By Rachel Christian
Osceola is now the second fastest-growing county in Florida.
According to recently released U.S. Census Bureau estimates, Osceola County has experienced an estimated 25.25 percent growth rate increase since the last official census in 2010.
The data also shows a 4.2 percent population growth over this past year, from 337,990 residents in 2016 to 352,180 in 2017, for a total of 14,190 new residents.
The numbers illustrate what local lawmakers and residents have known for years: Osceola is growing — fast.
The growth of Osceola over the last eight years far surpasses surrounding Central Florida counties. Orange County ranked seventh in the state with a 15 percent bump in growth, Lake County ranked ninth and Polk County in 15th.
Osceola is now the 18th largest county in Florida, according to the data.
Despite outpacing neighboring counties, Osceola actually experienced a 0.6 percent decrease in population from 2016 to 2017. Other than that, the county has seen a steady growth rate increase since 2010.
The bureau’s annual estimates are based on projections and the 2010 Census, which counted a population of just 269,852 at the time.
More than 18.8 million Floridians were counted by the bureau in 2010. That number has grown with each annual estimate, reaching just under 21 million last July, up from more than 20.6 million in July of the previous year.
The state surpassed the 20 million mark in 2015.
The state’s 2,179,806 climb in population since 2010, according to the bureau’s estimates, can be attributed to a natural increase of 235,054 (from 1.5 million births and 1.3 million deaths) and a net migration into the state of 1.93 million (including 1,025,261 of domestic origin and 910,841 of international origin).
It marks Florida’s 2016 growth rate as one of the fastest in the country (ranked fourth) at 1.8 percent.
At the national level, the bureau estimated a population of about 325.7 million as of July 2017, which is up from more than 323.1 million in July of the previous year.