Lehigh Acres, Florida

Coordinates: 26°36′30″N 81°38′21″W / 26.60833°N 81.63917°W / 26.60833; -81.63917
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Lehigh Acres, Florida
Location within Lee County, Florida
Location within Lee County, Florida
Coordinates: 26°36′30″N 81°38′21″W / 26.60833°N 81.63917°W / 26.60833; -81.63917
CountryUnited States
State Florida
County Lee
 • Total94.21 sq mi (244.00 km2)
 • Land92.69 sq mi (240.08 km2)
 • Water1.51 sq mi (3.92 km2)  1.14%
20 ft (6 m)
 • Total114,287
 • Density1,232.95/sq mi (476.04/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code239
FIPS code12-39925[2]
GNIS feature ID0285447[3]

Lehigh Acres is a census-designated place (CDP) in Lee County, Florida, United States. As of the 2020 Census the population was 114,287. Lehigh Acres is part of the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is one of the fastest growing communities in Lee County.[4]


Lehigh Acres is located in eastern Lee County at 26°36′30″N 81°38′21″W / 26.60833°N 81.63917°W / 26.60833; -81.63917 (26.608333, -81.639167).[5] It is bordered to the north by Alva, to the northwest by Buckingham, and to the southwest by Gateway, all unincorporated. It is bordered on the west by the city of Fort Myers, the Lee county seat, and extends east to the Hendry County line.

Florida State Road 82 forms the southern border of the community; the highway leads west 15 miles (24 km) to the center of Fort Myers and southeast 20 miles (32 km) to Immokalee.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the Lehigh Acres CDP has a total area of 94.2 square miles (243.9 km2), of which 92.7 square miles (240.0 km2) are land and 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), or 1.61%, are water.[6]


Lehigh Acres was developed in the mid-1950s by Chicago businessman Lee Ratner. Seeking a tax shelter, Ratner had sold his pest control business and faced the possibility of losing most of his earnings to the high capital gains tax of that era. Ratner heard that cattle was a good investment for people in his predicament, and he bought 18,000 acres (73 km2) of land in eastern Lee County and named it the Lucky Lee Ranch. After ranching for a while, and despite having no prior development experience, Ratner joined with Gerald H. Gould, a Florida advertising executive, Manuel Riskin, a Chicago CPA, and Edward Shapiro, a former Chicagoan who was in the real estate business in California, and began land sales at Lehigh Acres.[citation needed]

Gerald Gould was the president of the corporation that developed Lehigh Acres, which began in 1954. He remained as president until the company was sold in 1972.

Since the days of the Lucky Lee Ranch, the boundaries of Lehigh Acres have stretched to cover 61,000 acres (250 km2), including the runways of the former Buckingham Army Airfield, a major Army Air Forces training base that was closed at the end of World War II. The pasture land where Ratner's cattle roamed and the since broken up runways where military flight crews trained has been divided into some 152,000 0.25-acre (1,000 m2) and 0.5-acre (2,000 m2) lots for housing, along over 1,400 miles (2,300 km) of roads. Strips of land along major thoroughfares, such as Homestead Road and Lee Boulevard, were set aside for commerce. In 1997, nearly 90% of Lehigh Acres' lots remained vacant.[citation needed]

In 1992, Lee County, with the cooperation of a new developer, declared Lehigh Acres to be blighted,[citation needed] and authorized its Community Redevelopment Agency to take steps towards improving infrastructure and planning elements neglected by the original developer. It is estimated that nearly $11 million would be needed to repave the development's roads.

A surge in housing prices led to a boom in Lehigh Acres new-housing construction from 2003 to 2007, peaking at more than 7,500 new homes constructed in 2006. The number of homes built during this period exceeded the total number of homes constructed during the preceding 50 years.[7]

But as in much of the United States, the real-estate boom of the 2000s went bust. The median house price in the Fort Myers area peaked in late 2005 at $322,300. Three years later, it had plummeted to $106,900. A reliance on construction jobs no longer available pushed the unemployment rate in the area of Lehigh Acres and Fort Myers to 14% by the summer of 2009. Property values reached a low in 2008 of $106,900. By late 2014, property values averaged $169,200.[8]


Historical population

2010 and 2020 census[edit]

Lehigh Acres racial composition
(Hispanics excluded from racial categories)
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race Pop 2010[10] Pop 2020[11] % 2010 % 2020
White (NH) 38,364 36,679 44.21% 32.09%
Black or African American (NH) 15,652 21,013 18.04% 18.39%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 234 229 0.27% 0.20%
Asian (NH) 1,019 1,282 1.17% 1.12%
Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian (NH) 25 44 0.03% 0.04%
Some other race (NH) 310 797 0.36% 0.70%
Two or more races/Multiracial (NH) 1,383 3,471 1.59% 3.04%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 29,797 50,772 34.33% 44.43%
Total 86,784 114,287

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 114,287 people, 34,101 households, and 26,168 families residing in the city.[12]

As of the 2010 United States census, there were 86,784 people, 27,040 households, and 20,416 families residing in the city.[13]

2000 census[edit]

As of 2000, 32.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.4% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.2% were non-families. 22.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.03.

In 2000, the CDP the population was spread out, with 26.0% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 19.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.5 males.

As of 2000, the median income for a household in the CDP was $31,517, and the median income for a family was $35,492. Males had a median income of $25,202 versus $19,935 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $17,186. By 2016, this figure rose to $17,222. About 9.8% of families and 11.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.5% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.


As of 2000, 84.52% of residents spoke English as their first language, while 11.81% spoke Spanish, 1.34% spoke German, and 0.83% spoke French as their mother tongue. In total, 15.47% of the total population spoke languages other than English.[14]

Public transportation[edit]

Lehigh Acres is served by LeeTran buses.[15]

Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District[edit]

Most of the CDP, as well as some areas outside of the CDP, is served by the Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District (MSID), a special services district created by the Florida Legislature which covers areas in Lee and neighboring Hendry County. The MSID has an elected board of commissioners, and has powers over a limited sub-set of services usually provided by municipalities.[16]


  1. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  2. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  3. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. October 25, 2007. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  4. ^ Miller, Meagan (December 3, 2021). "Lehigh Acres becomes one of the fastest-growing communities in Lee County". abc-7.com. Retrieved October 28, 2023.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  6. ^ "U.S. Gazetteer Files: 2019: Places: Florida". U.S. Census Bureau Geography Division. Retrieved November 22, 2019.
  7. ^ Cave, Demian (February 8, 2009). "In Florida, Despair and Foreclosures". New York Times. Retrieved February 7, 2009.
  8. ^ Zillo. "Ft Myers Median". Zillow. Retrieved February 6, 2015.
  9. ^ "CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING (1790-2010)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  10. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Lehigh Acres CDP, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  11. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Lehigh Acres CDP, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  12. ^ "S1101 HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES - 2020: Lehigh Acres CDP, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  13. ^ "S1101 HOUSEHOLDS AND FAMILIES - 2010: Lehigh Acres CDP, Florida". United States Census Bureau.
  14. ^ "Modern Language Association Data Center Results of Cape Coral, FL". Archived from the original on October 16, 2015.
  15. ^ "LeeTran". Lee County Southwest Florida.
  16. ^ "Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District, Florida". Lehigh Acres Municipal Services Improvement District Florida.

External links[edit]