MANATEE -- By one measure -- how the population is growing -- Manatee County may be seeing a boom.
The U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday released population estimates that show the county's population increased by 2 percent between July 1, 2011, and July 1, 2012, to 333,895. That's almost twice the rate it increased by in the prior year, and 10 times the rate in 2009-10.
Also, the city of Bradenton officially broke the 50,000-population mark for the first time, according to the estimates.
Population growth in Manatee is almost twice the rate Sarasota County's population grew by in 2011-12. The Census Bureau said Sarasota County's population grew by almost 1.2 percent, to 386,147.
While trailing Manatee in rate in growth, Sarasota last year did grow by three times the rate it did in 2010-11.
Since the 2010 census, when there were 322,833 people living in Manatee, the county's population has increased by 3.4 percent. Sarasota's population grew by almost 1.8 percent.
The growth has the potential to be felt across a wide specter of activity in the county -- from the public schools to the roadways to the real estate market -- as the region recover from the economic slowdown of the past several years.
Statewide, as of July 1, 2012, the population was estimated at more than 19.3 million, 1.2 percent more than a year earlier, and more than 2.7 percent more than the 18.8 million recorded by the U.S. Census.
The Census Bureau also released population estimates for incorporated areas, as of July 2012, and growth since July 2011:
-- Bradenton, 50,672; plus 1.4 percent.
-- Palmetto, 12,852; plus 1 percent.
-- Holmes Beach, 3,960, plus 1.8 percent.
-- Bradenton Beach, 1,190, plus 1.1 percent.
-- Longboat Key (including Sarasota County portion), 6,993, plus 1 percent.
-- Sarasota, 52,811, plus 0.9 percent