Gary R. Mormino


Florida's Big Bang represents an astonishing and complex story, a state swelling from 2.7 million inhabitannts in 1950 to 16 million only fifty years later. Demographically, Florida's tranformation is nothing short of revolutionary. On the eve of World War II Florida's population of l.9 million ranked twenty-seventh nationally and last in the South, trailing even lowly South Carolina and Arkansas. America's twentieth most populous state in 1950, Florida has vaulted to America's fourth largest in 2000, and stands poised to overtake New York. Like shifting tectonic plates, the post-World War II decade witnessed one of the great population shift in history. Million of Americans residing in the North and Midwest migrated to the South and West. Millions of emigrants from the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia flocked to California, Texas, and Florida. Between 1970 and 1990, as America's population grew by 21 percent, the South surged by 40 percent, while Florida soared by 76 percent. In the last half century, while California and Texas tripled their populations, Florida advanced six-fold.1