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ORLANDO — Hispanic residents made up almost half of Florida's population growth last year, and the age gap between Florida's white and minority residents continued to widen, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Non-Hispanic white residents made up almost 90 percent of Florida's residents over age 65. But they made up less than three-quarters of the working age population and less than two-thirds of Florida's minors under age 18.
Florida's minority populations were younger than the white population. The median age for non-Hispanic whites was 44 years, compared with 35 years for Hispanics and 32 years for black residents. Mixed-race Floridians had the youngest median age of all racial groups at 20 years.

The share of Florida's residents over age 65 grew to 19.1 percent, from 18.6 percent, giving Florida once again the nation's highest percentage of residents who are senior citizens. Sumter County was the nation's only county where seniors made up a majority of the population. Situated northwest of Orlando, it is home to the retirement haven the Villages.

"The net increase tends to be at the retirement age, and that is non-Hispanic white," Rayer said.

Hispanics last year made up 24 percent of Florida residents, slightly higher than in 2013. Black residents made up about 16.8 percent of Florida's population, barely changed from 2013, and Asians accounted 2.8 percent of residents, also hardly changed.

St. Johns County had the biggest percentage growth in Hispanics, with a rate of about 9 percent, but the Hispanic population was small to start with at just under 14,000 residents.

In pure numbers, the biggest Hispanic growth was in Miami-Dade, Broward and Orange counties. Miami-Dade added 27,000 new Hispanic residents, Broward added more than 17,000 Hispanics and Orange grew by almost 15,000 Hispanic residents.

In the Tampa Bay area, Hillsborough County added 11,643 Hispanic residents and 26 percent of the total population is Hispanic. Pinellas County, where 8.6 percent of the population is Hispanic, grew by 2,633 Hispanic residents. Pasco County added 3,325 new Hispanic residents. The total population there is 13 percent Hispanic. Hernando County, where 11.1 percent of the total population is Hispanic, 840 Hispanic residents were added.

New Census data shows Florida growth last year was driven by Hispanics 06/25/15 [Last modified: Thursday, June 25, 2015 4:07pm]