Florida, the land of sunshiny beaches and urban playgrounds. The idea of living in this state carries a certain aesthetic appeal. This is the third most populous and the 22nd most extensive state in the United States. The Sunshine State has one of the biggest economies in the country, being the fourth largest in the US and the sixteenth largest in the world, had it been a country in itself. If you are planning to move to Florida, you have a good plan. So, to help you along this process, here is a list of the largest cities in the state, so that you make the best decision for yourself.
List of the 10 Biggest Cities in Florida
- St. Petersburg
- Port St. Lucie
- Cape Coral
- Fort Lauderdale
The 10 Largest Cities in Florida
The list had to start with Jacksonville, the largest city by area, as well as the most populous in Florida. It is spread over an area of 2650 km with a population of approximately 911,507, as estimated in 2019. The population figure that is pretty close to a million makes Jacksonville the twelfth most populous city in the US.
The median cost of owning a house in this city is $180,300 and if you plan on renting, you would be paying approximately $1500 per month, as per Zillow.
Jacksonville is really a city for everyone. With a $1 trillion dollar economy, there is no dearth of jobs. Families with children will be spoilt for choice with the presence of quite a number of top-rated schools and childcare services. Weekends can be spent touring the many cultural attractions that the city has to offer. And if you are a retiree planning to live in Florida, this city has enough affordable neighbourhoods and great venues for entertainment, making sure that you keep up with the ‘forever young at heart’ spark in you. And if you are single, then there is literally no better place to be than Jacksonville, Florida.
Miami, spread over an area of 143.1 km is the second most populous with an estimated population of 478,251 as per 2019. In the United States, Miami is considered as the seventh largest by population. As per GOBankingRates, the median price of a house in Miami is $285,000 and the cost of renting a house would be $1800, according to Zillow.
An encouraging fact is that Miami is the largest urban economy of the United States, as well as a vibrant hub of culture and the arts. You would not be lacking for a job here. It also happens to be a thriving centre for hospitals, clinics and research centres for biotechnology and medicine. So, the place with the great beaches, amazing restaurant and a social scene like no other, is also a great place for science aficionados. This just goes to prove that Miami is always a good idea, because after everything said and done, everyday is a good day here.
This city, located on the West Coast of Florida, is the largest city of the Tampa Bay area. Located near the Gulf of Mexico, Tampa is spread over 455.4 km, with a population of 403,178, as per the findings of World Population Review, in 2019. In the US, it is considered to be the 48th most populous. As per Zillow, the median price of a house in Tampa is $279,450 and the average cost of renting that very house would be $1500, considering it is a two-bedroom house.
The city is everything urban, with its beautiful skyline and a job market that is forever thriving and never damp. The cuisine of Tampa will spoil you for choice with the options ranging from farm-to-table to bistros and cafes and bakeries. It also adds flavor, figuratively and metaphorically. An undeniable tidbit is that the food has its own history with parts of Cuban, Spanish and Italian elements. The amiably warm weather present all-year round is just the feather in the cap of Tampa.
Orlando, located in Central Florida, has an area of 294.6 km with a population of 287,442. It is the fourth-largest city in Florida as well as the state’s largest inland city. It also happens to be the 71st largest city in the US, while also being the 23rd largest metropolitan area. As per the Realtor website, the median home price in Orlando is $275,000 and the average rent per month is $1400, as per Zillow. These are the rates for a two-bedroom apartment and could vary from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Let’s not forget, Orlando is a city with a tech industry worth $13.4 billion which employs over 50,000 people. It is quite the international hub with over 150 countries from 20 countries setting up their facilities here. And if you are a family with kids or are a kid at heart yourself, this city is the ‘theme park capital of the world’, with over twelve theme parks including Walt Disney Studios, Universal Orlando, SeaWorld Orlando, Legoland and Fun Spot America. If you ask us, with everything the ‘Hollywood East’ offers, it is not populated enough.
5. St. Petersburg
This city, which covers an area of 356.4 km2 with a population of 271,842 as of 2019, also holds a Guinness World record for the greatest number of days in a year to receive sunshine consecutively, almost 361 out of 365. What do you think the weather is like in the remaining four days? The Sunshine City is the 79th largest state in the United States in terms of population. As per Investopedia, the median price of a two-bedroom house in St. Petersburg is $279,450. The cost of renting a similar house would be $1350, going by Zillow.
Though the younger population of the city has increased in the recent decade, it is still considered to be one of the best places for retirees to spend their years. St. Petersburg is also known for its vibrant ‘arts scene’ and has been named ‘One of the Best Street Art Cities in the World’. This goes hand in hand with the city being close to the ocean and the spectacular beaches and iconic sights. Never a dull day here.
Hialeah, with an area of 59.1 km, houses a population of 233,339 as per the 2019 census. This makes it the sixth largest city in Florida and is a principal city of the Miami metropolitan area. As per the Realtor website, the median home price in Hialeah is $305,000 and the rent of a two-bedroom apartment would be $1900, according to Zillow.
The city derives its name from its location, on a large prairie between Biscayne Bay and the Everglades. The name ‘Hialeah’ either means ‘pretty prairie’ or ‘upland prairie’, depending upon whether you interpret it according to its Muskogee origin or the Seminole origin. National retailers like Starbucks, Target, Best Buy and Walmart are placed in Hialeah. Homegrown businesses such as Navarro and Sedano are also hosted in this city, as well as a huge network of mom-and-pop stores.
The number of Cubans and Cuban-Americans are the highest in this city in the US, with them being over 100,000. Spanish is a pretty commonly spoken language over there. This is where you will get some of the best Cuban food. Also, Hialeah is known for its low crime rate and lower cost of living as compared to the other Miami suburbs.
7. Port St. Lucie
Located on the ‘treasure coast’ of Florida, Port St. Lucie is spread over an area of 198.6 km with a population of 202,769 as seen in 2019. With being the seventh largest city of Florida, it is also the most populous municipality of its county. The median home price in the city is $249,900 with the rent of such an apartment being $1200. With Port St. Lucie becoming increasingly popular by the day, more and more people prefer this city for its lower housing prices and cost of living as compared to its pricier alternative of Palm Beach County.
There is no dearth of artists in the city. From sculptors and painters to fibre artists and potters as well as writers, jewellery designers, dancers and musicians, there’s a space for every artist. In leisure time, you can head down to Fort Pierce for a show of the performing and visual arts. With its fair share of sandy beaches and golf courses along with a number of outdoor activities, Port St. Lucie is a city for the young and elderly alike. In recent years, it has become a popular settling point for people after their retirement, given the pace of life and cost of living.
8. Cape Coral
Located on the Gulf of Mexico in south-west Florida, Cape Coral covers an area of 309.2 km. The city houses a population of 194,570. But the fascinating part is that Cape Coral is known for its many canals, which is an estimable 640 km of navigable waterways. The median home price in Cape Coral is $200,000 according to the Realtor website. The cost of rent would be $1100, for a two-bedroom apartment. These are good prices considering that they come with great weather, first-class amenities, low crime rate and a great school system.
As fun as it is to say ‘Cape Coral’, the life here is one of stunning visuals and leisurely time spent in boats, should you choose that. This is a place for snow-bunnies and it is popular for its winter tourism as a fifth of its population comes here for the winters only. If you wish to be one of them, we recommend attending the Oktoberfest, which is one of the biggest in the state. You can spend hours at the water park and then visit the local theatre at night. On weekends, you can go kayaking through the mangroves or just put on lots of sunscreen and spend the day at Gulf beach. Another beautiful perk of the place is the wealth it has in store for bird-watchers. The place is best suited for people seeking a certain pace of life and peace of mind.
The capital of Florida as well as its 9th largest city, Tallahassee is spread over an area of 267 km with a population of 194,500. It also happens to be the 126th largest city in the state. The median price of a two-bedroom house in Tallahassee is $225,000 and if like many, you wish to rent a house, the average rent would be $1,000.
Tallahassee happens to be the centre of the trade and agriculture business in the Southwest Georgia and Florida Big Bend. It is also home to some of the country’s best universities including Florida State University and Florida A&M University. Keeping in mind the fact that its student population exceeds 70,000, Tallahassee is treated as a college town.
This is a city famous for its museums, some of which include the Museum of Fine Arts, Tallahassee Museum, Goodwood Museum and Gardens, Mission San Luis de Apalachee and for the concerned enthusiasts, Tallahassee Automobile Museum. On a holiday, you may visit the Railroad Square Art Park, which is a centre of arts, culture and entertainment. Some of these include a variety of metal art sculptures and a number of stores selling their work. This is an alternative art scene and is known for its local and vintage stores.
10. Fort Lauderdale
The yachting capital of the world covers an area of 94.01 km with a population of 182,437, who may or may not be on a yacht. The median home price in Fort Lauderdale is $310,000 and if you wish to rent a house instead of a yacht in this city, it will cost you $1,350 per month, on average.
Fort Lauderdale is an extremely popular tourist destination. The exciting nightlife and the yummy dining scene are a huge part of the charm of the city. It also hosts the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, which is the biggest in-water boat show in the whole world. Despite its reputation as a place to go for the spring break, you would never run out of things to do if you moved to this place. Fort Lauderdale has over 4,000 restaurants, 63 golf courses, 12 shopping malls, 16 museums, 132 nightclubs, 278 parkland campsites, and 100 marinas housing 45,000 resident yachts. Makes the city effortlessly iconic, wouldn’t you say?
These are the largest cities by population, of the third most populous state of the United States of America. One does wonder what makes Florida so attractive to live in? The answer could be the climate of the place, the beach, the availability of places to go to for snowbirds and the endless recreational activities for all age groups. But we would be kidding if we did not acknowledge that the real reason is ‘no state income tax’ benefit offered by the Sunshine State. That fact itself is enough to dispel the gloom of most days.
See also: Moving to Florida – Relocation Guide
So, when you decide to move to any city in Florida, make an objective assessment of your salary, the cost of living, rent that you can afford and which city it corresponds with the most to suit your lifestyle. And once you have made that decision and moved to the chosen city, apply a lot of sunscreen and get to sunbathing in all the sunshine that the cities of this state are blessed with.