Mexico Beach, Florida

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Mexico Beach, Florida
US 98 through Mexico Beach in January 2018
US 98 through Mexico Beach in January 2018
Location within Bay County and Florida
Location within Bay County and Florida
Coordinates: 29°56′29″N 85°24′23″W / 29.94139°N 85.40639°W / 29.94139; -85.40639Coordinates: 29°56′29″N 85°24′23″W / 29.94139°N 85.40639°W / 29.94139; -85.40639
Country United States
State Florida
County Bay
Incorporated (city)1966
 • MayorAl Cathey
 • Total2.34 sq mi (6.06 km2)
 • Land2.28 sq mi (5.89 km2)
 • Water0.06 sq mi (0.16 km2)
13 ft (4 m)
 • Total1,072
 • Estimate 
 • Density489.46/sq mi (188.98/km2)
Time zoneUTC−06:00 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−05:00 (CDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)850
FIPS code12-44300[3]
GNIS ID0286747[4]

Mexico Beach is a city in Bay County, Florida, United States. It is located 25 miles (40 km) southeast of Panama City. The population was 1,072 at the 2010 census.[5] The community was extensively damaged by Hurricane Michael on October 10, 2018. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declared the community "wiped out" in the aftermath of the hurricane's devastating impact.[6][7]


Mexico Beach was incorporated in 1966.[8] Before Hurricane Michael, "the town was "old Florida," ... a collection of 50-year-old bungalows and newer vacation homes on stilts," where tourists walked on white sand beaches.[9]

On November 22, 1985, Hurricane Kate's eye passed over Mexico Beach. Category 2 winds and tides destroyed beachfront homes and businesses.

Hurricane Michael[edit]

Hurricane Michael made landfall near Mexico Beach on October 10, 2018, just before 1 p.m. local time with maximum sustained winds of 160 miles per hour (260 km/h), the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.[10] Michael made history as the third strongest (by pressure) and fourth strongest (by wind speed) landfalling storm in the continental United States.[11] The storm caused extensive damage to the community, and to the nearby Tyndall Air Force Base. Nearly all homes were totally destroyed. Brock Long, the FEMA administrator, told CNN that Mexico Beach was "wiped out" and referred to the community as "ground zero".[12] The elementary school and city hall were among the buildings devastated;[13] the pier washed away, and the water tower was knocked down.

A report by the State indicated that roughly 285 people in Mexico Beach had declined to evacuate the area, although some of those may have left before the peak of the storm. Three people from Mexico Beach were listed among the deaths due to the hurricane. At that time, Mayor Al Cathey told residents it might be months before electricity, water, and plumbing were restored.[14]


Mexico Beach waterfront in 2013.

Mexico Beach is located at 29°56′29″N 85°24′23″W / 29.941336°N 85.406361°W / 29.941336; -85.406361.[15] According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2), of which 1.8 square miles (4.6 km2) is land, and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 2.84%, is water.[16]

Mexico Beach is located in the Florida Panhandle.


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)1,114[2]3.9%
U.S. Decennial Census[17]
Sunset over Mexico Beach pier from the dunes

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 1,072 people, 563 households, and 320 families residing in the city. The population density was 595.6 inhabitants per square mile (233.0/km2). There were 1,852 housing units at an average density of 1,028.9 per square mile (402.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.1% White, 1.9% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.0% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, 0.8% some other race, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.6% of the population.[5]

There were 563 households, out of which 11.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were headed by married couples living together, 6.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.2% were non-families. 38.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.6% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.90, and the average family size was 2.43.[5]

In the city, the population was spread out, with 11.3% under the age of 18, 5.4% from 18 to 24, 16.7% from 25 to 44, 35.5% from 45 to 64, and 31.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 55.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.3 males.[5]

At the 2000 census, the median income for a household in the city was $31,950, and the median income for a family was $40,163. Males had a median income of $30,278 versus $23,125 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,871. About 8.1% of families and 11.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 18.8% of those under age 18 and 10.7% of those age 65 or over.


Although physically located in Bay County, Mexico Beach is served by Gulf County Schools rather than the Bay District Schools.[18][19][20]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 2, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ a b c d "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Mexico Beach city, Florida". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  6. ^ "Mexico Beach Is 'Wiped Out' by Hurricane Michael as Other Florida Cities Are Smashed". WNEP. October 11, 2018. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  7. ^ "Hurricane Michael: Returning to a city that no longer exists". BBC News. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  8. ^ Friend, Sandra; Wolf, Kathy (4 June 2012). Explorer's Guide North Florida & the Florida Panhandle: Includes St. Augustine, Panama City, Pensacola, and Jacksonville (Second ed.). Countryman Press. p. 88. ISBN 978-1-58157-791-4.
  9. ^ Banerjee, Neela (2019-11-25). "The Common Language of Loss". InsideClimate News. Retrieved 2019-12-08.
  10. ^ "Hurricane Michael upgraded to a Category 5 at time of U.S. landfall | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration".
  11. ^ "Category 4 Hurricane Michael's Landfall". Accuweather. October 10, 2018.
  12. ^ Jenni Fink (October 11, 2018). "Hurricane Michael Damage, Destruction: Where is Mexico Beach, Florida, What's Its Future?". Newsweek. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  13. ^ "Official: Searchers find bodies in hurricane-stricken town". WHEC-TV NEWS 10 NBC. October 12, 2018. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
  14. ^ Patricia Sullivan; Emily Wax-Thibodeaux; Annie Gowen (October 12, 2018). "'Monster' nearly obliterates a tiny Florida beach town". Washington Post. Retrieved October 13, 2018 – via San Francisco Chronicle.
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  16. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Mexico Beach city, Florida". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  17. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  18. ^ "Bay District Schools High School Attendance Zones Archived 2009-02-27 at the Wayback Machine." Bay District Schools. Accessed October 10, 2008.
  19. ^ "Bay District Schools Middle School Attendance Zones Archived 2009-02-27 at the Wayback Machine." Bay District Schools. Accessed October 10, 2008.
  20. ^ "Bay District Schools Elementary School Attendance Zones Archived 2008-10-31 at the Wayback Machine." Bay District Schools. Accessed October 10, 2008.

External links[edit]