Raymond A. Mohl


By the mid-1990s, few states could challenge Florida’s Sunbelt growth image and megastate status. Now the fourth largest state, following California, Texas, and New York, Florida has had a dramatically rising demographic trajectory for most of the twentieth century. Indeed, the state’s population growth rate has never fallen below 28 percent a decade since 1900; it was much higher than that during the boom years of the 1920s (52 percent), the 1950s (79 percent), and the 1970s (44 percent). Since 1960, however, a substantial portion of the state’s new population has come as a consequence of immigration. Careful estimates in 1995 suggest that about 18 percent of Florida’s almost 14 million residents are foreign born, including several hundred thousand undocumented or illegal immigrants.