Florida’s population hit the fastest pace of growth among US states over the past 12 months, according to estimates released by the US Census Bureau on Monday.
The state’s population grew by more than 1.3 million people over the past year, reaching 38.99 million at the end of 2017. Although that number is below the 1.5 million new residents the state added in 2016, it still came in close to the record 1.5 million net increase Florida boasted in 2015.
Florida’s gains came entirely from residents moving to the state – a number of people moving to the state doubled since 2016, according to the Census Bureau. Between 2016 and 2017, Florida’s Hispanic population grew by 1.4 million and now makes up 43% of the state’s residents.
But new figures from the Pew Research Center suggest that Hispanic population gains may not be lasting. Pew found that between 2006 and 2015, the Hispanic share of the state’s population fell from 40% to 39%.
During a press conference in Jacksonville, Republican governor candidate Ron DeSantis touted Florida’s growth record and said the state was gaining popularity among Republican candidates.
“[Presumptive] GOP nominee for Senate Luther Strange just came in yesterday talking about how he’s seen Florida flourish. I’m seeing it thrive,” DeSantis said, according to the Florida Times-Union. “And I’m getting calls from national candidates all the time, saying, ‘Well look, I was looking at this state and there’s really no one who is talking about the goodness of the people here.'”
Demographics aside, observers say that Florida’s economy is helping the state go red. Like neighboring Georgia, which also went Republican in the 2018 election, Florida’s economy was growing at a faster rate than most other states during the first quarter of 2018.
According to a quarterly report released by the Federal Reserve Board of Atlanta last week, the states largest cities – Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and Ft. Lauderdale – are driving much of the growth in the state. The strong economies those cities are experiencing are lifting the income of working class families and making other families more optimistic about earning more money in the future.
“Downtrodden neighborhoods are dying,” Florida economist Casey Jordan said in March, according to The Washington Post. “The metro area is hot.”
In his remarks at a conservative conference last month, former president Barack Obama praised the growth in Florida’s economy, but said its economy was also “unsustainable.”
“I recognize it’s been growing faster than the rest of the country for the last several years, and I do appreciate the fact that you had, in one of your presidential candidates, a governor who was a champion for getting the economy going again – Florida,” Obama said, according to The Hill. “If my friend Jeb Bush had been the president, I suspect you wouldn’t be growing at the rate that you’re growing.”
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This article was written by Avital Norman Nathman from The New York Times and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected]