CENSUS – Charlotte grows in diversity

CENSUS – Charlotte grows in diversity

By NEIL HUGHES STAFF WRITER, Charlotte Sun-Herald Newspaper. Reprinted with permission.

Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau show an increase in diversity within Charlotte County, reflecting a national trend.

However, the number of minorities in Charlotte still lags well behind national averages.

The 2005 American Community Survey released Tuesday provides the first population information for Charlotte since the 2000 census.

The statistics show nearly 2,000 more Hispanics and Latinos have come to the county since 2000. The 2005 survey says the ethnic group accounts for 4.2 percent of the county’s population.

Comparatively, Hispanics represent 14.5 percent of U.S. citizens nationwide.comparison, only 12 percent make up that demographic across the nation.

Charlotte County has the oldest median age in the state, at nearly 53 years. In addition, Florida has the highest average age of all states.

Over a third of Charlotte’s residents are 65 and older. By comparison, only 12 percent make up that demographic across the nation.

Though overall minority numbers are up, the number of blacks has decreased in Charlotte by about 500 in the last five years. Blacks currently comprise 3.7 percent of the county’s population, according to the survey.

Total population increased by about 13,000 to a total of 154,716 residents. The number does not include those who live in group quarters, such as dormitories or institutions.

The statistics show that despite increased diversity, Charlotte County remains overwhelmingly white: 91.2 percent. That number is a decrease of 1.4 percent from 2000.

Charlotte County can boast more high school graduates than the national average, but fewer college graduates. Just over 17 percent of county residents have a fouryear degree, whereas over 27 percent do nationwide.

Charlotte also has a higher population of veterans, disabled and married than the national average.

The numbers are bigger in Sarasota County, where the population has increased by about 35,000 since the 2000 survey. Sarasota has a 2005 population of 366,256.

Most of Sarasota’s population increase came from over 8,000 more Hispanics. They now total about 22,900 and account for 6.4 percent of the county’s population.

Sarasota County also saw a marginal increase in the number of blacks, up about 600 from 2000.

Behind Charlotte and Citrus, Sarasota has the thirdoldest average age in the state at over 49 years.

Data for DeSoto County was not included in the 2005 survey, as only cities and counties with populations of 65,000 or greater were included. DeSoto’s 2000 population was 32,209.

You can e-mail Neil Hughes at nhughes@sun-herald.com.

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