Florida boasts 4 fastest-growing areas as Americans exit Dem-run cities and head south

Four out the nation’s top five fastest-growing metropolitan areas are in Florida, new data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows.

The Sunshine State, under Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’s leadership, can also boast that it’s home to “three of the top 10 that gained the largest number of people from 2022 to 2023,” the Bureau found, as Americans continue to flee Democrat-run cities and head South.

“The population growth in Florida’s metro areas underscores a larger trend of widespread population growth across the South, the nation’s fastest-growing region and site of all of the top 10 fastest-growing U.S. metro areas from 2022 to 2023,” according to the data.

The population of Florida’s Wildwood-The Villages, which features a large retirement community, “rose nearly 5% to 151,565, making it the nation’s fastest-growing metro area.”

In second place was Lakeland-Winter Haven, “up nearly 4% to 818,330.”

Ocala and Port St. Lucie are, respectively, the fourth and fifth fastest-growing metro areas, the data revealed. “Their populations increased by more than 3% each to 409,959 and 536,901.”

The Census Bureau continued:

Florida’s more populous metro areas ranked among the nation’s top 10 in numeric population gains.

Three metro areas collectively added nearly 150,000 residents from 2022 to 2023: Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (54,916); Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (51,622); and Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach (43,387) — the fourth, fifth and 10th largest numeric gaining metro areas nationwide, respectively.

“The growth continued a pattern already clear the previous year when eight of the 10 fastest-growing metro areas were in the South,” it reported.

U.S. Census Bureau 

Texas, too, enjoyed large gains.

The Lone Star State “was home to four of the 10 metro areas that added the largest number of people: Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington (152,598); Houston-Pasadena-The Woodlands (139,789); Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos (50,105); and San Antonio-New Braunfels (48,071),” according to the Census Bureau. “These four metro areas collectively gained more than 390,000 people between 2022 and 2023, close to the approximately 413,000 people they gained the previous year.”

“Florida metro area Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach replaced Tennessee metro area Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin among the top 10 numeric gainers,” the Bureau reported.

“During both periods, Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler in Arizona was the only metro area among the top 10 gainers that wasn’t in the South.”

The Bureau found that “U.S. migration patterns” are driving the growth of the South.

“Many people moved to this region, contributing to its overall positive net domestic migration (more people moving in from the rest of the United States than moving out to other parts of the United States),” it explained. “From 2022 to 2023, 28 of the top 30 metro areas with the highest positive domestic migration were in the South.”

The same is true of Florida.

“The growth of Florida’s metro areas between 2022 and 2023 was also driven by positive net migration—the sum of net domestic and net international migration — which includes movers from within the United States and other countries,” according to the Census Bureau. “Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach was the only Florida metro area to experience negative net domestic migration between 2022 and 2023.

“Some of these Florida metro areas grew despite experiencing natural decrease (when the number of deaths outnumbers births).”

Melissa Fine


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