Osceola named 7th fastest growing county in U.S. from 2017-18

People keep moving to Osceola County.

From 2017 to 2018, Osceola experienced the seventh highest percentage population increase in the United States, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data released last month.

In just a year, Osceola County’s population hiked 4.3 percent, accounting for 15,329 new residents.

The rise is even more pronounced over the last eight years, when Osceola saw a nearly 37 percent increase to its population from 2010 to 2018 - or 99,307 new residents.

This also made Osceola the fifth fastest growing county in the United States since 2010.

As of July, 367,990 people now call Osceola County home, according to the data.

Another notable record – the Kissimmee-Orlando-Sanford metro area came in fifth for numeric growth from 2017 to 2018 with 54,894 more people. The metro area also came in ninth for percentage growth since 2010.

The new Census population estimates released on April 18 found interesting trends statewide about where new residents are coming from.  

According to the data, Florida’s population growth has shifted over the past couple of years so that the Sunshine State now attracts more new residents from Puerto Rico and foreign countries than it does from the other 49 states combined.

In 2018, Florida had a net gain of 132,602 people from other states and 175,670 people from U.S. territories and other countries. The rest of the increase was natural, with more births than deaths among people already here.

The Census now estimates Florida’s overall population at just over 21 million.

In Osceola, a center of the state’s growing Hispanic community, more than two-thirds of new residents in 2018 came from Puerto Rico or other countries, according to the Census estimates. By contrast, in Sumter County, home of the sprawling 55-year-old and up retirement community, The Villages, 99.7 percent of the 5,251 people who moved there in 2018, were domestic transplants.

Though the data doesn’t show where the new international residents came from, it does show a loss of about 130,000 people from Puerto Rico between July 2017 and July 2018 — which includes the months following Hurricane Maria.

The new Census population estimates, while not as precise as the census occurring in 2020, gives a national snapshot of which areas are growing and which are contracting.

The latest report shows that counties with the greatest numbers of growth are in the South and West, with counties in states like Texas and Arizona taking the lead.

In the coming months, the Census Bureau will release 2018 population estimates for cities and towns, housing unit estimates, along with national, state and county population estimates by age, sex and race.