Broward Population Falls as Whites Leave

Breanne Gilpatrick and Trenton Daniel, Herald (Miami), August 7, 2008

The loss of white non-Hispanics is causing Broward’s population to shrink.

In a report being released Thursday, the Census Bureau showed Broward’s population fell by about 13,100—0.75 percent—between 2006 and 2007, the largest loss statewide and Broward’s first drop in population since 2000. Miami-Dade’s population jumped slightly—about 0.45 percent.

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Perhaps no surprise, demographers cited the Sunshine State’s high cost of living and bleak housing market as twin culprits for the population decline. In Broward, the loss of white non-Hispanics doesn’t appear to have been compensated by other groups.

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At the same time, the county’s white non-Hispanic populations fell below 50 percent in 2006 and dropped even lower last year.

The number of white non-Hispanics has been falling in Broward since 2005. But in the past, those drops have been canceled out by increases in blacks and Hispanics.

One demographer speculated that Broward’s population change could stem from an aging out of its eldest population—white non-Hispanics, the result of a large wave of retirement in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. There were approximately 15,000 deaths in Broward between July 1, 2006, and July 1, 2007.

That combined with the possibility of fewer births among white non-Hispanics, which would result in a negative net natural growth for that group, or when more people die than are born.

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However, with 1.76 million people, Broward still has about 137,000 more people than it did in 2000.

Miami-Dade County still ranks among the nation’s top counties for highest percentage of minorities—with roughly 82 percent of its residents identifying as such in 2007. Only the Bronx in New York City has a higher percentage of minorities.

“At some point, we’ll stop thinking of Hispanics as a minority and understand that in Miami-Dade County they are certainly a majority,” Ogburn said.

The number of white non-Hispanics in Miami-Dade also continued to drop, falling about 1.4 percent between 2006 and 2007.

However, unlike Broward, the number of black non-Hispanics in Miami-Dade also fell slightly between 2006 and 2007, dropping by about 1 percent, or roughly 4,600 residents.

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However, the drop in non-Hispanic blacks and whites was more than offset by the growing number of Hispanic residents, where the population rose by more than 21,100—or by 1.5 percent—during that same period.

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