10 Fastest Growing Cities In Florida

In 2022, a census revealed Florida as the fastest-growing state in the U.S. Between 2021 and 2022, the population of Florida expanded by 1.9% to 22,244,823, overtaking Idaho, which had been the fastest-growing state in the previous year.

Florida has always been a popular destination for vacationers and beachgoers, and this industry has continued to grow across the state. The state of Florida now has the most robust economy in the United States because of the proliferation of new sectors, the expansion of existing ones, and the growth of the hotel sector.

These are the top 10 fastest-growing cities in the “Sunshine State.”

10. St. Cloud

Change in Population: 67.6%
Current Population: 58,964
2010 Census Population: 35,183
 County: Osceola
 Total Land Area: 25.49 square miles

St. Cloudphoto source:  Urban Partners

St. Cloud is on East Lake Tohopekaliga and is home to the Reptile World Serpentarium. St. Cloud, a small, tranquil city, has many attractions. Stroll down historic St. Cloud Main Street and spend the morning visiting Tenth Street’s distinctive stores.

The city’s population rose by 23,781 from 35,183 to 58,964 between 2010 and 2020. Working people who often go to Orlando but wish to avoid the negative effects of strong tourist attention have made St. Cloud popular.

The city appeals to outdoor enthusiasts, foodies, and partygoers with its distinct eating and entertainment options and three lakes within driving distance.

Did You Know:

St. Cloud was developed as a retirement town for Civil War Union soldiers and became known as “The Friendly Soldier City.”

9. Polk City

Change in Population: 73.7%
Current Population: 2,713
2010 Census Population: 1,562
 County: Polk
 Total Land Area: 4.50 square miles

Polk Cityphoto source:  LoopNet

Polk City’s modest origins date back to 1922 when a man named Mr. Isaac Van Horn happened to pass through. By 1925, his efforts had made the town busy. Polk City declined until 1960 but recovered afterward. Polk City became a city by ordinance in 2005. Though small, the housing, commercial, and industrial markets continue to flourish.

New employment growth in this rural area has drawn city dwellers, especially those seeking inexpensive housing. As a result, Polk City captures the best country living with a beautiful backdrop and many recreational activities. Polk City grew from 1,562 to 2,713 between 2010 and 2020. The recent decade had a 73.7% increase.

Did You Know:

The county was named for James Knox Polk, the eleventh U.S. president.

8. St. Leo

Change in Population: 76.3%
Current Population: 2,362
2010 Census Population: 1,340
 County: Pasco
 Total Land Area: 1.12 square miles

St. Leophoto source:  St. Leo University

St. Leo, home to St. Leo University, is generally rural and tranquil. The Benedictines founded the monastery and college of St. Leo on Judge Edmund F. Dunne’s old farmhouse and agricultural grounds east of San Antonio, Florida, on Lake Jovita in 1889, ultimately absorbing the region as St. Leo.

Lake Jovita, a short drive from St. Leo, is suitable for water sports enthusiasts. Due to the inexpensive cost of living, 90% of St. Leo inhabitants own their homes. The city grew from 1,340 to 2,362 between 2010 and 2020. This increase is 76.3%.

Did You Know:

Pope Saint Leo the Great is the town’s namesake.

7. Fruitland Park

Change in Population: 104.1%
Current Population: 8,325
2010 Census Population: 4,078
 County: Lake
 Total Land Area: 6.96 square miles

Fruitland Parkphoto source:  Realtor.com

Fruitland Park was originally called Gardenia but was renamed after the Civil War. Its location on Lake Griffin allowed goods and people to be shipped along the Ocklawaha River to Palatka on the St. Johns River and beyond.

Location undoubtedly drove Fruitland Park’s expansion. Orlando and other vacation spots are nearby.

Fruitland Park’s 5.3% unemployment rate (lower than the U.S. average of 6%) suggests that resort and entertainment employees may drive the town’s population growth by seeking convenient access to adjacent towns’ nightlife and a more inexpensive lifestyle. Fruitland Park’s 75% homeownership percentage is far lower than Orlando’s 35%.

Did You Know:

Horticulturist Major Orlando P. Rooks was an early settler. Major Rooks named the place Fruitland Park because of all the nurseries and groves.

6. Worthington Springs

Change in Population: 108.8%
Current Population: 378
2010 Census Population: 181
 County: Union
 Total Land Area: 0.96 square miles

Worthington Springsphoto source:  Trip Advisor

Worthington Springs, another Florida nature lover’s secret, covers less than half a mile. The Chastain-Seay Park, Santa Fe Preservation Area, and New River are all remote. However, Worthington Springs is developing rapidly among families, with 40% of homes having children under 18.

Worthington Springs went from 181 to 378 inhabitants between 2010 and 2020.

Independence Day was usually observed with great enthusiasm in the olden days at the springs. Thousands of locals would picnic, swim, and talk politics at the springs. Holiday revelers from Jacksonville rode a special train. In 1908, an iron and timber bridge across the river allowed southbound traffic. The concrete construction replaced it in 1937. The spring stopped outflowing in the mid-20th century.

Worthington Springs was formally established in 1963 and has operated under a mayor-council structure ever since.

Did You Know:

Sam Worthington, an early immigrant who came to the area before the first Seminole War in 1814–1819, inspired the town’s name.

5. Groveland

Change in Population: 112.0%
Current Population: 18,505
2010 Census Population: 8,729
 County: Lake
 Total Land Area: 20.84 square miles

Grovelandphoto source:  Groveland, FL. Official Website

Groveland, Florida, is a hidden gem for outdoor enthusiasts. Weekend warriors and Orlando commuters are flocking to the region. Groveland locals canoe, swim and sail year-round in Cherry Lake, Lake Lucy, and hundreds of other lakes. As a result, Groveland’s population increased by 112%, from 8,729 to 18,505, between 2010 and 2020.

More families have migrated into Groveland, making conveniences and amenities readily available. Gas stations, restaurants, and coffee shops are plentiful, and more local companies are opening. The city’s land area has increased fivefold due to annexation. Its handy location northwest of Orlando attracts city workers who like rural living.

Did You Know:

Groveland locals can get discounted, inexpensive season tickets to Orlando-area amusement parks.

4. Wildwood

Change in Population: 134.5%
Current Population: 6,709
2010 Census Population: 15,730
 County: Sumter
 Total Land Area: 56.28 square miles

Wildwoodphoto source:  The Villages Daily Sun

Due to its location at the intersection of four major highways, Wildwood is sometimes called “The Crossroads of Florida.” Wildwood is ideally situated for day trips around Central Florida, only an hour from Tampa and Orlando.

Wildwood also serves as the southernmost extension of The Villages, the fastest-growing micropolitan region in the United States.

Brownwood Paddock Square, the new town square, is open seven days a week, including Saturday nights and Sunday days. You may go fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, biking, birdwatching, or simply chilling in a laid-back, rural natural environment in one of Wildwood’s two wildlife management areas.

It is becoming an increasingly attractive place for retirees to spend their golden years. In addition, Wildwood is a more inexpensive option than the adjacent Villages neighborhood and offers easy access to Florida’s main cities, including Orlando and Tampa. This increases Wildwood’s popularity among both working professionals and elderly males.

Did You Know:

The first formal record of the incorporation of the City of Wildwood is found in Chapter 3968 of the Acts of the Legislature, which indicates that the State Legislature approved the organization on May 16, 1889.

3. Lake Buena Vista

Change in Population: 140.0%
Current Population: 24
2010 Census Population: 10
 County: Orange
 Total Land Area: 3.03 square miles

Lake Buena Vistaphoto source:  Kayak

Although Disney World is commonly linked with Orlando, it is located on Walt Disney Company-controlled Lake Buena Vista.

Lake Buena Vista is widely recognized throughout the United States as Walt Disney World’s mailing address.

The neighborhood has grown popular with wealthy families seeking quick access to community-oriented activities and events while avoiding central Orlando’s tourist impact and higher crime rate. As a result, this little town’s population increased from ten to twenty-four between 2010 and 2020. This indicates a population increase of 140%.

Did You Know:

The name “Buena Vista” originates from a street in Burbank, California, where The Walt Disney Company is situated.

2. Davenport

Change in Population: 213.1%
Current Population: 9,043
2010 Census Population: 2,888
 County: Polk
 Total Land Area: 4.07 square miles

Davenportphoto source:  City of Davenport Facebook

Davenport is flourishing due to its relatively low cost of living, facilitated by its strategic location in the middle of Florida. This inexpensive style of life is drawing more commuters from the Orlando metropolitan area, which is approximately 34 miles to the north.

In 1838, the U.S. army erected Fort Davenport about 12 miles north of the present-day location of Davenport. This led to the establishment of the Davenport community. The fort was one of many constructed at 20-mile intervals along a path between Fort Brooke and Fort Mellon. Unfortunately, the fort survived barely a few years.

The community was initially named Horse Creek after the creek, first reported in the U.S. Army survey of 1849, that runs through the site to enter Snell Creek and Lake Hatchineha in the Kissimmee River system.

The South Florida Railroad reached Davenport in the 1880s, founding the city. In 1884, Horse Creek got a post office, which became Davenport in 1886. Davenport was incorporated in 1915.

Did You Know:

The fort was named after Colonel William Davenport, the U.S. commander in the area during the Second Seminole War.

1. Freeport

Change in Population: 228.0%
Current Population: 5,861
2010 Census Population: 1,787
 County: Walton
 Total Land Area: 18.94 square miles

Freeportphoto source:  30A Real Estate

From 1,787 to 5,861, Freeport saw a 228% increase in its population, making it the fastest-growing city in Florida. Settlement of Freeport began in 1830 when people were drawn to the protected waters of LaGrange Bayou near the eastern tip of Choctawhatchee Bay and the opening of the Choctawhatchee River.

Freeport was formerly referred to as Genoa and then as Four Mile Landing. During the American Civil War, Four Mile Landing became known as Freeport because there was no docking fee in the port area at the confluence of Four Mile Creek and LaFayette Creek.

Local legend has it that, during that era, an unclaimed supply of wine was discovered in the port area, and everyone in the region was invited to enjoy some “free port.”

Some citizens work at Eglin Air Force Base as military troops, contractors, or civil servants. Still, most employment south of the Bay in South Walton County is in county jobs, construction, or the tourist-related service sectors.

Did You Know:

Freeport is a metaphorical and real intersection between North Walton County and South Walton County. It is near Tallahassee, Pensacola, Montgomery, Fort Walton Beach, and Panama City.

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