During the boom days of Florida’s housing market, real-estate agents liked to quote the cheery fact that about 1,000 people moved to Florida every single day.
Now it’s closer to 500.
The latest population estimates from the University of Florida puts 2012’s population growth at 184,000 people — roughly half of the pre-recession average of 352,000 people per year. The slowdown illustrates just how much Florida’s economy has changed from when the housing market was soaring.
Still, the estimate of a 1 percent population growth rate from UF’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research shows a recovery underway in a state that depends on a growing population for real estate sales. If not for the even higher growth of 273,000 people in 2011, the 2012 tally would be the best since 2007, the last full year before the 2007-09 recession began.
The data also illustrates that the nightmare scenario of negative growth in the Sunshine State never actually happened. While there were fears during the financial crisis that Florida’s population would shrink, the worst year came in 2009 when population grew by only 73,500. That’s about 200 people a day.