East Central Florida
East Central Florida
East Central Florida is home to Brevard, Osceola, Orange, Seminole, Lake, Volusia, and Sumter counties. This region contains some of the state's most popular tourist destinations including Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Port Canaveral, and The Kennedy Space Center. This region accounts for a significant number of the state's technological advancements and has some of the world's biggest companies including Boeing, Rockwell Collins, Lockheed Martin, and the headquarters of Harris Corporation. The population is approximately 3.4 million people.
East Central Florida Links:
There are three Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in East Central Florida:
- Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach MSA
- Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford MSA
- Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville MSA
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach MSA
The area is essentially the same as Volusia County, which contains sixteen incorporated municipalities. It is a popular place to retire, though the region has plenty of activity. It is also a tourist destination. The hard-packed sand of Volusia County's beaches lent itself to auto races beginning in 1903, before paved roads were common, leading to the area's reputation for cars and racing.
The primary industries are in the service sector, with tourism, healthcare, and education among the most prominent. The region also boasts many small manufacturing centers, which, when added together, make a significant contribution to the county's economy.
Together with Orlando, the region is the nineteenth-largest television market in the nation.
Developed in 1962 as a planned retirement community, Deltona is now the largest city in Volusia County, numbering 85,182 residents. Primarily a bedroom community, Deltona is no longer just for retirees. The population is now younger and diverse, with over a quarter of the population being of Hispanic or Latino/a descent. Despite being two counties away, Deltona is only a thirty minute drive from Orlando.
Deltona hosts a campus of Daytona State College.
- West Volusia Regional Chamber of Commerce page for Deltona
- Official website for the City of Deltona
- Daytona State College
Historically an auto-racing mecca due to its geography and climate, Daytona Beach is the location of one of the single most popular sporting events in the country, the NASCAR Daytona 500, which opens the stock car racing season. NASCAR's main headquarters are in the city. Other auto racing and motorcycle events take place throughout the year. The city is also home to the LPGA and hosts several golf courses.
Daytona Beach, a city of 61,005 people, is additionally served by light manufacturing concerns, especially with respect to the automotive and healthcare industries.
The city is home to Bethune-Cookman University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona State College, and a campus of the University of Central Florida.
- Daytona Beach Chamber of Commerce
- Bethune-Cookman University
- Daytona State College
- Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach Campus
- University of Central Florida Daytona Beach
Known as the "Birthplace of Speed", Ormond Beach was a popular spot for those who liked fast cars after the turn of the 20th century because the hard-packed beach was ideal for going fast. That same beach had led to the development of a tourist resort by Henry Flagler. It later attracted Flagler's former business partner John D. Rockefeller, who had a winter home in Ormond.
Today, Ormond Beach is home to almost 40,000 people. The largest sectors of the economy lie with retail and healthcare, but trade and manufacturing are important, with science and technology a growing part of the economy.
The Ormond Beach Airport Business Park and Airpark are within a free trade zone.
- Official website for the City of Ormond Beach
- Ormond Beach Chamber of Commerce
- Airport Business Park
This MSA includes Lake, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties. The urban population of the MSA was 1,510,516 in 2010. There are fourteen cities in Lake County, thirteen in Orange, two in Osceola, and seven in Seminole.
After the Civil War in the 1860s, Greater Orlando was barely-inhabitable wetlands. It took a major drainage project financed by Philadelphia businessman Hamilton Disston in the 1880s to make the land available for settlement. During and after World War II, the U.S. Air Force established several bases and training facilities in the region.
The most important event in the history of Greater Orlando, however, was the construction of the Walt Disney World Resort. Announced in 1965 and opened to the public in 1971, Walt Disney wanted a location with abundant available land that the residents of the east coast could visit. Not only was there ample land in central Florida, but it was inexpensive and the inland location offered some protection from hurricanes. Disney bought up wetlands using dummy corporations so that others would not catch on to his plans. Disney's 1965 press conference announcing the construction of a new theme park came as a shock to most. Today, the 42,000-acre resort attracts over 50 million people each year. A study conducted at the behest of Disney concluded that the resort and affiliated businesses generated over $18 billion, a number that would be around 2.5% of Florida's GDP.
The most important economic driver is tourism, though Greater Orlando is also known for high-tech and life science research, military production and training, and processing food that is harvested in the important agricultural regions in rural areas. Minute Maid operates a large juice flavoring plant in Apopka, for example.
Greater Orlando is the third-largest metropolitan area in Florida, the fifth-largest in the southeastern United States, and the 26th largest in the United States. Together with the Deltona-Daytona Beach MSA, Orlando is the nineteenth largest television market in the country.
Greater Orlando is served by the University of Central Florida, whose Orlando campus is the second-largest college campus in the nation by enrollment. The university benefits from its proximity to Kennedy Space Center, where it maintains a campus, enrolling many students in engineering and other fields that support space exploration.
Orlando incorporated as a city in 1885 due in part to the additional land made available for settlement by Disston's drainage efforts. In the late 19th century, Orlando was a major hub of citrus production.
Orlando is a major tourist destination, though it is more than just the Walt Disney World Resort. Greater Orlando is home to many amusement parks, including Universal Orlando, whose Islands of Adventure park includes a wildly popular Harry Potter-themed area. Orlando is also one of the largest destinations for conventions in the country.
Aside from tourism, Orlando boasts the seventh-largest research park in the nation, Central Florida Research Park, located next to the University of Central Florida, and is home to a major high-tech industry that includes the Electronic Arts studio that produces the most popular video game in the U.S., Madden NFL football. The region is also an important player in the defense industry, with many manufacturing centers devoted to military production. Additionally, it is an important military training center, counting a number of flight simulators among its offerings.
Orlando's population of about a quarter-of-a-million is diverse, with over a quarter of residents identifying as Hispanic or Latino/a.
- Orlando, Inc., the Orlando area chamber of commerce
- University of Central Florida
- Central Florida Research Park
- Walt Disney World Resort
- Universal Orlando theme park
- Electronic Arts - Orlando
The headquarters of Hamilton Disston's drainage company, Kissimmee boomed in the 1880s. The city was an important regional steamship port, owing that status to its location on Lake Tohopekaliga. The expansion of the railroads eliminated the need for Kissimmee's steamship industry, forcing the city to rely on agriculture and cattle ranching until Walt Disney World opened in 1971.
Today, Kissimmee's economy is focused on tourism, education, and construction. The city has around 60,000 residents, over half of which identify as Hispanic or Latino/a. Kissimmee's proximity to Orlando and the Walt Disney World Resort make it a popular destination for tourists.
The city hosts Johnson University Florida (formerly Johnson Bible College) and a campus of Valencia College.
A port city at the intersection of Lake Monroe and the St. Johns River, Sanford was incorporated in 1877. Envisioned as a transportation center, the city's founder, Henry S. Sanford, nicknamed it "the Gate City of South Florida". It became a hub for shipping agricultural products, which earned the city another nickname, "Celery City". During World War II, the city grew because of the presence of a naval air station. In 2012, the name "Sanford"received national attention because of the shooting death of Miami teenager Trayvon Martin in the city.
Sanford, a city of over 50,000, still prospers due to its coastal location, but now recreational boating occurs at marinas alongside commercial craft. The Aerosim Flight Academy is located within Orlando Sanford International Airport, the former site of Naval Air Station Sanford. Sanford's economy is primarily driven by the service sectors and construction.
The main campus of Seminole State College of Florida is located at Sanford.
- Official website of the City of Sanford
- The Greater Sanford Regional Chamber of Commerce
- Seminole State College of Florida
Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville MSA
The MSA covers the same territory as Brevard County, a region referred to as the Space Coast because of the presence of the John F. Kennedy Space Center. The center is located at Cape Canaveral and is the location from which NASA and other spacecraft takeoff. According to the 2010 Census, Brevard County is home to over half-a-million people, making it the ninth most populous county in Florida. In 2010 Kiplinger.com rated the county one of the five best places in America to retire.
Brevard County's economy is primarily based on tourism, though the federal government contributes a great deal because of Kennedy Space Center, which is the largest employer in the region. Other service industries such as healthcare and education are also important contributors to the economy.
Kennedy Space Center is located on Merritt Island, across the intracoastal waterway from Titusville. In the 1940s the US military established a missile testing facility there because the land was largely undeveloped and the agreeable climate allowed for year-round operations. When NASA searched for a long-term base from which to launch spacecraft, they chose Merritt Island for its access to the testing facility and to nearby communities. NASA purchased over 100,000 acres, of which significant portions are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a wildlife refuge, most of which are accessible to visitors.
Port Canaveral is a major economic force. It essentially serves as Orlando's port and is one of the busiest for cruise departures in the state. Disney Cruise Lines operates out of Port Canaveral, as does Carnival and Royal Caribbean. The port is within one of the largest foreign trade zones in the country.
Brevard County was hit particularly hard by the combined effect of the recession and the closing of the shuttle program. In 2012, Brevard had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation. In 2013, the metro area was rated by RealtyTrac as the best in the country for buying because of the low prices.
Eastern Florida State College has four campuses in Brevard County. In addition, the University of Central Florida maintains a satellite campus in Cocoa.
- Greater Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce
- Port Canaveral
- Eastern Florida State College
- Kennedy Space Center
- Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
- University of Central Florida Cocoa
The city of Palm Bay is the largest in Brevard County and is home to over 100,000 people. In 2010, Forbes rated Palm Bay as the 11th-most innovative city in the U.S. The city's largest employer is Harris Corporation, maker of telecommunications equipment, including materials for satellites. Healthcare and other services are also strong contributors to the economy.
Melbourne is an Old Florida city, containing many 19th- and early 20th-century homes. It is located about halfway between Miami and Jacksonville.
76,068 people called Melbourne home in 2010. The city is served by Melbourne International Airport, which is contained within a foreign trade zone. It is also the location of the Florida Institute of Technology. Tourism and healthcare are the most important economic drivers in Melbourne.
- City of Melbourne
- Melbourne Regional Chamber of East Central Florida
- Melbourne International Airport Foreign Trade Zone #136
- Florida Institute of Technology
Nicknamed "Space City USA" for its proximity to Kennedy Space Center, Titusville is known as the place to go to in order to see spacecraft launches. The city's location just across the intracoastal waterway from KSC has given the city a highly-educated workforce and experience with government aerospace contractors.
Titusville is home for just under 50,000 people. The space center is the most important economic engine, both in direct employment and supporting industries including tourism.
East Central Florida Cities
There are 97 cities in East Central Florida. These are listed below. Click on a link for details.
Altamonte Springs, Altoona, Apopka, Astatula, Astor, Barberville, Bushnell, Cape Canaveral, Cassadaga, Casselberry, Center Hill, Christmas, Clarcona, Clermont, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Coleman, Daytona Beach, De Leon Springs, Debary, Deland, Deltona, Edgewater, Eustis, Ferndale, Fruitland Park, Geneva, Glenwood, Goldenrod, Gotha, Grand Island, Grant, Groveland, Howey In The Hills, Indialantic, Intercession City, Kenansville, Killarney, Kissimmee, Lady Lake, Lake Helen, Lake Mary, Lake Monroe, Lake Panasoffkee, Leesburg, Longwood, Maitland, Malabar, Mascotte, Melbourne, Melbourne Beach, Merritt Island, Mid Florida, Mims, Minneola, Montverde, Mount Dora, New Smyrna Beach, Oak Hill, Oakland, Ocoee, Okahumpka, Orange City, Orlando, Ormond Beach, Osteen, Oviedo, Oxford, Paisley, Palm Bay, Patrick Afb, Pierson, Plymouth, Port Orange, Rockledge, Saint Cloud, Sanford, Satellite Beach, Scottsmoor, Sebastian, Seville, Sharpes, Sorrento, Sumterville, Tangerine, Tavares, The Villages, Titusville, Umatilla, Webster, Wildwood, Windermere, Winter Garden, Winter Park, Winter Springs, Yalaha, Zellwood,
East Central Florida Quick Facts
2010 to 2012
Median Home Value
2007 to 2011