The 2020 Census results are in, and the growth is real. Lakeland’s population now stands at 115,566 residents, up 15.3% from 2010, according to new data.
In other words, that equates to about 1.5 new residents per hour for the past decade.
Why is this happening now?
Every 10 years, the US Census Bureau collects nationwide population and demographic data, which is used to redraw congressional and state legislative district lines + determine federal spending.
What did we find?
In terms of population growth, Lakeland experienced a higher rate of population growth than the state of Florida, with a difference of 1.1%.
Lakeland’s population growth in this census exceeded expectations by around 500 residents.
Lakeland’s total housing units — occupied + unoccupied houses, condos, apartments, and mobile homes — increased 12.5%, from 281,214 to 316,381 + 86.1% of all housing is occupied.
The growth spurs beyond Lakeland: Polk County’s population grew 20.4% over the past decade, bringing the total population to over 725,046 residents.
2020 Population and Housing State Data for Florida Counties | Screenshot via United States Census Bureau
Why does this matter?
Redistricting, or the process of redrawing council and school districts, is completed every 10 years after the US Census is finalized. New voting district boundaries must be balanced by population and follow traditional redistricting criteria.
With the census data now available, Florida lawmakers will begin meeting to discuss redistricting as soon as next month. Sen. Ray Rodriguez and Rep. Tom Leek of the Senate and the House will head their respective chamber’s redistricting committees, the members of which have not yet been released.
While it is unclear yet whether or not redistricting committees plan to travel the state seeking input from the public, as they did in the last redistricting process, an interactive website that would allow the public to view proposed maps, draw their own maps, and submit input is in the works.
Stay up to date on the redistricting process here.
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