Known as the “Sunshine State,” Florida is the southernmost state of the mainland United States. It is the third most populous state with over 20 million residents. Located on a peninsula between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, it is the only state that borders on both of these bodies of water. The Florida Straits connect the Ocean with the Gulf, and Cuba is located just ninety miles to the south.
Florida shares its northern border with two states, Alabama and Georgia. It contains 67 counties and Tallahassee is its capital. The Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon named it Le Florida, which means flowery, in the sixteenth century. The northwest region of the state is known as the panhandle because of its shape.
How It Works
Put in some effort to learn about SWMRIC and the benefits you can gain if you don't already know what it is. Doing so will not take long, but it will help you reach your real estate goals faster than you once thought possible. Designed for professionals, SWMRIC aims to put real estate agents in contact with each other and allow them to reach an even larger audience.
Not everyone who comes to you will buy one of your listings, and not everyone who goes to other real estate agents will purchase one of theirs. By joining the network of real estate professionals, you will help others get sales in exchange for them giving you a hand, creating a win-win situation from which everyone benefits.
Geography and Climate
Florida has a subtropical climate in the north and a tropical climate in the south with average temperatures ranging from 39-91 degrees Fahrenheit. Its warm, sunny climate has helped to solidify its reputation as a retirement community. Florida’s summers are long, hot, and humid, while winters are warm and mild.
Florida’s elevation is low and the land is mostly flat. The highest point of elevation in the state is just 345 feet above sea level. Caves and caverns, drainage basins, rivers, springs, and limestone are found in the state. Hurricane season runs from June until November. In 1992, Hurricane Andrew, a Category 5 hurricane, left 200,000 people in Florida homeless. In 2017, Hurricane Irma caused widespread damage in the Florida Keys.
Florida has over 1300 miles of coastline, the longest coastline in the contiguous United States. It has over 600 miles of beaches and 11,000 miles of rivers, streams, and waterways.
Florida is host to eight main ecosystems: coral reefs, dunes, fresh water marshes, fresh water swamps, hardwood hammocks, pine lands, scrubs, and mangroves. Mangroves are shrubs and trees with tangled roots that live along the shores, rivers, and estuaries and are essential to the ecological health of the shoreline.
Vegetation in Florida is distinctive. The state is known for its palm trees and live oaks, which keep their leaves year round. Spanish moss grows on and hangs dramatically from oaks. Sea oats, ferns, and algae are plentiful, and citrus groves produce approximately 135 million oranges a year. It should be no surprise that the official state beverage is orange juice and that the state flower is the orange blossom. Some examples of the diverse wildlife to be found in the state include lizards, snakes, deer, bears, raccoons, bobcats, turtles, butterflies, and insects.
The first European contact in Florida was in 1513 when Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon, landed on the peninsula. Prior to that, the land was inhabited by various groups of Native Americans. The Spanish maintained control over the area until 1763 when it was traded to the British in exchange for control over Havana, Cuba. During the American Revolution, Florida was a Loyalist stronghold, and after Britain’s defeat, Spain regained control.
After years of conflict between the United States and the Spanish authorities, Spain eventually ceded the territory to the United States in 1821. In 1845, Florida joined the United States as the twenty-seventh state. During the Civil War, Florida’s legislature voted in favor of succession and fought on the side of the Confederacy.
Up until the Second World War, Florida remained remote, isolated and sparsely populated. Most Floridians lived in the rural northern part of the state and farmed cotton and tobacco. The 1920s saw some population growth resulting from migration from Georgia and Alabama.
World War II was an important turning point with the building of a military base at Fort Myers, leading to a dramatic rise in population and exposure. This helped with furthering the development of the state’s infrastructure.
The 1950s saw yet another transformation in Florida with the onset of the space age and the rise in tourism made possible through the increased availability of automobiles and the building of highways. Together with the introduction of air conditioning, these developments helped Florida become the fastest growing state in America.
Northern Florida remained rural, but in the south instant cities such as Cape Coral appeared. The central part of the state was famous for its orange groves while Miami Beach became an attraction for tourists and celebrities. Miami also became a haven for Cuban refugees during and after the Cuban Revolution.
In 1965, the purchase of a large tract of land in undeveloped northwest Florida by Disney set the stage for another major change. In 1971, Walt Disney World Resort opened in Orlando. It attracted 11 million visitors in its first year. Eventually, several other theme parks followed.
Florida has three national parks: Biscayne, Dry Tortugas, and Everglades. Everglades was the first national park created to protect a threatened ecosystem and is the third largest in the contiguous United States. It is home to thirty-six endangered species.
Florida’s population has grown rapidly over the last century. It has the highest percentage of people over the age of 65 and is the eighth most densely populated state. The mass migration of Cubans along with immigrants from Latin American and other countries have added to the cultural diversity of the region.
The percentage of the population that is African Americans has declined over time. In the early 1900s, about half of the state’s population was African American. In contrast, about 16 percent of the population today is of African ancestry. Many African Americans left the state over the course of the twentieth century in pursuit of jobs and education.
The economy in Florida is driven by several industries. Tourism is the largest sector of the economy with close to one hundred million tourists passing through Florida each year. Agriculture, international trade, aerospace, manufacturing, and construction also drive the economy, making it the fourth largest economy in the United States.