32 County Population Rise In Year
By Vanessa Zambrano
Population in households in Miami-Dade County has grown 3.2% in a year in the latest numbers released by the US Census Bureau.
The Metropolitan Statistical Area grew 1.57%, from 5,582,351 to 5,670,125 persons, which means Miami-Dade grew more than Broward and Palm Beach counties combined, said Robert Cruz, chief economist for the county.
The percentage in Miami-Dade represents the growth between 2010 and 2011 — the updated figures for 2012 are estimated to be released in August, said Mr. Cruz. In comparison, household population had barely grown in the 2009-2010 period.
The 3.2% increase in only one year makes up just less than half of the 7.4% growth the county had between 2006 and 2011, according to the data.
Out of about 50,000 incoming people — the population increase in 2011 — close to 16,000 are foreign-born, Mr. Cruz said. That represents 32% of that year’s growth.
More than half of those foreign-born immigrants who came by 2011 have become US citizens, whereas fewer than half who moved to the county in 2010 had done so. Mr. Cruz said that only one-third of the present foreign-born population has come to Miami-Dade County after 2000.
One interesting fact from 2011 is that Europeans and Latin Americans each represent 14% of the county’s population growth that year. "That may reflect the economic conditions in Europe," Mr. Cruz said.
However, foreign-born newcomers don’t necessarily move directly from their home countries to Miami-Dade, as the census includes in this category those who were born abroad but have lived in other parts of the US, he said.
The census figures don’t unearth any major shifts in the foreign-born population in terms of country of birth, Mr. Cruz said. "Cubans make up more than a half of it."
Colombia and Haiti both moved up one notch in the ranking of foreign-born populations in the county, rising to second and third place, between 2007 and 2011, according to the data.
"The foreign-born population from some countries did grow faster than the average," Mr. Cruz said. "The countries that moved higher in the percent of the population tended to be countries that have recently experienced greater levels of insecurity or natural disasters, or both."
But, other factors can also shape the characteristics of this incoming population, he said, "for example, greater-than-average gains in the foreign-born population from some Latin American countries that recently experienced strong economic growth, such as Brazil, Panama and Chile." They have all moved up at least one and up to four positions in the totals here between 2007 and 2011.
Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Peru, Jamaica, Mexico and Argentina have stayed in fifth through eleventh position, respectively, in the same period.
Where in the US are the remaining 68% of the new residents coming from?
"Historically, we get people mainly from the Northeast, and some from the Midwest," Mr. Cruz said.
But most of them are no longer retirees — who now tend to seek Florida’s West Coast — but rather younger adults coming in search of job opportunities and a socially active city, the chief economist said.
"We’ve invested in parks throughout the county, we have better transportation and traffic has also gotten better. More people can live in Broward and work in Miami-Dade than the reverse," he said.
One of the long-term issues that local authorities will need to start planning for, he said, is the issue of rising sea levels.
"It’s gradual, so it’s easy to forget about it, but more people are thinking about it," he said.
Even though it is hard to see population trends change over a short period, the trends have remained continuous, Mr. Cruz said. "I don’t see anything that would shift that, unless something major happened." To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.