Welcome to Broward County
Broward County, located on the southeast coast of the state of Florida, is the second most populated county in the state - and the 18th most populated county in the entire country.
Home to more than 1.7 million people (as of a 2012 US Census report), Broward County includes the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area as well as the West Palm Beach metropolitan area - making it home to some of the most popular and influential cities and metro spaces in the state.
Known primarily for its tourist attractions, nightlife, and everything that the city of Miami brings to the table, the seat of this county is actually in Fort Lauderdale - the most populous city in the county.
Millions of students live here to attend many of the major colleges in the county, and a lot of them decide to make the county their long-term home thanks to the incredible job prospects that the area has to offer.
The population continues to trend younger and younger each year, which (remarkably) stands in stark contrast to the general trend in population across the state of Florida. Known primarily as a home for elderly Northerners looking to escape those chilly winters, the county has resisted that influx of "snowbirds" and instead enjoys a relatively young population across the board.
A bit of history
A lot of people are quite surprised to discover that the county (like much of Florida) is relatively brand-new, especially when compared to the rest of the country.
While major areas of the Northeast were rather thickly settled by the 1700s, it wasn't until 1915 that the county even enjoyed a large enough population to be considered a county - and this was the year of its founding.
With an original population of just south of 100,000 people (across almost 1500 mi.²), this county has grown exponentially since then - just like the rest of the state.
Named after the governor of Florida from 1905 to 1909 (Napoleon Bonaparte Broward), the county was originally going to be named after the Everglades, but a quick change of attitude in the state House of Representatives changed that.
A leader in agriculture almost since day one, the county continues to be a critical part of the economy of the state of Florida, though much of the money that they bring into the state coffers are because of tourism as opposed to major agricultural endeavors.
Remaining quite small (population wise) right up until World War II ended, the county exploded as far as population is concerned after the war was over, much in the same way as the rest of the state of Florida. Returning GIs absolutely flocked to this county because of the promise of cheap land and all kinds of benefits that allowed them to build their own homes with next to no money down whatsoever, and these tiny little "soapbox" homes can still be found all throughout the county today.
Broward County made a major impact on more modern history, as it was the epicenter of the 2000 US presidential election recount. This controversy potentially shaped and maybe even changed the way that the early stages of the 21st century unfurled, and it continues to be a major political battleground for those that want to secure their spot in the White House.
Geography and demographics
As mentioned above, the county encompasses an area of nearly 15,000 mi.², with 113 of those square miles being water.
Just 6 feet above sea level, the overwhelming majority of this county (just like the rest of South Florida) is located on a carbonate plateau, with much of the land here being formed by soft minerals that have been eroded by time.
This makes the potential for sinkholes a very real possibility, and it's also one of the "hurricane hotspots" in the United States. Mother Nature certainly has an impact on the day to day lives of those that live and work in the county.
The Everglades (and the Everglades National Park) make up a big part of the county, with more than 300 mi.² being designated Everglades alone.
Broward County has also recently approved the construction of an artificial reef made completely of recycled tires just off of the Fort Lauderdale coast, so it has (so far) been regarded to be a bit of an environmental mistakes and one that the county wishes it could have taken back.
Bordered on all sides by Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade County, Collier County, and Hendry County - and of course the Atlantic Ocean - it's centrally located too much of the goings-on in the South of Florida, and (understandably so) a major tourist hotspot.
Some 1.7 million people or so call Broward County home, with 70% or so of them white, 20% or so black, and the rest of the population made up of smaller ethnic groups - though Hispanic or Latino descent has a 16% representation in the county.
Also, the county is home to one of the largest Italian-American communities in the country, and the largest Italian-American community outside of the Northeast region of the US.
Outside of the obvious attractions of the Everglades and the proximity to Miami, Fort Lauderdale Beach is a major hotspot, and the many universities and colleges located in Broward County makes it popular as well.
Broward College, Florida Atlantic University, the Kelser University, and DeVry University all call the county home, with hundreds and hundreds of thousands of students attending one of these educational opportunities every single year.
You also have the Museum of Discovery and Science, the International Swimming All of Thing, and the Florida Panthers (an NHL team) playing in the region.
Obviously, there's a lot to do (and to enjoy) in the county, especially considering the fact that they have more than 23 miles of beach and a lot of offshore entertainment available as well.
Broward County continues to be one of the most visited counties in all of Florida for a variety of different reasons, and its population (and its economy) continues to grow at a very steady rate.