THE ISSUE: Santa Rosa County’s population boom could reach a record 180,000 residents by 2020, according to the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
LOCAL IMPACT: Increased police presence and investment in public amenities will be necessary to maintain the larger population — and keep new residents in the county
PACE — Santa Rosa County’s population rose from 117,743 to 167,040 from 2000 to 2015, according to the United States Census Bureau. The area ranks seventh in the state by percentage.
This population spike bodes well for several areas, though proper planning is necessary to accommodate needs, according to authorities.
But what’s drawing people here? And what’s next, especially considering a record population boom is just around the corner?
Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Rich Aloy said it’s the low crime rate. He said crime rose 4.8 percent last year primarily due to vehicle burglaries. However, he said, it would likely drop when drivers lock their doors.
Economic Development Director Shannon Ogletree said people come for work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Santa Rosa County has a 4.4 unemployment rate — down from a 2010 peak of 10 percent.