Sumter County’s population is up 23.4 percent from 2010, rising to 115,274 as of April 1, according to a preliminary estimate provided earlier this month by the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research.
The county’s 2010 population was 93,420, according to U.S. Census Bureau data collected that year.
All but about 600 people of the 21,834 new residents were in the unincorporated areas of the county, which includes The Villages. The estimate for the unincorporated areas was 103,077, up from 81,817 five years ago, a 26 percent increase.
Sumter County is home to the Coleman Federal Correctional Institution and 8,528 prison inmates are included in the county’s population.
“We’ll again be one of the fastest growing counties in the nation,” said Sumter County Commission Chairman Don Hahnfeldt.
More population data will be available, he said, now that The Villages has been designated as a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
With a 5.4 percent population spike between 2013 and 2014, The Villages was the nation’s fastest-growing metro area last year, according to data released last spring by the U.S. Census Bureau. The community’s 2014 population was 114,000.
The Villages’ population growth was over 2 percent higher than the second and third fastest-growing areas of Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Austin, Texas.
Besides The Villages, five other Florida metro areas were listed by the Census Bureau in the top 20 areas with the biggest population gains. They include Cape Coral, Naples, Orlando, North Port and Panama City,
Growth in those communities and others contributed to Florida bumping New York last year as the country’s third most populous state.
Most of Florida’s population increase came from an influx of new residents and deaths outnumbered births in about half of the state’s counties, according to the Census Bureau.