Between 2008 and 2009 Florida's population shrunk for the first time since World War II. The net loss of 58,000 residents was attributed to the recession and real estate woes. Now, the University of Florida says Florida's population is back on the rise, and says that may be a good sign for the state's economy.
Between April 2009 and April 2010, Florida saw a net increase in the population of 18,771,768. The good news is that it obviously reverses the decline. The bad news is that the increase hardly makes up for last year's loss and is the smallest increase in population since World War II.
Every year between 1950 and 2008 Florida saw its population increase by more than 125,000 people. The slow growth of the past two years means Florida will not overcome New York as the country's third most populace state as once predicted.
However UF researches see some good news to the turn around, characterizing it as a "a hopeful yet tentative sign that the worst of the recession may have passed."
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Stan Smith, director of UF's Bureau of Economic and Business Research, explains in a statement:
"Two years ago, the economy was deteriorating rapidly, while over the past year there have been some signs that it is leveling off or even improving slightly," he said. "I think that's the reason we're seeing a small increase in population."
"Although technically the recession has ended, the economy continues to be in bad shape, particularly in terms of its ability to create jobs," he said. "There have been some jobs added in the last few months, but unemployment is still very high and job growth is very weak."
The gain is mostly attributed to still strong foreign immigration, and the fact that despite being characterized as the retirement state the number of births outnumbered deaths.
Miami-Dade County saw the highest amount of growth through out the state, adding 8,253 new residents, mostly through birth and immigration.