North Central Florida

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Map of the counties in North Central Florida.

North Central Florida is a region of the U.S. state of Florida which comprises the north-central part of the state and encompasses the North Florida counties of Alachua, Marion, Putnam, Bradford, Columbia, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hamilton, Lafayette, Levy, Madison, Suwannee, Taylor, and Union.[1] The region's largest city is Gainesville, home of the University of Florida and center of the Gainesville metropolitan area, which is the largest metro area in North Central Florida. As of 2020, the region had a population of 575,622 people.[2]

Like the rest of North Florida,[3] including the Florida Panhandle, the region is often recognized as part of the Deep South, as compared to the rest of the state.[4]

Map of the counties in the Gainesville Metropolitan Area, the population center of North Central Florida.

The landscape and climate of North Central Florida are distinct from the sub-tropical environment most associated with the rest of the state. The landscape of North Central Florida has gently rolling hills dominated by magnolia trees and large Southern live oak hammocks draped with Spanish moss. The region also has large expanses of pine forests. The climate is quite mild throughout the year but has very distinct winters with temperatures dropping below freezing quite often.

Cities and towns[edit]


As of 2016, the region had Florida's largest concentration of 18 to 44-year-olds and people with advanced degrees thanks to the presence of the University of Florida and Santa Fe College in Gainesville.[5]

The City of Alachua is home to one of the State's largest bio and life science corporate sectors.[6]

Overall, education and healthcare are the leading employers in the region as several major hospitals are located in Gainesville such as the UF Health Shands Hospital, HCA Florida North Florida Hospital, and the Malcolm Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center.[5]

Tourism is central to communities such as Cedar Key, White Springs, and Micanopy.

Leading employers as of 2016 are:[5]

Corporation Industry Number of Employees
1 University of Florida Education 27567
2 UF Health Shands System Healthcare 12705
3 Veterans Affairs Medical Center Healthcare 6127
4 Alachua County School Board Public Education 3904
5 City of Gainesville City Government 2072
6 HCA Florida North Florida Hospital Healthcare 2000
7 Gator Dining Services Food Service 1200
8 Nationwide Insurance Company Insurance 960
9 Alachua County Government 809
10 Publix Supermarkets Grocery 780
11 Santa Fe College Education 750
12 Wal-Mart Distribution Center Grocery 738
13 Dollar General Distribution Center Retail 600
14 RTI Surgical Orthopedic/Cardio Implants 518
15 Wal-Mart Stores Grocery 312
Total 60524


The following institutions of higher education are located within North Central Florida:


North Central Florida is world-renowned for its fresh water springs and rivers which make it one of the best cave diving regions in the world.[7] Several of the springs are connected to the Suwannee and Santa Fe River systems, some of the more popular being:

There are a large number of nature parks and cultural centers throughout the area such as:

Florida pioneer life in the 1800s is the focus at both Morningside Nature Center and Dudley Farm Historic State Park. There are several small, turn-of-the-century towns that represent the culture of the Deep South and are geared toward tourists:

Several museums of note spanning topics such as local and natural history, science, and art are:

Gainesville is home to notable performing arts venues like the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, University Auditorium, Constans Theater, and The Hippodrome Theater. The Gainesville Orchestra has been performing regularly since 1983.

The most popular sporting events are the major sports associated with the University of Florida in Gainesville, including Florida Gator Football, Basketball, and Baseball. Gatornationals is one of the most important annual drag races for the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA).


  1. ^ "North Central Florida Regional Planning Council". Retrieved 2022-07-21.
  2. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved 2022-10-19.
  3. ^ "Deep South". The Free Dictionary. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  4. ^ "Gainesville Florida Population and Demographics Resources", Retrieved 2011-06-30
  5. ^ a b c "Economic Development". Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved 2022-10-25.
  6. ^ "Florida's Life Sciences and Health Industry". Enterprise Florida. Retrieved 2022-10-25.
  7. ^ "A Guide To Florida Springs Diving | Scuba Diver Mag". 2021-02-19. Retrieved 2022-10-25.