South Florida’s largest cities: 1890 to 2010

Using data from the United States Census of 1890 to 2010, we can track the historical population growth in South Florida (Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties). To find this information, I’ve (semi-painstakingly) gone through each decennial census since 1890 and tracked each municipality in South Florida and its population growth throughout this period. It’s interesting to go through this data and see how extremely fast South Florida developed. Few areas of the world have seen as fast a growth as this region did in the 20th century.

Prior to 1890, very few people lived in South Florida. In 1890, you would have known everyone in your settlement. I say settlement, since in 1890, there were yet no incorporated cities. It was not until 1894, when West Palm Beach incorporated that South Florida saw its first, official town. Miami followed soon after, incorporating in 1896.

This is not to say no one lived in the region before this time, but it was only a couple hundred brave souls. The region was inhabited by the local Indian tribe, the Tequesta for hundreds of years before white, European settlers arrived. The Tequesta were believed to have disappeared by the mid-1700s after years of sporadic contact with Spanish settlers. The Tequesta were then followed by the Seminole Indians, and then finally white settlers, who began forming permanent settlements in Miami-Dade as early as 1840.

The 1920s Miami Land Boom is what truly propelled the region into rapid population growth. Numerous cities were formed in the mid-1920s- Boca Raton (1925), Coral Gables (1925), Deerfield Beach (1925), Hialeah (1925), Hollywood (1925), North Miami (1926), and South Miami (1927) to name a few.

So, now for the actual numbers!

1890:

  1. Miami: 364 residents (incorporated in 1896)
  2. West Palm Beach: 244 (incorporated in 1894)

1900:

  1. Miami: 2,739 residents
  2. West Palm Beach: 564
  3. Fort Lauderdale: 91 (incorporated in 1911)

1910:

  1. Miami: 5,471 residents
  2. West Palm Beach: 1,743
  3. Delray Beach: 904 (incorporated in 1911)
  4. Pompano Beach: 350 (incorporated in 1908)
  5. Fort Lauderdale: 336
  6. Deerfield Beach: 256 (incorporated in 1925)

1920:

  1. Miami: 29,549 residents
  2. West Palm Beach: 8,659
  3. Fort Lauderdale: 2,257
  4. Homestead: 1,307 (incorporated in 1913)
  5. Delray Beach: 1,051
  6. Pompano Beach: 753
  7. Miami Beach: 644 (incorporated in 1915)
  8. Deerfield Beach: 437

1930:

  1. Miami: 110,637 residents
  2. West Palm Beach: 26,610
  3. Fort Lauderdale: 8,668
  4. Miami Beach: 6,494
  5. Coral Gables: 5,597 (incorporated in 1925)
  6. Hollywood: 2,689 (incorporated in 1925)
  7. Pompano Beach: 2,614
  8. Hialeah: 2,600 (incorporated in 1925)
  9. Delray Beach: 2,333
  10. Homestead: 2,319

1940:

  1. Miami: 172,172 residents
  2. West Palm Beach: 33,693
  3. Miami Beach: 28,012
  4. Fort Lauderdale: 17,996
  5. Coral Gables: 8,294
  6. Hollywood: 6,239
  7. Pompano Beach: 4,427
  8. Hialeah: 3,958
  9. Delray Beach: 3,737
  10. Homestead: 3,154

1950:

  1. Miami: 249,276 residents
  2. Miami Beach: 46,282
  3. West Palm Beach: 43,162
  4. Fort Lauderdale: 36,328
  5. Coral Gables: 19,837
  6. Hialeah: 19,676
  7. Hollywood: 14,351
  8. North Miami: 10,734 (incorporated in 1926)
  9. Delray Beach: 6,312
  10. Pompano Beach: 5,082

1960:

  1. Miami: 291,688 residents
  2. Fort Lauderdale: 83,648
  3. Hialeah: 66,972
  4. Miami Beach: 63,145
  5. West Palm Beach: 56,208
  6. Hollywood: 35,237
  7. Coral Gables: 34,793
  8. North Miami: 28,768
  9. North Miami Beach: 21,405 (incorporated in 1927)
  10. Pompano Beach: 15,992

1970:

  1. Miami: 334,859 residents
  2. Fort Lauderdale: 139,122
  3. Hollywood: 106,873
  4. Hialeah: 102,452
  5. Miami Beach: 87,072
  6. West Palm Beach: 57,375
  7. Coral Gables: 42,494
  8. Pompano Beach: 38,137
  9. North Miami: 34,767
  10. North Miami Beach: 30,723

1980:

  1. Miami: 346,865 residents
  2. Fort Lauderdale: 153,279
  3. Hialeah: 145,254
  4. Hollywood: 121,323
  5. Miami Beach: 96,298
  6. West Palm Beach: 63,305
  7. Pompano Beach: 52,618
  8. Boca Raton: 49,477 (incorporated in 1925)
  9. Plantation: 48,501 (incorporated in 1953)
  10. Coral Gables: 43,241

1990:

  1. Miami: 358,548 residents
  2. Hialeah: 188,004
  3. Fort Lauderdale: 149,238
  4. Hollywood: 121,697
  5. Miami Beach: 92,639
  6. Coral Springs: 78,864 (incorporated in 1963)
  7. Pompano Beach: 72,411
  8. West Palm Beach: 67,764
  9. Plantation: 66,692
  10. Pembroke Pines: 65,566 (incorporated in 1960)

2000:

  1. Miami: 362,470 residents
  2. Hialeah: 226,419
  3. Fort Lauderdale: 152,397
  4. Hollywood: 139,357
  5. Pembroke Pines: 137,427
  6. Coral Springs: 117,549
  7. Miami Beach: 87,933
  8. Sunrise: 85,779 (incorporated in 1961)
  9. Plantation: 82,934
  10. West Palm Beach: 82,103

2010:

  1. Miami: 408,568 residents
  2. Hialeah: 224,669
  3. Fort Lauderdale: 165,521
  4. Pembroke Pines: 154,750
  5. Hollywood: 140,768
  6. Miramar: 122,041 (incorporated in 1955)
  7. Coral Springs: 121,096
  8. Miami Gardens: 107,167 (incorporated in 2003)
  9. West Palm Beach: 99,919
  10. Pompano Beach: 99,845
2010 largest cities South Florida

Green: Cities in Miami-Dade
Blue: Cities in South Broward
Orange: Cities in North Broward
Red: Cities in Palm Beach

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One comment

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