1. Business

Tampa Bay area's population projected to grow to 3.1 million this year

MOVING IN: The Tampa Bay area's population is expected to grow to about 3.1 million this year, largely due to new arrivals from out of state. Here, Mani Schafer, left, and Scott Stephen unload their moving truck after moving from New Mexico to the former St. Andrews Russian Orthodox Church, which they bought, in Childs Park in St. Petersburg in 2011. DIRK SHADD | Times (2011)
Published Feb. 22, 2018

TAMPA — The Tampa Bay area's population, already the largest of any metropolitan area in the state, is projected to grow from 3 million last year to 3.1 million this year, and to 3.3 million over the next five years.

That growth is expected to bring corresponding increases in two areas of the local economy, according to a new forecast from market researchers at the real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield.

The average home value is expected to reach $224,760 this year, compared with the state average of $267,510. Analysts are looking for the bay area's retail sales to grow from $64.6 billion last year to $68.3 billion this year.

Statewide, Florida's population grew by 430,000 new residents to nearly 20.5 million in 2017, boosted by migration from out of state. It is projected to grow another 450,000 this year and is expected to reach 23.3 million over the next five years.

Last year's growth includes an influx of thousands of residents forced out of Puerto Rico by widespread destruction from Hurricane Maria. Whether most of them stay will depend on reconstruction efforts and the pace of economic recovery in Puerto Rico, analysts say.

'A HUMANITARIAN CRISIS': Wave of Puerto Rican evacuees may shift Florida landscape

Overall, however, migration into Florida is expected to continue to support new construction and development.

"These new residents will also alleviate some of the pressure on already tight labor markets," Cushman & Wakefield Florida market leader Larry Richey said in an announcement of the 2018 projections.

Here are the firm's population projections for nine Florida metro areas, starting with those forecast to have the highest growth:

• Fort Myers: 3.6 percent increase, from a population of 748,000 last year to a projected population of 775,200 this year, driven by demographic trends and lower costs compared to South Florida.

• Orlando: 3.2 percent increase, from 2.4 million to 2.52 million year over year. Orlando's 3.3 percent unemployment rate is the lowest in the state. It adds 1,000 new jobs a week.

• Palm Beach: 2.8 percent increase, from 1.4 million to 1.52 million.

• Indian River: 2.7 percent increase, from 148,000 to 159,700.

• Lakeland: 2 percent, from 677,270 to 689,600. Its average home values of $194,910 are the lowest of Florida's metro areas.

• Jacksonville: 1.9 percent increase, from 1.5 million to 1.6 million. Analysts expect Jacksonville to grow more than the state and nation over the next several years thanks to new tourists, military spending and infrastructure.

• Broward County: 1.8 percent increase, from 1.89 million to 1.98 million.

• Tampa Bay area: 1.8 percent, from 3 million to 3.14 million. It is the 18th largest metro area in the country.

• Miami: 1.4 percent increase, from 2.7 million to nearly 2.8 million. Its $345,130 average home value is the highest in the state.

MORE: Go here for more Business News

Contact Richard Danielson at or (813) 226-3403. Follow @Danielson_Times


  1. Bubba's 33 recently broke ground on its first restaurant in Florida, which will open in Wesley Chapel in December. Pictured, left to right: Experience Florida's Sports Coast (Tourism) Director Adam Thomas, Bubba's 33 marketing director Crista Demers-Dean, Bubba's 33 managing partner Jeff Dean, Pasco County Commissioner Mike Moore and North Tampa Bay Chamber CEO Hope Allen. Andy Taylor
    News and notes on local businesses
  2. Sharon Hayes, the new chief executive officer at Bayfront Health St. Petersburg, says she will draw on her roots in nursing as she engineers a turnaround for the hospital. SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    The city’s largest hospital has suffered setbacks under a corporate owner, but a new leader says it’s time for an infusion of “love and attention.”
  3. Target and some other big retailers plan to hire more seasonal workers than last year.
    Tampa Bay businesses could struggle to find enough qualified workers during the busy holiday shopping season.
  4. Rendering of proposed UPC Insurance headquarters and hotel in St. Petersburg. Alfonso Architects
    Project would include wider sidewalks, more trees and street lighting.
  5. From left, Celestar CEO Gregory Celestan, Duke Energy Florida president Catherine Stempien and Raymond James Financial chairman and CEO Paul Reilly were three of the Tampa Bay business leaders to make Florida Trend's Florida 500 this year. Handout
    ICYMI: Florida Trend magazine released its list of the state’s 500 most influential business leaders.
  6. Tech company Priatek acquired the naming rights to Pinellas County's tallest building in 2015, but its name came off the tower at 200 Central Ave., in downtown St. Petersburg more than a year ago. (Times files | 2015)
    An investor and former member of the board of directors contends in court pleadings that company president Milind Bharvirkar wasted company funds.
  7. An architect's rendering shows part of a planned research center and hospital on N McKinley Drive in Tampa for the Moffitt Cancer Center. During the 2020 legislative session in Tallahassee, the center will seek an increased share of Florida's cigarette tax to finance the McKinley Drive project and other improvements. Moffitt officials said Thursday that the increase initially would finance $205 million, to be paired with $332 million they have already allocated for the project. Moffitt Cancer Center
    Florida lawmakers are the key to unlocking the money, which would pay for more hospital beds and research space.
  8. Macy's Countryside's personal stylist Lidia Luna, of Tampa, left, helps Lisanni Reyes, of Largo, pick out an evening dress at the department store in Clearwater. The chain, founded in 1858 by Rowland Hussey Macy, is in the midst of revamping its brand and stores, including the Clearwater store, which is among 100 stores nationwide, and 10 in Florida, to be updated this year. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The new look and added services at the Clearwater Macy’s come as retailers shuttered more stores in the first six months of 2019 than in all of last year.
  9. 500 Harbour Island, on right. © C2 DESIGN GROUP INC  |  Jones Lang LaSalle
    The price is by far the most paid per unit for a Tampa Bay apartment community
  10. The Grove at Wesley Chapel Jones Lang LaSalle
    Tenants include Michael’s and T.J. Maxx