Bradford County, Florida

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Bradford County
Bradford County Courthouse
Bradford County Courthouse
Official seal of Bradford County
Map of Florida highlighting Bradford County
Location within the U.S. state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 29°57′N 82°10′W / 29.95°N 82.17°W / 29.95; -82.17
Country United States
State Florida
FoundedDecember 31, 1858
SeatStarke
Largest cityStarke
Area
 • Total300 sq mi (800 km2)
 • Land294 sq mi (760 km2)
 • Water6.5 sq mi (17 km2)  2.2%%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2020)
28,303
 • Density91/sq mi (35/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district3rd
Websitewww.bradfordcountyfl.gov
Bradford County Courthouse in Starke
American Atheists bench and Ten Commandments display at the courthouse

Bradford County is a county in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2020 census, the population was 28,303.[1] Its county seat and largest city is Starke.[2]

History[edit]

New River County, as it was known at the time, was created in 1858 from segments of Columbia and Alachua counties. It was renamed Bradford County in 1861 in honor of Confederate Captain Richard Bradford, who fought in the American Civil War and was killed in the Battle of Santa Rosa Island, becoming the first officer from Florida to die during the Civil War.[3][4]

During the county's early history, Lake Butler served as the county seat. However, the growth of Starke as an important city on the Fernandina to Cedar Key railroad led to an 1875 vote on the location of the county seat, with Starke winning by 46 votes. A successful legal challenge brought the county seat back to Lake Butler, and an 1885 referendum reaffirmed the move by 19 votes.[5]

Yet another referendum was held in 1887, and saw the courthouse and county seat moved back to Starke, where it would remain. The dispute brought on the attention of the Florida Legislature, and in 1921, the western portion of Bradford County and Lake Butler were separated to form Union County.[5]

The county was home to numerous citrus farms in its early days prior to the Great Freeze in the winter of 1894-1895. Even after the freeze, Starke and Lawtey continued to be major regional agricultural producers, with the primary exports being cotton, tobacco, and strawberries.[5]

Significant growth would come to the county during the World War II era, with the construction of U.S. Route 301 and nearby Camp Blanding.

Post-war, the county saw the construction of Florida State Prison on the Bradford-Union County line in Raiford, along with several moments in the national media spotlight. Ted Bundy was executed at the prison in 1989, while Starke and Bradford County faced a series lawsuits in the 2000s over a cross on the city's water tower and a Ten Commandments statue in front of the county courthouse.

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 300 square miles (780 km2), of which 294 square miles (760 km2) is land and 6.5 square miles (17 km2) (2.2%) is water.[6] It is the third-smallest county in Florida by land area and second-smallest by total area.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
18603,820
18703,671−3.9%
18806,11266.5%
18907,51623.0%
190010,29537.0%
191014,09036.9%
192012,503−11.3%
19309,405−24.8%
19408,717−7.3%
195011,45731.4%
196012,4468.6%
197014,62517.5%
198020,02336.9%
199022,51512.4%
200026,08815.9%
201028,5209.3%
202028,303−0.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010-2015[1]
Bradford County racial composition as of 2020
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Pop 2010[13] Pop 2020[14] % 2010 % 2020
White (NH) 21,066 20,320 73.86% 71.79%
Black or African American (NH) 5,777 5,427 20.26% 19.17%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 85 58 0.3% 0.2%
Asian (NH) 149 135 0.52% 0.48%
Pacific Islander (NH) 11 12 0.04% 0.04%
Some Other Race (NH) 26 97 0.09% 0.34%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 386 904 1.35% 3.19%
Hispanic or Latino 1,020 1,350 3.58% 4.77%
Total 28,520 28,303

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 28,303 people, 9,318 households, and 5,882 families residing in the county.

At the 2000 census there were 26,088 people, 8,497 households, and 6,194 families in the county. The population density was 89 people per square mile (34/km2). There were 9,605 housing units at an average density of 33 per square mile (13/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 76.28% White, 20.79% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.61% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 0.65% from other races, and 1.24% from two or more races. 2.38% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[15] Of the 8,497 households 31.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.40% were married couples living together, 13.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.10% were non-families. 22.90% of households were one person and 9.70% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.01.

The age distribution was 21.90% under the age of 18, 9.50% from 18 to 24, 32.10% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 12.90% 65 or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 127.00 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 132.50 males.

The median household income was $33,140 and the median family income was $39,123. Males had a median income of $29,494 versus $20,745 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,226. About 11.10% of families and 14.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.30% of those under age 18 and 17.60% of those age 65 or over.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Florida Department of Corrections operates several correctional facilities in unincorporated areas. The facilities include Florida State Prison,[16] Florida State Prison – West Unit,[17] and New River Correctional Institution.[18] Florida State Prison houses one of Florida's two male death rows and the State of Florida execution chamber.[19]

Politics[edit]

Voter registration[edit]

According to the Secretary of State's office, Republicans account for a majority of registered voters in Bradford County.

Bradford County Voter Registration & Party Enrollment as of 31 March 2022[20]
Political Party Total Voters Percentage
Democratic 5,035 28.51%
Republican 9,753 55.22%
Independent 2,693 15.25%
Third Parties 181 1.02%
Total 17,662 100%

State and Local elections[edit]

For most of its history, Bradford County voted heavily Democratic at the local, state, and federal level. The county flipped at the Presidential level for the last time in 1984, and has voted heavily Republican in presidential and congressional races since. In 2015, Republicans overtook Democrats for the first time in registration advantage, and by 2018, nearly all county offices had flipped to the Republican Party.

United States presidential election results for Bradford County, Florida[21]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 10,334 75.71% 3,160 23.15% 156 1.14%
2016 8,913 73.31% 2,924 24.05% 321 2.64%
2012 8,219 70.46% 3,325 28.51% 120 1.03%
2008 8,136 69.52% 3,430 29.31% 137 1.17%
2004 7,557 69.62% 3,244 29.88% 54 0.50%
2000 5,416 62.43% 3,075 35.45% 184 2.12%
1996 4,039 48.97% 3,356 40.69% 853 10.34%
1992 3,672 44.02% 3,041 36.46% 1,628 19.52%
1988 4,221 63.61% 2,386 35.96% 29 0.44%
1984 4,130 63.82% 2,341 36.18% 0 0.00%
1980 2,778 44.50% 3,347 53.61% 118 1.89%
1976 1,680 29.91% 3,868 68.86% 69 1.23%
1972 3,652 73.67% 1,217 24.55% 88 1.78%
1968 718 15.18% 1,173 24.79% 2,840 60.03%
1964 1,987 46.13% 2,320 53.87% 0 0.00%
1960 1,131 30.85% 2,535 69.15% 0 0.00%
1956 1,203 34.07% 2,328 65.93% 0 0.00%
1952 976 29.68% 2,312 70.32% 0 0.00%
1948 357 16.30% 1,228 56.07% 605 27.63%
1944 355 16.67% 1,775 83.33% 0 0.00%
1940 261 14.12% 1,588 85.88% 0 0.00%
1936 293 16.40% 1,494 83.60% 0 0.00%
1932 210 13.75% 1,317 86.25% 0 0.00%
1928 534 43.73% 679 55.61% 8 0.66%
1924 94 14.24% 539 81.67% 27 4.09%
1920 248 15.40% 1,269 78.82% 93 5.78%
1916 153 10.28% 1,302 87.44% 34 2.28%
1912 95 11.09% 656 76.55% 106 12.37%
1908 180 18.35% 729 74.31% 72 7.34%
1904 124 15.54% 633 79.32% 41 5.14%


Previous gubernatorial elections results
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2018 73.28% 7,698 25.43% 2,671 1.29% 136
2014 64.67% 5,525 30.36% 2,594 4.97% 424
2010 60.06% 4,850 36.94% 2,983 3.00% 242
2006 62.59% 4,458 34.23% 2,438 3.18% 227
2002 58.79% 4,596 40.10% 3,135 1.12% 87
1998 67.29% 4,349 32.69% 2,113 0.02% 1
1994 62.85% 4,470 37.15% 2,642
1990 43.23% 2,468 56.77% 3,241
1986 58.92% 3,321 41.08% 2,315
1982 16.81% 730 83.19% 3,613
1978 36.43% 1,678 63.57% 2,928
1970 38.37% 1,546 61.63% 2,483
1966 52.75% 1,910 47.25% 1,711
1964 28.18% 1,087 71.83% 2,771
1960 9.79% 326 90.21% 3,003

Education[edit]

Bradford County School District operates public schools. Bradford High School is the county's public high school.

The main library serving Bradford County is the Bradford County Public Library in Starke. As of 2013 the library director is Robert E. Perone.[22]

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Town[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.[11][12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved February 11, 2014.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Publications of the Florida Historical Society. Florida Historical Society. 1908. p. 30.
  4. ^ Captain Richard G. Bradford - Florida Historical Markers
  5. ^ a b c "The Story of Starke" (PDF). The Bradford County Telegraph. Retrieved May 5, 2022.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  9. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 12, 2014.
  11. ^ http://www.census.gov[not specific enough to verify]
  12. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  13. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 27, 2022.
  14. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 27, 2022.
  15. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  16. ^ "Florida State Prison Archived 2007-10-08 at the Wayback Machine." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 31, 2010.
  17. ^ "Florida State Prison – West Unit Archived August 30, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 31, 2010.
  18. ^ "New River Correctional Institution Archived September 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 31, 2010.
  19. ^ "Death Row Fact Sheet Archived 2010-08-03 at the Wayback Machine." Florida Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 15, 2010.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Florida Division of Elections. Archived from the original on October 24, 2016. Retrieved May 17, 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved June 13, 2018.
  22. ^ "Bradford County Public Library". Archived from the original on November 1, 2013.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°57′N 82°10′W / 29.95°N 82.17°W / 29.95; -82.17