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North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton 34th fastest-growing metro in the nation

As the U.S. population growth rate shrinks to almost zero, those who are here flock to Florida metros, including North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, which ranks 11th among midsize and 34th among all metro.

Constant residential construction in downtown Sarasota since 2016, such as The Quay, is contributing to the region's continued rapid population growth.
Constant residential construction in downtown Sarasota since 2016, such as The Quay, is contributing to the region's continued rapid population growth.
Photo by Andrew Warfield
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While global population has topped 8 billion, just 11 years after surpassing 7 billion, the U.S. is among some countries experiencing a slowing in population growth. Currently at 0.1%, it’s the slowest growth on record.

In the wake of COVID-19, though, it is not surprising that most metropolitan statistical areas in Florida have experienced explosive in-migration in recent years. Inspection Support Network recently studied market population shifts across the country, finding the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro area among the 11th fastest growing among the nation’s 95 midsize markets.

Researchers with the cloud-based business management system for the home inspection industry calculated the percentage change in total population in each of the country’s 390 total metro areas between 2016 and 2021. They also calculated the most common origin for recent movers. All metro areas from the U.S. census with at least 100,000 people in 2021 were included in the analysis. 

Between 2016 and 2021, the North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metro area gained 71,419 residents, a growth of 9.1%, which also ranked it 34th among all metros regardless of size. The total population in the market is 859,760. Research by Inspection Support Network also found that the most common location for migration into the local metro is the Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater metro, which itself ranks 15th among the nations large metros with a population growth of 170,551, or 5.6%.

The Sarasota metro’s population increase compares to a 2.8% growth for the nation, which since 2016 gained 8.9 million people according to census data for a total of 331.9 million.  

All but one of Florida’s midsize metro areas ranked in the top 30 among their peers nationally.

Midsize metro area
Market population gainPercentage growth
4. Lakeland-Winter Haven87,69713.2%
8. Ocala38,44611.1%
11. North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton71,4199.1%
12. Cape Coral-Fort Myers65,3279.0%
13. Port St. Lucie36.6308.5%
15. Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach49,4857.8%
18. Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent35,0217.3%
23. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville39,7546.9%
28. Naples-Marco Island20,5355.6%
63. Tallahassee7,1041.9%

Major metro area
Market population gainPercentage growth
3. Jacksonville
4. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford236,342
15. Tampa-St. Pete-Clearwater170,551
45. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.

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