Florida Report: Households and Average Household Size

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Stanley K. Smith, Population Program Director

Scott Cody, Research Demographer


The Bureau of Economic and Business (BEBR) at the University of Florida produces population estimates for Florida and its cities and counties using the housing unit method, in which changes in population are based on changes in occupied housing units (or households). This is the most commonly used method for making local population estimates in the United States because it can utilize a wide variety of data sources, can be applied at any level of geography, and can produce estimates that are at least as accurate as those produced by any other method.

The two primary components of the housing unit method are the number of households and average household size. In this report, we show our estimates of these two components for Florida and each of its counties on April 1, 2012. For purposes of comparison, we also show households and PPH for 2000 and 2010 as counted in the decennial census.

Households are defined as housing units occupied by permanent residents. They should not be confused with total housing units, which include vacant and seasonally occupied units as well as units occupied by permanent residents. Ac- cording to Census Bureau guidelines, a person’s permanent residence is the place the person live and sleeps most of the time. As a result, temporary residents such as tourists and snowbirds are not included in the estimates shown here.


There were 7,537,442 households in Florida on April 1, 2012, an increase of 116,640 (1.6 percent) since April 1, 2010. Miami-Dade County had more households than any

other county in Florida, with 884,222. Other counties with large numbers of households were Broward (695,304), Palm Beach (553,517), Hillsborough (483,885), Orange (435,088), Pinellas (417,562), and Duval (344,668). At the other end of the spectrum, six counties had fewer than 5,000 households: Liberty (2,535), Lafayette (2,604), Union (4,057), Franklin (4,243), Glades (4,445), and Hamilton (4,680).

Miami-Dade County had the largest increase in house- holds between 2010 and 2012, growing by 16,870. Other large increases occurred in Orange (13,241), Lee (10,167), Hillsborough (9,855), Palm Beach (9,290), and Broward (9,257). In percentage terms, the largest increases occurred in Sumter (9.1 percent), Osceola (4.8 percent), Lee (3.9 percent), Okaloosa (3.6 percent), Walton (3.6 percent), and Gadsden (3.5). At the other end of the spectrum, eighteen counties had a net loss of households between 2010 and 2012.

Average household size

Florida’s average household size declined substantially between 1950 and 1990, falling from 3.22 to 2.46. It remained constant between 1990 and 2000 before rising slightly to 2.48 in 2010. At the state level, we estimate that average household size has not changed since 2010 (see Table A).

Average household size varies considerably among counties in Florida. In 2012, it was largest in Hardee (3.12), Hendry (3.09), Osceola (2.92), Miami-Dade (2.84), Baker (2.82), and Clay (2.76) and was smallest in Sumter (2.03), Sarasota (2.13), Charlotte (2.14), Pinellas (2.16), Monroe (2.18), and Citrus (2.19).

In general, average household size tends to be higher for black than white households, for Hispanic than non-Hispanic households, and for households headed by young or middle- aged persons than for households headed by older persons. Although there is not a perfect correlation, the counties in Florida with the largest average household sizes tend to have low proportions of older residents and high proportions of black or Hispanic residents, whereas counties with the small- est average household sizes tend to have high proportions of older residents and low proportions of black and Hispanic residents.


Estimates of households are based on data from the 2010 census and are updated using information on building permits, active residential electric customers, and homestead exemp- tions. Estimates of average household size are based on data from the 2010 census and are updated using changes in household size since 2010 for the state as a whole (as measured by the Current Population Survey), previous trends in aver- age household size, and local changes in the mix of housing units by type (single family, multifamily, mobile home). For a more detailed description of the estimation methodology, please see Florida Estimates of Population: April 1, 2012, published by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research in January, 2013.


Table A. Average household size, Florida, 1950–2010

Year                   Size

1950                   3.22
1960                   3.11
1970                   2.90
1980                   2.55
1990                   2.46
2000                   2.46
2010                   2.48

Source: U.S. Census Bureau


Funding for these estimates was provided by the Florida Legislature.


Article and information provided by:

University of Florida
Bureau of Economic and Business Research

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
221 Matherly Hall
Post Office Box 117145
Gainesville, Florida 32611-7145

For more information visit www.bebr.ufl.edu

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