Highlands County, Florida

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Highlands County
Highlands County Courthouse
Highlands County Courthouse
Official seal of Highlands County
Map of Florida highlighting Highlands County
Location within the U.S. state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 27°20′N 81°20′W / 27.34°N 81.34°W / 27.34; -81.34
Country United States
State Florida
FoundedApril 23, 1921
Named forcounty's terrain
SeatSebring
Largest citySebring
Area
 • Total1,106 sq mi (2,860 km2)
 • Land1,017 sq mi (2,630 km2)
 • Water89 sq mi (230 km2)  8.1%%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2020)
101,235[1]
 • Density101/sq mi (39/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district17th
Websitewww.hcbcc.net

Highlands County is a county located in the Florida Heartland region of the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2020 census, the population was 101,235.[2] Its county seat is Sebring.[3]

Highlands County comprises the Sebring-Avon Park, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History[edit]

Highlands County was created in 1921 along with Charlotte, Glades, and Hardee, when they were separated from DeSoto County. It was named for the terrain of the county. It boasted the fifth-oldest population in America in 2012.

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,106 square miles (2,860 km2), of which 1,017 square miles (2,630 km2) is land and 89 square miles (230 km2) (8.1%) is water.[4][5] In area, it is the 14th largest county in Florida. Highlands County is bounded on the east by the Kissimmee River. Lake Istokpoga, the largest lake in the county, is connected to the Kissimmee River by two canals; the Istokpoga canal, and the C41 (outflow) canal.

Adjacent counties[edit]

National protected area[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
19309,192
19409,2460.6%
195013,63647.5%
196021,33856.5%
197029,50738.3%
198047,52661.1%
199068,43244.0%
200087,36627.7%
201098,78613.1%
2020101,2352.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2019[2]
Highlands County racial composition as of 2020
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Pop 2010[12] Pop 2020[13] % 2010 % 2020
White (NH) 69,804 65,511 70.66% 64.71%
Black or African American (NH) 8,750 9,484 8.86% 9.37%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 375 291 0.38% 0.29%
Asian (NH) 1,402 1,602 1.42% 1.58%
Pacific Islander (NH) 37 49 0.04% 0.05%
Some Other Race (NH) 100 307 0.1% 0.3%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 1,161 3,048 1.18% 3.01%
Hispanic or Latino 17,157 20,943 17.37% 20.69%
Total 98,786 101,235

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 101,235 people, 42,721 households, and 27,169 families residing in the county.

As of 2015, there were 99,491 people and 39,931 households living in the county. The population density was 97.2 people per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 85.8% White, 10.4% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 1.6% from two or more races. 18.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 51.3% of the entire population are female. The median household income was $35,560 with 20.1% of the population being below the poverty level from 2009 to 2013.[14] The poverty line for Florida was $11,490 in 2013.[15]

As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 87,366 people, 37,471 households, and 25,780 families living in the county. The population density was 85.00 people per square mile (32.82/km2). There were 48,846 housing units at an average density of 47.5 per square mile (18.3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 83.47% White, 9.33% Black or African American, 0.44% Native American, 1.05% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 4.14% from other races, and 1.53% from two or more races. 12.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In 2000 there were 37,471 households, out of which 20.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.20% were married couples living together, 8.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.20% were non-families. 26.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.70.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 19.20% under the age of 18, 6.30% from 18 to 24, 19.30% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 33.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,160, and the median income for a family was $35,647. Males had a median income of $26,811 versus $20,725 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,222. About 10.20% of families and 15.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.60% of those under age 18 and 7.40% of those age 65 or over.

Transportation[edit]

Highways[edit]

Airports[edit]

Rail[edit]

Government[edit]

Highlands County is governed by five elected County Commissioners and an appointed County Administrator. The administrator has executive powers to implement all decisions, ordinances, motions, and policies/procedures set forth by the Board. The FY 2013-2014 adopted budget of the county is approximately $123 million and the county employees over 350 people in 31 departments of the administration. Other organizations of the county include, the Clerk of Courts with about 75 positions, Sheriff's Office with about 340 positions, County Appraisers Office with about 30 positions, Tax Collectors Office with about 40 positions, and Elections Office with 5 positions. In all there are about 860 positions in Highlands County government.

Law Enforcement[edit]

Highlands County Sheriffs Office is the primary law enforcement agency for the non incorporated areas of Highlands County, Paul Blackman is the Sheriff. The City of Sebring and Town of Lake Placid have their own respective police departments. Avon Park Police Department closed its doors in 2015, the Sheriffs Office is now the primary law enforcement agency for the town. All public safety in Highlands County utilize a Motorola P25 Trunked Radio System which was initiated by Polk County. Highlands and Hardee Counties have piggybacked onto the system. To date, Highlands County Law Enforcement is the only law enforcement on the entire system to use 24/7 ADP encryption.

Politics[edit]

Highlands County, like the relatively nearby southwest coast, is strongly Republican: the last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Harry Truman in 1948.[17] Like North Florida, but unlike the southwest coast, George Wallace was able to outpoll the Democratic Party here in 1968,[18] and only in 1992 and 1996 has the Republican candidate not won an absolute majority since.

United States presidential election results for Highlands County, Florida
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 34,873 66.75% 16,938 32.42% 432 0.83%
2016 29,565 64.26% 14,937 32.46% 1,509 3.28%
2012 25,915 60.92% 16,148 37.96% 478 1.12%
2008 26,221 58.37% 18,135 40.37% 566 1.26%
2004 25,878 62.36% 15,347 36.98% 271 0.65%
2000 20,207 57.48% 14,169 40.31% 776 2.21%
1996 15,617 46.32% 14,250 42.27% 3,847 11.41%
1992 14,499 44.76% 11,237 34.69% 6,655 20.55%
1988 16,723 67.05% 8,091 32.44% 127 0.51%
1984 16,474 69.53% 7,217 30.46% 3 0.01%
1980 11,925 61.95% 6,688 34.74% 636 3.30%
1976 8,317 52.86% 7,218 45.88% 198 1.26%
1972 9,645 79.49% 2,458 20.26% 30 0.25%
1968 4,560 42.95% 2,582 24.32% 3,475 32.73%
1964 4,747 52.86% 4,233 47.14% 0 0.00%
1960 4,369 58.32% 3,122 41.68% 0 0.00%
1956 3,480 60.25% 2,296 39.75% 0 0.00%
1952 2,952 51.90% 2,736 48.10% 0 0.00%
1948 1,471 34.53% 2,257 52.98% 532 12.49%
1944 874 29.26% 2,113 70.74% 0 0.00%
1940 878 28.39% 2,215 71.61% 0 0.00%
1936 842 30.73% 1,898 69.27% 0 0.00%
1932 851 35.82% 1,525 64.18% 0 0.00%
1928 1,393 66.52% 669 31.95% 32 1.53%
1924 265 33.38% 457 57.56% 72 9.07%


Economy[edit]

Top employers[edit]

The top private employers of Highlands County are as follows:[19]
1. Advent Health Hospital (1500)
2. Walmart (796)
3. Agero (600)
4. Highlands Regional Medical Center (413)
5. Delray Plants (350)
6. Palms of Sebring (257)
7. Alan Jay Automotive Network (250)
8. Lake Placid Health Care (210)
9. Positive Medical Transport (150)
10. E-Stone USA (87)

Libraries[edit]

Highlands County is part of the Heartland Library Cooperative which serve Highlands County and some of the surrounding counties in the Florida Heartland, including Glades, DeSoto, Hardee, and Okeechobee. Based in Sebring, the cooperative has seven branches within the Heartland region, with three of those branches in Highlands County: Avon Park, Lake Placid and Sebring.

Communities[edit]

Cities[edit]

Town[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

See also[edit]

References[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.[10][11]
  1. ^ U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Highlands County, Florida
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 14, 2014.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 3, 2015. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  5. ^ "GCT-PH1. Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2000". US Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved October 14, 2007.
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 14, 2014.
  10. ^ https://www.census.gov/[not specific enough to verify]
  11. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  12. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 27, 2022.
  13. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 27, 2022.
  14. ^ "US Census Bureau". United States Census Bureau. December 4, 2014. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  15. ^ "2013 US Poverty Guidelines". United States Department of Health and Human Services. Archived from the original on January 21, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2015.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  17. ^ Sullivan, Robert David; ‘How the Red and Blue Map Evolved Over the Past Century’; America Magazine in The National Catholic Review; June 29, 2016
  18. ^ David Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections; 1968 Presidential General Election Data Graphs – Florida by County (see also other election years since 1960)
  19. ^ http://www.lpfla.com/2014%20Highlands%20County%20Demographics.pdf Archived 2017-02-02 at the Wayback Machine IPFLA

External links[edit]

Government links/Constitutional offices[edit]

Special districts[edit]

Judicial branch[edit]

Tourism links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°20′N 81°20′W / 27.34°N 81.34°W / 27.34; -81.34