|Etymology: Mikasuki: Immokalee (your home)|
|• Total||23.3 sq mi (60.3 km2)|
|• Land||22.7 sq mi (58.8 km2)|
|• Water||0.6 sq mi (1.5 km2) 2.5%|
|Elevation||33 ft (10 m)|
|• Density||1,064/sq mi (410.8/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||284474|
The region was occupied by the Calusa Indians and centuries later occupied by the Seminole, after they moved down from the northern part of Florida. Initially the settlement was known as Gopher Ridge by the Seminole and Miccosukee Indians. Immokalee means "your home" in the Mikasuki language.
When the swamps were drained in the region, agriculture became the dominant industry. European-American hunters, trappers, Indian traders, cowmen, and missionaries moved in before the development of permanent villages. The first permanent settlement was founded in 1872. In 1921, the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad extended its Haines City Branch south to Immokalee. The railroad was removed in the late 1980s.
The Immokalee area is heavily agricultural. It is one of the major centers of tomato growing in the United States. In 1960, CBS News anchor Edward R. Murrow reported on the working conditions in the surrounding farms for his Harvest of Shame report for CBS Reports, which described the harsh lives of migrant workers.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 23.3 square miles (60.3 km2), of which 22.7 square miles (58.8 km2) is land and 0.58 square miles (1.5 km2), or 2.42%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 19,763 people, 4,715 households, and 3,635 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 2,449.1 people per square mile (945.5/km²). There were 4,987 housing units at an average density of 618.0/sq mi (238.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 70.98% Hispanic (Of Any race), 18.03% African American, 3.19% White, 1.03% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.19% Pacific Islander, 35.66% from other races, and 6.38% from two or more races.
There were 4,715 households out of which 49.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.5% were married couples living together, 20.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.9% were non-families. 13.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.91 and the average family size was 4.10.
In the CDP, the population was spread out with 34.9% under the age of 18, 15.7% from 18 to 24, 31.2% from 25 to 44, 14.1% from 45 to 64, and 4.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females, there were 129.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 145.9 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $24,315, and the median income for a family was $22,628. Males had a median income of $17,875 versus $16,713 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $8,576. About 34.6% of families and 39.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 46.1% of those under age 18 and 26.9% of those age 65 or over.
Being unincorporated, the area has no municipal government of its own and is governed by Collier County, Florida.
Immokalee's public schools are operated by the District School Board of Collier County.
Elementary schools in Immokalee and serving Immokalee include Eden Park, Highlands, Lake Trafford, and Village Oaks. Pinecrest Elementary School, located outside of and adjacent to the CDP, serves a portion of the CDP. All residents are zoned to Immokalee Middle School and Immokalee High School, both located in the CDP.
Immokalee used to be served by the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad (formerly Atlantic Coast Line) which ran a branchline from Palmdale through Immokalee to Everglades City. The line used to generate considerable agricultural-related traffic. The rail line was cut back to Sunniland south of Immokalee in the 1950s and then abandoned to the mainline at Palmdale in the 1980s. This left Immokalee without rail service.
The main road through Immokalee is State Road 29. Other important county roads through the region are CR 29A and CR 846.
Landmarks and institutions
Immokalee is home to WCIW-LP, a low power community radio station owned and operated by the Coalition of Immokalee Workers. The station was built by numerous volunteers from Immokalee and around the country in December 2003 at the fifth Prometheus Radio Project barnraising. WCIW broadcasts music, news, and public affairs to listeners in Spanish, Haitian Creole and several indigenous languages.
WAFZ-FM (92.1 FM) is a full-power FM radio station licensed to Immokalee, Florida. The station plays a variety of new and current hits in the Regional Mexican format. In the 1980s, WAFZ also played Tejano music on its sister station WAFZ-AM. In its beginnings WAFZ had been WZOR-AM 1490 and English programming adult contemporary music and news in the morning and until 3pm. Then it changed its format to Regional Mexican/Tejano. The early DJs that worked there were Gabino Soliz, "EL CHAVO ALEGRE", and Irma Ayala. The station continued on the air for a long time until the mid-1990s, when it went silent for a while until what is now WAFZ was bought by Glades Media Company LLC, and transmitted simultaneously what WAFZ-FM was playing (a regional Mexican format). The current format of WAFZ is a young Regional Mexican, playing newer top 40 hits of the genre.
WAFZ's programming is also heard on WAFZ AM 1490 in Immokalee.
- Deadrin Senat, Atlanta Falcons Defensive Tackle
- J. C. Jackson, New England Patriots cornerback
- Mackensie Alexander, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback
- Albert Bentley, played football at Immokalee High School and went on to play for the Miami Hurricanes and the Indianapolis Colts
- Edgerrin James, former Pro Bowl running back, was born here
- Javarris James, Indianapolis Colts running back, was born here
- Brian Rolle, Philadelphia Eagles linebacker, was born here
- Ovince St. Preux, Ultimate Fighting Championship competitor
- Felipe Santos, missing person
- Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a grassroots community and workers' organization in the area. The 2014 documentary Food Chains was shot in Immokalee.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Immokalee
- Mascia, Jennifer (June 15, 2011). "Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Immokalee, Fla". New York Times. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
- Bittman, Mark (June 14, 2011). "The True Cost of Tomatoes".
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Immokalee CDP, Florida". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 12, 2020. Retrieved July 16, 2014.
- "CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING (1790-2000)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
- "Attendance Zones Effective 2009-2010 Archived September 20, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." District School Board of Collier County. Retrieved on September 18, 2009.
- "Immokalee CDP, Florida[permanent dead link]." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on September 18, 2009.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 13, 2013. Retrieved November 26, 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Dave McNary, Eva Longoria’s ‘Food Chains’ Documentary Getting U.S. Distribution, Variety, March 31, 2014
- Frank Scheck, 'Food Chains': Film Review, The Hollywood Reporter, November 24, 2014
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