|Founded||June 2, 1887|
|Named for||Samuel Pasco|
|Largest CDP||Wesley Chapel|
|• Total||868 sq mi (2,250 km2)|
|• Land||747 sq mi (1,930 km2)|
|• Water||122 sq mi (320 km2) 14.0%|
|• Density||752/sq mi (290/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Pasco County is located on the west central coast of the U.S. state of Florida. According to the 2020 census, the population was 561,691. Its county seat is Dade City, and its largest city is Zephyrhills. The county is named after Samuel Pasco.
Pasco County is included in the Tampa Bay Area and is primarily a bedroom community for Tampa and St. Petersburg.
It includes numerous parks and trails located along rivers, the Gulf of Mexico, lakes, and highway/railroad right-of-ways. Several nudist resorts are located in Pasco. It has become known as the "naturist capital of the United States," beginning with a development in 1941. West Pasco includes retirement areas, commercial fishing, and suburbs of Tampa. The Suncoast Parkway as well as U.S. 19, U.S. 41, U.S. 98, U.S. 301, and Interstate 75 all pass through Pasco. The county is directly west of Polk and Sumter counties, north of Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, and south of Hernando County.
Pasco County was created on June 2, 1887, from the southern third of Hernando County. The same legislation also created Citrus County from the northern third of Hernando County. The county was named after Samuel Pasco, who had just been elected to the United States Senate.
Dade City was named the temporary county seat until a popular vote was held in 1889, at which time voters made Dade City the permanent county seat. As early as 1917, residents of the western part of the county proposed forming a separate county or merging with Pinellas County, as Dade City was not centrally located in the county. The issue was finally resolved in the late 1970s with the construction of identical government centers in both Dade City and New Port Richey.
The earliest towns were Anclote, Blanton, Dade City, Earnestville, Fort Dade (not to be confused with Fort Dade on Egmont Key), Macon (Trilby), Lacoochee, St. Leo, and San Antonio. Citrus was an important industry when the county was formed, although a decline followed a freeze in 1895. Several large sawmills operated in the county in the early part of the 20th century.
During the Florida land boom of the 1920s, New Port Richey became the winter home of silent screen star Thomas Meighan and golfer Gene Sarazen; Meighan attempted to bring other Hollywood figures to the city. The county has experienced significant population growth since the 1960s. The growth began along the Gulf coast but is now occurring most rapidly in areas north of Tampa.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 868 square miles (2,250 km2), of which 747 sq mi (1,930 km2) is land and 122 sq mi (320 km2) (14.0%) is water.
A portion of Eastern Pasco County contains rolling topography with elevations from 100 to 160 ft (30 to 49 m), along with San Antonio and St. Leo.
The county has a humid subtropical climate (Cwa) and average temperatures in Dade City range from 59.2 °F in January to 82.1 °F in July and August while in Port Richey they range from 59.0 °F in January to 82.2 °F in August. PRISM Climate Group at Oregon State University
|footnote= U.S. Decennial Census[failed verification]
|Race||Pop 2010||Pop 2020||% 2010||% 2020|
|Black or African American (NH)||19,010||31,601||4.09%||5.62%|
|Native American or Alaska Native (NH)||1,236||1,388||0.27%||0.25%|
|Pacific Islander (NH)||223||308||0.05%||0.05%|
|Some Other Race (NH)||686||2,771||0.15%||0.49%|
|Hispanic or Latino||54,536||93,157||11.74%||16.58%|
As of the 2020 United States census, there were 561,891 people, 209,483 households, and 139,278 families residing in the county.
As of the census of 2000, there were 344,765 people, 147,566 households, and 99,016 families residing in the county. The population density was 463 inhabitants per square mile (179/km2). There were 173,717 housing units at an average density of 233 per square mile (90/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 93.70% White, 2.07% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 0.94% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.52% from other races, and 1.38% from two or more races. 5.69% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 147,566 households, out of which 23.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.60% were married couples living together, 8.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.90% were non-families. 27.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.77.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 20.20% under the age of 18, 5.80% from 18 to 24, 24.10% from 25 to 44, 23.10% from 45 to 64, and 26.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females there were 92.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.10 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $32,969, and the median income for a family was $39,568. Males had a median income of $30,974 versus $23,802 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,439. About 7.60% of families and 10.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.20% of those under age 18 and 7.70% of those age 65 or over.
Though the county seat is in Dade City, duplicate county government offices and court facilities are also located in the New Port Richey area on the west side of the county.
Politically, the county has been a swing area over the past quarter century. However, three of the last four elections have trended strongly Republican in Presidential elections, with 2008 being the exception. Although the GOP had the most votes in 2008, it was by a much smaller margin than the previous 2004 election or the subsequent 2012 and 2016 elections.
Pasco County Public Transportation provides bus service throughout Pasco County.
CSX operates three rail lines within the county. Dade City and Zephyrhills are served with a line from Plant City. Amtrak formerly provided passenger rail service to Dade City on that line, but the stop was terminated in late 2004. The other two lines include the Brooksville Subdivision which runs close to US 41 and the Vitis Subdivision, which runs southeast into Lakeland.
Notable abandoned railroad lines include a former branch of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad northwest of Trilacoochee (formerly Owensboro Junction) that became part of the Withlacoochee State Trail, a segment of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad branch stretching from Zephyrhills to Trilacoochee, the former Tampa and Thonotosassa Railroad along the east side of US 301 that spanned from Sulphur Springs to Zephyrhills, part of the Orange Belt Railway which became the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad which ran from St. Petersburg and entered the county in what is today Trinity to Trilby (abandoned during the early to mid-1970s), and a branch of the Seaboard Air Line that ran through Holiday, Elfers and into New Port Richey.
The Atlantic Coast Line Railroad until 1957 ran the Southland through Trilby and Tarpon Springs, en route to St. Petersburg. The train was unusual for providing passenger service direct from Chicago (via the Pennsylvania), Cincinnati and Atlanta on a direct route through the western part of the Florida peninsula, bypassing Jacksonville. The Seaboard Coast Line (a merged line from the Atlantic Coast Line and the Seaboard Coast Line) until 1971 ran a local train (the last passenger train for the region north of St. Petersburg and west of Dade City) through those towns from Jacksonville and Gainesville, bound for St. Petersburg. Prior to the 1967 merger for the SCL that service had been the western branch of the ACL's Champion from New York City. Until 1968 the SCL ran its Sunland from Washington, DC and Portsmouth, VA to Tampa.
The SAL Tarpon Springs branch line from Tarpon Junction 14 miles west of Tampa to Elfers and thence to Newport Richey to New Port Richey was lost its passenger service and became listed as freight only between 1932 and 1938. The freight branch was truncated to Elfers in 1943. The tracks from Elfers and Chemical (an industrial area in the extreme southwest part of the county along the Anclote River west of Holiday) to Tarpon Springs were removed in the late 1980s, leaving the western half of the county without freight rail service.
Public schools in the county are operated by Pasco County Schools.
The county has seen explosive growth in student enrollment, increasing from 46,458 students in the 1999-2000 year to 65,126 in the 2007-2008 year, an increase of 18,668 or 40.2%. The projected enrollment for the 2007-2008 was 64,674, so the actual enrollment was 452 students over the projection.[needs update] Yearly, the school district has grown 2,489 or 5.4%, which has led to the building of one new school a year. The enrollment in 2017 is up to 73,538.
The Pasco County Library Cooperative (PCLC) is the public library system that serves residents of Pasco County. It consists of seven branch libraries and one cooperative partner, the Zephyrhills Public Library. The Pasco County Libraries operated on a budget of $6,205,291 for fiscal year 2016–2017. Pasco Libraries circulated 2,623,024 items during that period. The head of library services reports to the Assistant County Administrator for Public Services.
The New Port Richey Public Library is located in the New Port Richey area of Pasco County. It is the only public library in Pasco County that is not a part of the Pasco County Library Cooperative. Since the library is independent, it issues its own library cards. Cards are free for all Pasco County residents and for those who pay property taxes to the city of New Port Richey. Members of libraries which have reciprocal borrowing agreements with the NPR library are also issued free cards.
Recreational areas include Hudson Beach, The New Port Richey Recreation & Aquatic Center, Odessa Community Park, Moon Lake Park, Land o' Lakes Heritage Park, Land o' Lakes Recreation Complex, Robert K Rees Memorial Park, Veterans Memorial Park, J. Ben Harrill Recreation Complex, the Jay Starkey Preserve, Werner-Boyce Salt Springs State Park, a section of the Suncoast Trail, a section of the Withlacoochee State Trail, Conner Preserve, Cypress Creek Preserve, Withlacoochee River Park, and Crews Lake Wilderness Park. Kayaking, canoeing, sailing, power boating, jet skiing, and fishing are popular along the coast, and large tracts are preserved from development.
Environmental lands acquired for preservation include Aripeka Sandhills Preserve, Boy Scout Preserve, Cypress Creek Preserve, Pasco County, Jumping Gully Preserve, Pasco Palms Preserve, Tierra Del Sol Preserve and Upper Pithlachascotee River Preserve.
|Name||Type of community||Population (2010)|
|Bayonet Point||Census-designated place||23 467|
|Beacon Square||Census-designated place||7 224|
|Crystal Springs||Census-designated place|
|Dade City||City||6 437|
|Dade City North||Census-designated place|
|Elfers||Census-designated place||13 986|
|Heritage Pines||Census-designated place|
|Holiday||Census-designated place||22 403|
|Hudson||Census-designated place||12 158|
|Jasmine Estates||Census-designated place||18 989|
|Key Vista||Census-designated place|
|Land o' Lakes||Census-designated place||31 996|
|Meadow Oaks||Census-designated place|
|Moon Lake||Census-designated place|
|New Port Richey||City||14 911|
|New Port Richey East||Census-designated place||10 036|
|Odessa||Census-designated place||7 267|
|Pasadena Hills||Census-designated place||7 570|
|Quail Ridge||Census-designated place|
|River Ridge||Census-designated place||13 494|
|Shady Hills||Census-designated place||11 523|
|Trinity||Census-designated place||10 907|
|Wesley Chapel||Census-designated place||44 092|
|Zephyrhills North||Census-designated place|
|Zephyrhills South||Census-designated place||5 276|
|Zephyrhills West||Census-designated place||5 865|
((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)