Florida is a state in the southeast United States, bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the south by the Straits of Florida. Florida is the 22nd most extensive, the 3rd most populous, and the 8th most densely populated of the United States. Jacksonville is the most populous city in Florida, and the largest city by area in the contiguous United States. The Miami metropolitan area is the eighth-largest metropolitan area in the United States. Tallahassee is the state capital.
A peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico, the Atlantic Ocean, and the Straits of Florida, it has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, approximately 1,350 miles (2,170 km), and is the only state that borders both the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Much of the state is at or near sea level and is characterized by sedimentary soil. The climate varies from subtropical in the north to tropical in the south. The American alligator, American crocodile, Florida panther and manatee can be found in the Everglades National Park.
Since the first European contact was made in 1513 by Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León – who named it La Florida ([la floˈɾiða] “The Flowery”) upon landing there in the Easter season, Pascua Florida – Florida was a challenge for the European colonial powers before it gained statehood in the United States in 1845. It was a principal location of the Seminole Wars against the Indians, and racial segregation after the American Civil War.
Today, Florida is distinguished by its large Hispanic community and high population growth, as well as its increasing environmental concerns. Its economy relies mainly on tourism, agriculture, and transportation, which developed in the late 19th century. Florida is also known for its amusement parks, the production of oranges and the Kennedy Space Center.
Florida culture is a reflection of influences and multiple inheritance; Native American, European American, Hispanic and African American heritages can be found in the architecture and cuisine. Florida has attracted many writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams, and continues to attract celebrities and athletes. It is internationally known for golf, tennis, auto racing and water sports.
Facts About Florida
Florida was admitted to United States as a State on March 3, 1845 (27th State)
Governor — Rick Scott
Capital — Tallahassee
Nickname — Sunshine State
State Flower — Orange Blossom
(Click Here) for Florida symbols
Number of Counties in Florida — 67
Form of Government — Governor and independent cabinet consisting of Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer, Commissioner of Agriculture. (Click Here) for additional information on Florida’s cabinet process.
Legislature — 120 House Districts, 40 Senate Districts, 23 Congressional Districts
Economy, State Spending & Taxes | Geography | History | Population | Taxes | Weather & Seasons | Other Interesting Facts
Florida Economy, State Spending & Taxes
Gross State Domestic Product (in millions):
- $680,277 — 2005
- $730,191 — 2006
- $759,572 — 2007
- $747,770 — 2008
- $732,782 — 2009
- $747,735 — 2010
- $754,255 — 2011
- International Trade (40% of all U.S. exports to Latin and South America pass through Florida)
- Tourism — with 87.3 million visitors in 2011 (a record number), Florida is the top travel destination in the world. The tourism industry has an economic impact of $67 billion on Florida’s economy. Click here for additional tourism facts and statistics.
- Space Industry — The space industry represents $4.1 billion of the state’s economy. The average annual wage of aerospace workers is approximately $67,000. The number employed at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) alone is 13,000 and Florida ranks 4th among the states in overall aerospace employment with 33,000 jobs.
- Agriculture — Florida leads the southeast in farm income. Florida produces about 67% of the U.S. oranges and accounts for about 40% of the world’s orange juice supply.
- Construction — This industry’s strength results from the steady stream of new residents and visitors who are welcomed to Florida each year.
- Services — growth in high tech, financial & back office operations
- Software — many small, entrepreneurial companies
- Health Technology (medical, biotech, laboratories)
- University Research — more than $500 million per year in sponsored research at Florida universities
- (Click Here) for more information on Florida’s economy
State Budget Information | Governor’s e-Budget Page
- $69,975,817,005 (2012-2013)
State Spending Per Capita 2007 — Florida Ranks 49th ($4,009)
Florida Taxes — Florida ranks low in terms of the tax burden placed on residents. Based on income, property and other state and local tax collections, the Tax Foundation research organization ranks Florida among the lowest tax states (Florida ranks #5 among the 50 states in 2013; only four states have a lower tax burden).
State Sales Tax — 6%
Corporate Tax — 5.5%
State Income Tax — None
Additional Tax Information — Florida Tax Guide (Click Here)
Additional Business & Economy Information:
Doing Business in Florida (State of Florida.com)
Total Area — 58,560 Square Miles
Land Area — 54,252 Square Miles
Total Water Area — 4,308 Square Miles
Rank Among States in Total Area — 22nd<
Length North to South — 447 Miles
Width East to West — 361 Miles
Distance from Pensacola to Key West — 792 Miles by Road
Highest Natural Point — 345 Feet near Lakewood in Walton County
Geographic Center — 12 miles northwest of Brooksville, Hernando County
Coastline — 1,197 Statute Miles
Tidal Shoreline — 2,276 Statute Miles
Beaches — 663 Miles
Florida has more than 11,000 miles of rivers, streams & waterways
Longest River — St. Johns at 273 miles
Largest Lake — Lake Okeechobee at 700 square miles
(the 2nd largest freshwater lake in the United States)
Largest County — Palm Beach at 2,578 square miles
Smallest County — Union at 245 square miles
Number of Lakes greater than 10 acres — Aprox. 7,700
Number of First Magnitude Springs — 27
(Florida has more first magnitude springs than any other state.)
Number of Islands Greater than 10 Acres — Aprox. 4,500
(Florida ranks 2nd in the nation by this measure and only Alaska ranks higher.)
More Florida water information: (Click Here)
Juan Ponce de Leon discovers Florida in 1513 when he lands in NE Florida, possibly near present-day St. Augustine, to claim Florida for Spain. This is when written records about life in Florida began.
First permanent European settlement is established in 1565 in St. Augustine by Spain.
Florida becomes a U.S. Territory in 1821. General Andrew Jackson serves as military governor until Congress ratifies a territorial constitution.
William P. Duval, Florida’s first civil governor, calls the first Legislative Council into session in Pensacola on June 19, 1823.
Admitted to U.S. as a State on March 3, 1845 (27th State)
See our front page for more “Historic” information links: (Click Here)
Population Rank — 4th in U.S. behind California, Texas & New York
Florida population estimates:
Florida’s Population (2011) — 19,057,542
Florida’s Population (2003) — 17,019,068
Florida’s Population (2002) — 16,713,149
Florida’s Population (2001) — 16,396,515
Florida’s Population (2000) — 15,982,378
Population (1990) — 12,937,926
Population (1980) — 9,746,961
Population Growth Rate (1990-2000) — 23.5%
City Population Rank (2011):
|4. St. Petersburg
|8. Fort Lauderdale
|9. Port St. Lucie
|10. Pembroke Pines
|11. Cape Coral
|15. Coral Springs
|17. Miami Gardens (Carol City-Norland)
|19. Palm Bay
|21. Pompano Beach
|20. West Palm Beach
|22. Spring Hill
|25. Miami Beach
Most Populous Metro Areas (2011):
|1. Miami Fort Lauderdale Pompano Beach (South Florida)
|2. Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater
|5. North Port/Bradenton/Sarasota
|6. Cape Coral/Fort Myers
|7. Lakeland/Winter Haven
|8. Palm Bay/Melbourne/Titusville
|9. Deltona/Daytona Beach/Ormond Beach
|10. Pensacola/Ferry Pass/Brent
|11. Port St. Lucie
|12. Naples /Marco Island
|16. Fort Walton Beach/Crestview/Destin
|17. Panama City
|18. Punta Gorda
|19. Sebastian/Vero Beach
|20. Palm Coast
County Population (2011):
(Counties Listed in Alphabetical Order) | County Population Map
|Indian River County
|Palm Beach County
|Saint Johns County
|Saint Lucie County
|Santa Rosa County
Total State Population: 18,801,310 (2010)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2010 Census
More Florida Census Data
Go Directly to Florida Counties (Click Here)
Florida Weather & Seasons
Florida is known around the world for its balmy weather. The state’s mild winters have made it a haven for retirees. Summers can be long and hot with showers providing much appreciated relief during the rainy season. Coastal areas also experience gentle breezes during the summer.
Average Annual Temperatures:
80.5 (F) degrees (26.9 C) (North Florida)
82.7 (F) degrees (28.2 C) (South Florida)
53.0 (F) degrees (11.7 C) (North Florida)
68.5 (F) degrees (20.3 C) (South Florida)
Get Current Weather Info.
The six-month hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 and Floridians have learned to be ready when a storm threatens the area. More Information: National Hurricane Center
Tree planting season in Florida (December–February)
Other Interesting Florida Facts
Number of people who move to Florida each day — 1,000
Number of major commercial airports — 19
Number of international airports — 12
Number of deepwater ports — 14
Miles of sand beaches — 1,200
Miles of coastline — 1,800
Number of golf courses — more than 1,250
- Florida has more golf courses than any other state
- Palm Beach County has more golf courses than any other county in the country
Number of hotel rooms in Florida — more than 370,000
Number of campgrounds — 700 (100,000 campsites)
Number of people who camp in Florida each year — 6 million
There is no official designation of a “State Motto”. The motto “In God We Trust” is widely used but has never been formally adopted by the Florida Legislature.
Sources: Florida Dept. of State; Visit Florida; U.S. Census Bureau; Bureau of Economic & Business Research (University of Florida); State of Florida.com research.