March 26th, 2015 3:19 PM by Brent Ferry
Florida was home to the nation's fastest growing metro area from 2013 to 2014, according to new U.S. Census Bureau metropolitan statistical area, micropolitan statistical area and county population estimates released today.
The Villages, located to the west of the Orlando metro area, grew by 5.4 percent between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014, to reach a population of about 114,000. State population estimates released in December revealed that Florida had become the nation's third most populous state. Today's estimates show Florida's growth to reach this milestone was propelled by numerous metro areas and counties within the state.
Florida contained seven of the nation's top 50 numerically gaining metro areas between July 1, 2013, and July 1, 2014, and these areas accounted for more than three-quarters of the state's population gain over the period:
In addition, eight counties within these metro areas were among 50 counties nationwide that gained the most population between 2013 and 2014. Collectively, these counties accounted for more than half of the state's population gain over the period:
Furthermore, six metro areas in Florida were among the 20 fastest-growing in the nation between 2013 and 2014. In addition to The Villages, they were Cape Coral-Fort Myers (sixth), Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island (10th), Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (16th), North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton (18th) and Panama City (19th).
"Florida's ascension, revealed when the 2014 state population estimates were released last December, was a significant demographic milestone for our country," Census Bureau Director John H. Thompson said. "These county and metro area estimates provide a more detailed picture of how this happened, showing growth in areas such as central and southern Florida."Migration to Florida from other states and abroad was heavy enough to overcome the fact that in about half the state's counties, there were more deaths than births over the 2013 to 2014 period.