This section of the Florida Mortality Atlas provides a visual display of population
trends in Florida over the past 33 years. Maps, graphs, and charts are used to depict
Florida’s population growth from 1970 to 2003 by age, race, and gender. All files
are provided in .pdf format for convenient printing.
Mortality risk is related to demographic variations within a population. Such variations
include differences in racial composition, gender composition, and age. Nonwhites
have higher mortality rates than Whites for most causes of death. Males have higher
mortality rates for many causes of deaths than females, which is reflected by the
fact that females, on average, tend to have a greater life expectancy than males.
Certain age groups are at greater risk of developing or contracting certain illnesses
than other age groups. For example, Florida residents ages 85 and older are more
likely to succumb to complications of Alzheimer’s disease than residents ages 55
to 64. Both the very young and the elderly are at an increased risk of developing
influenza or pneumonia. Awareness of the racial, gender, and age composition of
a population may lead to a better understanding of mortality risks related to that
The sources of data for the Florida Mortality Atlas are the Florida Department of
Health’s Office of Vital Statistics, the US Census Bureau, the National Center for
Health Statistics, the Bureau of Economic and Business Research, and the Florida
Legislature Office of Economic and Demographic Research.
Trends in Population Growth
Florida is a large and diverse state with over 17 million residents and host to
many elderly persons, immigrants, and national and international visitors. The state
has experienced tremendous population growth in the last several decades.
The population in Florida has increased by 134.6% from 1970 to 2000. The 1990s was
the third consecutive decade in which Florida’s population grew by approximately
3 million residents. Florida currently ranks fourth among the fifty states in population
and continues to be one of the most rapidly growing states in the nation.
Florida Population Changes, 1970 to 2003
Percent Change During the Previous 10 Years
Percent Change Due to Natural Increase
Percent Change Due to Net Migration
37.0% between 1960 - 1970
30.4% between 1970 - 1980
24.5% between 1980 - 1990
18.9% between 1990 - 2000
6.3% between 2000 - 2003
Source: Florida CHARTS; Florida Legislature, Office of Economic & Demographic
Research; Florida Office of Vital Statistics
The age distribution of Florida’s population has changed dramatically since 1970.
1970, the state’s population was concentrated among age groups under 30 years of
age. By 2000, the middle-aged and elderly populations had grown due to the
aging Baby Boomer generation and the migration of older adults into the state.
Today Florida’s population distribution exhibits a greater percentage of elderly
residents compared to the U.S. average. Persons over age 65 represent about
18% of Florida’s total population, making it the state with the largest proportion
of elderly residents. Elderly residents comprise only 12.4% of the total U.S. population.
who represent about 82% of Florida’s population
, are more likely to survive
to older ages than Nonwhites.
This pattern is more evident among Florida residents than among the general U.S.
Whites in Florida comprise a higher percentage of the population
in older age groups than do Whites in the U.S. population as a whole. Nonwhites
in the overall U.S. population are likelier to survive to old age when compared
to Nonwhites in the state of Florida.
Around 1980, life expectancy in Florida surpassed the U.S. average.
females, by far, have the longest life expectancy of any group in Florida and are
the only race-sex group that has a life expectancy at birth of over 80 years.
Population growth depends on two components--natural increase
between the number of births and deaths) and net migration
between the the number of people moving in -- in-migrants -- and the number of people
moving out -- out-migrants). If natural increase is positive, then there are more
births than deaths; conversely, natural decrease occurs when there are more deaths
than births. Positive net migration occurs when there are more in-migrants than
out-migrants. Net migration is negative when more people out-migrate than in-migrate.
Population increased in all counties in Florida over the past 30 years, but primary
reasons for the increase -- natural increase or net migration -- varied from
county to county.
In most states, the amount of natural increase largely determines population growth.
Florida is an exception; 87.2% of the population growth in the state is due to net
Fifty-nine of Florida’s sixty-seven counties experienced a population increase from
1970 to 2000 that can be largely attributed to net migration.
is the only county in Florida in which natural increase was more than double the
net migration. Also Gadsden County experienced greater out-migration than in-migration.
The population density in the state of Florida has more than doubled since 1970.
In 1970, Florida had a population density of 120.6 persons per square mile. By 2000,
the state’s population density had increased to 282.9 persons per square mile. Many
of the state’s most densely populated areas are located in the southern and central
regions and along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. These highly dense areas tend to
be counties that experience higher shares of Florida’s net migration.
Definitions and Data Interpretation Notes
The Florida Mortality Atlas distinguishes residents as being either White (including
White Hispanics) or Nonwhite (all other race and ethnic groups, including Blacks).
Blacks comprise about 87% of the Nonwhite group.
Life expectancy is a measure often used to gauge the overall health of a population.
As a summary measure of mortality, life expectancy represents the average number
of years of life at birth that could be expected if current death rates were to
remain constant. Shifts in life expectancy are often used to describe trends in
mortality. Life expectancy at birth is strongly influenced by infant and child mortality.
Improvements in nutrition, housing, hygiene, medical care, and prevention and control
of infectious diseases contribute to decreases in death rates throughout the lifespan
and the consequent increases in average life expectancy.
Many of the maps in the Florida Mortality Atlas are colored using a quartile method.
In this method, data (age-adjusted death rates) are calculated and then ranked from
lowest to highest for all 67 counties. Next, the counties are divided into four
groups. Each of the four groups is assigned a number from 1 to 4. The counties with
the smallest quantities of the events being ranked are assigned to the first quartile
(1) and are shaded with the lightest color, while the counties with the highest-quantities
of the event are assigned to the fourth quartile (4) and are shaded with the darkest
color. Because quartiles are calculated using data from all 67 counties, the color-coded
map provides a relative ranking among counties.
Three maps in the Population section of the Florida Mortality Atlas did not use
the quartile method. These maps are Percent of Population Change by Primary Reason
Percent of Population Change Due to Natural Increase
, and Percent of Population
Change Due to Net Migration
. Instead, counties were manually assigned to
groups to emphasize those that are outliers.
Components of Growth
There are four components of population growth: births, deaths, in-migration and
out-migration. Births and in-migration increase the size of a population, whereas
deaths and out-migration cause decreases. The overall growth (or decline) of the
population is thus determined by the number of births, deaths, in-migrants, and
The natural increase (or decrease) of a population is a result of the difference
between births (fertility) and deaths (mortality). The number of births and deaths,
along with fertility and mortality rates, vary from place to place. In some areas
of Florida, deaths actually outnumber births, mainly due to the high numbers of
elderly people settling, and subsequently dying, in those areas. Between 1990 and
2000, natural increase in Florida accounted for about 14 percent of Florida's total
population growth. The Office of Vital Statistics maintains the official records
of births and deaths in Florida.
Net migration is not a process of population change, but the outcome of two migration
processes (in-migration and out-migration). In this Atlas, in-migrant is defined
as anyone moving into a county and out-migrant is defined as anyone moving out of
a county. Most of Florida's growth between 1990 and 2000 can be attributed to net
migration, which accounted for about 86 percent of the population growth during
that decade. This stands in sharp contrast to the experience in many states, where
net migration is small or even negative.
Since data on births and deaths are many times more reliable (and are more likely
to be available) than data on in-migration and out-migration, the effects of the
two migration processes on the growth of a population are often estimated. In this
Atlas, net migration is estimated using population estimates for two different years
and birth and death data for the period between those two years, as detailed in
the following formula:
This formula provides an estimate of net migration in Florida, though it does mask
trends in in-migration and out-migration.
Population density is expressed in residents per square mile, which can be obtained
simply by dividing the number of residents by the land area of the county measured
in square miles.