mark on April 1, 2007. A 2012 estimate shows the Tampa Bay area population to have 4,310,524 people and a 2017 projection of 4,536,854 people.Public Transportation in the area includes Amtrak‘s Silver Star Line at Tampa Union Station. There is also the TECO Line Streetcar System.Ted Bundy
Theodore Robert Bundy (born Theodore Robert Cowell; November 24, 1946 – January 24, 1989) was an American serial killer, kidnapper, rapist, burglar, and necrophile who assaulted and murdered numerous young women and girls during the 1970s and possibly earlier. After more than a decade of denials, he confessed to 30 homicides that he committed in seven states between 1974 and 1978. The true number of victims is unknown and possibly higher.
Many of Bundy's young female victims regarded him as handsome and charismatic, which were traits that he exploited to win their trust. He would typically approach them in public places, feigning injury or disability, or impersonating an authority figure, before overpowering and assaulting them in secluded locations. He sometimes revisited his secondary crime scenes, grooming and performing sexual acts with the decomposing corpses until putrefaction and destruction by wild animals made further interaction impossible. He decapitated at least 12 victims and kept some of the severed heads as mementos in his apartment. On a few occasions, he broke into dwellings at night and bludgeoned his victims as they slept.
In 1975, Bundy was jailed for the first time when he was incarcerated in Utah for aggravated kidnapping and attempted criminal assault. He then became a suspect in a progressively longer list of unsolved homicides in multiple states. Facing murder charges in Colorado, he engineered two dramatic escapes and committed further assaults, including three murders, before his ultimate recapture in Florida in 1978. For the Florida homicides, he received three death sentences in two separate trials.
Bundy was executed in the electric chair at Florida State Prison on January 24, 1989. Biographer Ann Rule described Bundy as "a sadistic sociopath who took pleasure from another human's pain and the control he had over his victims, to the point of death, and even after". He once called himself "the most cold-hearted son of a bitch you'll ever meet". Attorney Polly Nelson, a member of his last defense team, wrote he was "the very definition of heartless evil".Tom Petty
Thomas Earl Petty (October 20, 1950 – October 2, 2017) was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, record producer, and actor. He was the lead singer of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, formed in 1976. He previously led the band Mudcrutch. He was also a co-founder of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys.
Petty recorded a number of hit singles with the Heartbreakers and as a solo artist. In his career, he sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He and the Heartbreakers were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. Petty died on October 2, 2017, one week after the completion of the Heartbreakers' 40th anniversary tour, and eighteen days before his 67th birthday.University of Florida
The University of Florida (commonly referred to as Florida or UF) is a public land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university in Gainesville, Florida. It is a senior member of the State University System of Florida. The university traces its origins to 1853 and has operated continuously on its Gainesville campus since September 1906.The University of Florida is one of sixty-two elected member institutions of the Association of American Universities (AAU), the association of preeminent North American research universities, and the only AAU member university in Florida. The university is classified as a Research University with Very High Research by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. After the Florida state legislature's creation of performance standards in 2013, the Florida Board of Governors designated the University of Florida as one of the three "preeminent universities" among the twelve universities of the State University System of Florida. For 2019, U.S. News & World Report ranked Florida as the eighth (tied) best public university in the United States.The university is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). It is the third largest Florida university by student population, and is the eighth largest single-campus university in the United States with 54,906 students enrolled for the fall 2018 semester. The University of Florida is home to sixteen academic colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes. It offers multiple graduate professional programs—including business administration, engineering, law, dentistry, medicine, pharmacy and veterinary medicine—on one contiguous campus, and administers 123 master's degree programs and seventy-six doctoral degree programs in eighty-seven schools and departments. The university's seal is also the seal of the state of Florida which is on the state flag.
The University of Florida's intercollegiate sports teams, commonly known by their "Florida Gators" nickname, compete in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I and the Southeastern Conference (SEC). In their 111-year history, the university's varsity sports teams have won 41 national team championships, 36 of which are NCAA titles, and Florida athletes have won 275 individual national championships. In addition, University of Florida students and alumni have won 126 Olympic medals including 60 gold medals.Walt Disney World
The Walt Disney World Resort, also called Walt Disney World and Disney World, is an entertainment complex in Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Florida, in the United States, near the cities Orlando and Kissimmee. Opened on October 1, 1971, the resort is owned and operated by Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, a division of The Walt Disney Company. It was first operated by Walt Disney World Company. The property, which covers nearly 25,000 acres (39 sq mi; 101 km2), only half of which has been used, comprises four theme parks, two water parks, twenty-seven themed resort hotels, nine non-Disney hotels, several golf courses, a camping resort, and other entertainment venues, including the outdoor shopping center Disney Springs.
Designed to supplement Disneyland, in Anaheim, California, which had opened in 1955, the complex was developed by Walt Disney in the 1960s. "The Florida Project", as it was known, was intended to present a distinct vision with its own diverse set of attractions. Walt Disney's original plans also called for the inclusion of an "Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow" (EPCOT), a planned community intended to serve as a test bed for new city-living innovations. Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966, during construction of the complex. Without him spearheading the construction, the company built a resort similar to Disneyland, abandoning the experimental concepts for a planned community. Magic Kingdom was the first theme park to open in the complex, in 1971, followed by Epcot (1982), Disney's Hollywood Studios (1989), and Disney's Animal Kingdom (1998).
Today, Walt Disney World is the most visited vacation resort in the world, with average annual attendance of more than 52 million. The resort is the flagship destination of Disney's worldwide corporate enterprise and has become a popular staple in American culture.
|Florida state symbols|
The Flag of Florida
The Seal of Florida
|Amphibian||Barking tree frog|
|Fish||Florida largemouth bass, Atlantic sailfish|
|Mammal||Florida panther, manatee, bottlenose dolphin, Florida Cracker Horse|
|Reptile||American alligator, Loggerhead turtle, Gopher tortoise|
|Food||Key lime pie, Orange|
|State route marker|
Released in 2004
|Lists of United States state symbols|
Places adjacent to Florida