By NEIL HUGHES STAFF WRITER, Charlotte Sun-Herald Newspaper. Reprinted with permission.
Charlotte County, Florida residents: Say hello to your 12,811 newest neighbors.
That’s how many new residents the area gained from 2000 to 2006, according to new information from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The bureau released its annual Population Estimates Program numbers for U.S. metro- and micropolitan statistical areas Thursday. The Punta Gorda, Florida metropolitan statistical area essentially includes all of Charlotte County, Florida.
The greater Punta Gorda, Florida region — one of 361 statistical areas included in the survey — had a total of 154,438 residents in 2006. That number was a 9 percent increase from six years before, according to the report.
The percentage increase managed to just crack the top 100 statistical areas, coming in at No. 96.
The nearly 13,000 increase was, in terms of raw numbers, ranked No. 170 of the survey’s 361 areas.
But the survey also showed a significant drop-off in growth from 2005 to 2006, when only 98 additional new residents were added to the Punta Gorda MSA.
The tenth-of-a-percent population increase for the year ranked Punta Gorda No. 291.
In terms of total population, the Punta Gorda MSA is ranked 247 out of the country’s 361 MSAs.
The survey grouped Sarasota, Venice and Bradenton in the same MSA. The region’s 682,833 residents in 2006 were an increase of 92,870, or 15.7 percent, over its 2000 totals, placing it at No. 38 on the list.
For the one-year total, the greater Sarasota area increased by 11,462, or 1.7 percent, since 2005, placing 99 out of 361.
The Census Bureau estimates annual population totals as of July 1, using local records of births and deaths, Internal Revenue Service records of people moving within the United States and census statistics on immigrants. The estimates released Thursday were for metropolitan areas, which generally include cities and their surrounding suburbs.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.