These Are The 10 Fastest Growing Cities In Florida

Florida is already the third-most populous state in America, and growing fast. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, it's also the 5th fastest growing state. Since growth in both California and Texas has slowed, it's possible that one day, the Sunshine State might be the most populous state in the nation one day.

That's a long ways down the road. For now, we want to look at the short term, and particularly the cities within Florida to see where the biggest growth has occurred.

Is being in an area that's growing quickly a good thing or a bad thing? Depends on who you ask. Some want bigger, more exciting cities, while others want peace and quiet, thank you very much.

Either way, facts are facts. Here are the fastest-growing cities in Florida for the last 5 years according to the AreaVibes Growth Index, which was just released:

  1. Sweetwater
  2. Marianna
  3. Doral
  4. Groveland
  5. St. Cloud
  6. Winter Garden
  7. Parkland
  8. Homestead
  9. Palm Springs
  10. Clermont

As you might notice, these are all over the map. Some are in the greater Orlando area, some are in the Miami area, and one is a Tallahassee suburb.

How We Measured The Fastest Growing Cities In Florida

To figure out which cities are growing the most, we simply had to look at the growth rates for cities over the last five years, according to the U.S. Census.

  • Population in 2014
  • Population in 2010
  • Growth rate
  • Raw growth (actual population change)

We compared every Florida city with a population over 5,000 people for the analysis.

1. Sweetwater

Population: 17,600
Population in 2010: 11,599
Population growth: 34%
Livability Score: 76

This Miami suburb has seen explosive growth over the last 5 years. At 34%, that's by far the biggest gain in population of any city in Florida.

Home to the largest population of Nicaraguan Americans in the U.S., Sweetwater has been bolstered by real estate prices that are 24% below the state average and a cost of living that has remained stable for the past five years.

2. Marianna

Population: 7,330
Population in 2010: 5,172
Population growth: 28%
Livability Score: 74

Marianna, a Tallahassee suburb along I-10, is the only other city to experience a population growth higher than 20% in Florida for the past 5 years.

The "City Of Southern Charm" has an exceptional cost of living index, meaning it's very affordable for families on a budget. However, home prices themselves are just about half as expensive as they are in the average Florida city, meaning the population is also an expectedly transient one as well.

3. Doral

Population: 45,233
Population in 2010: 39,148
Population growth: 17%
Livability Score: 82

This Miami suburb has been growing at a steady clip since 2010, and even well beyond that. Just 10 years ago, Fortune Magazine named Doral 51st on its list of 100 cities with the best mix of business advantages and lifestyle appeal.

The high cost of living hasn't apparently deterred many incoming residents. The average home is just about twice as expensive in Doral as in the average Florida city. That's been bolstered by great local school scores and a fairly decent job scene, where only 4.3% of residents are out of work.

4. Groveland

Population: 8,678
Population in 2010: 7,035
Population growth: 15%
Livability Score: 77

At one point, Groveland was the fastest growing city in all of Florida, but over the last few years, the population has slowed a bit. Still, at a 15% clip, it's clearly one of the top places Floridans are flocking to.

This Orlando suburb has been plagued by a far higher than average crime rate, but helped by a much lower than average cost of purchasing a home.

5. St. Cloud

Population: 36,371
Population in 2010: 30,742
Population growth: 15%
Livability Score: 81

The motto for this Orlando suburb is "Celebrating The Small Town Life" but if the population continues to surge the way it has over the last several years, they might have to change that.

What factors have helped make St. Cloud so desirable? In part, the cost of living is below average, but the schools are above average.

6. Winter Garden

Population: 34,508
Population in 2010: 29,480
Population growth: 14%
Livability Score: 80

Another Orlando suburb, Winter Garden has seen its population surge toward the 40,000 mark lately, and it will probably get to that number soon if recent growth continues.

And, like St. Cloud, Winter Garden might have to change it's motto from "A Charming Little City" as well.

Winter Garden gets great scores for schools and home prices, and crime is about average, which is part of the reason so many residents have chose to move here over the last 10 years.

7. Parkland

Population: 24,050
Population in 2010: 20,422
Population growth: 13%
Livability Score: 85

Even though few Florida residents can actually afford to move interstate to this Miami suburb, many people are flocking here in droves from out of state.

Home prices are somewhere north of a half million, and rent is actually more than $3,000 a month. You get what you pay for here in Parkland, as the area is known for great schools and some of the lowest crime in the state.

8. Homestead

Population: 59,866
Population in 2010: 52,090
Population growth: 13%
Livability Score: 74

Homestead has notoriously been a very transient city, so it's no surprise that growth has eclipsed those of most other places in the Sunshine State.

The population here has continued to surge, as local residents have taken advantage of the very affordable home prices, while dealing with some of the worst crime and lowest-performing schools in the state.

9. Palm Springs

Population: 19,551
Population in 2010: 15,688
Population growth: 12%
Livability Score: 75

This Palm Beach County village is very affordable (meaning homes are some of the cheapest in the state). That always helps cities grow, but at a cost.

Crime is just about as bad as it is in Homestead, and only 56% of the village are actual home owners, which indicates there are a lot of new apartment construction projects within city limits.

10. Clermont

Population: 28,302
Population in 2010: 24,151
Population growth: 12%
Livability Score: 80

We round out the list of the fastest-growing cities in Florida with Clermont, another Orlando suburb. This means that Orlando is officially the fastest-growing metro area in the state, a far change from even 10 years ago when that honor went to Miami.

Cities on the fast track

If you're measuring the cities in Florida with populations that have grown the most in the last 5 years, this is an accurate list.

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