Today’s entry: I get that Florida’s going to gain a seat in the House but where will it be? What I haven’t heard reported is where Florida’s population has grown fastest.
Bottom Line: It’s a good question and part of the reason you likely haven’t heard more detail regarding specifics is due to the Census not yet having released official demographic data. The detailed data is currently scheduled to drop next Tuesday, May 4th. That said the Census Bureau does put out annual estimating information and it gives us an idea of where the fastest growth in Florida has occurred over the past decade.
According to the Census Bureau’s most recent population estimating report, the fastest-growing metro in Florida was Fort Myers. In fact, it was the 8th fastest-growing metro in the country over the past decade with a population estimated to have grown by 39.8%. The largest population gain, measuring total people, of any city in the state is estimated to be Jacksonville, adding nearly 90,000 people.
All of this suggests that the extra Congressional seat won’t be coming to Southeast Florida. Many have suggested the Orlando metro would gain the representation, however, most likely it will mean an extra seat geared a bit more towards Southwest Florida by splitting a district that sits south of Orlando.
The 2nd largest Congressional district in Florida in total geography is Florida’s 17th which encompasses parts of Lee County, where Fort Myers is located. It’s likely much of the geography of Florida’s current 17th is split to create an additional district reflecting the growth in the region. As is almost always the case, districts generally will be tweaked. So, your current district in Southeast Florida could be impacted, including the number of your district.
However, with the fastest growth being in Southwest Florida and Northeast Florida with a Republican-controlled legislature drawing the new map, there’s the opportunity to justifiably create a district reflecting the top growth without additional gerrymandering concerns. We should have greater clarity as soon as next week.
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