St. Lucie County
St. Lucie County Courthouse
St. Lucie County Courthouse
Official seal of St. Lucie County
Map of Florida highlighting St. Lucie County
Location within the U.S. state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 27°23′N 80°26′W / 27.38°N 80.44°W / 27.38; -80.44
Country United States
State Florida
FoundedMay 24, 1905
Named forSt. Lucie Inlet
SeatFort Pierce
Largest cityPort St. Lucie
Area
 • Total688 sq mi (1,780 km2)
 • Land572 sq mi (1,480 km2)
 • Water116 sq mi (300 km2)  16.9%%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2020)
329,226
 • Density486/sq mi (188/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district18th
Websitewww.stlucieco.gov

St. Lucie County is a county in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2020 census, the population was 329,226.[1] The county's seat is Fort Pierce.[2] St. Lucie County is included in the Port St. Lucie, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area.

History

The area was originally inhabited by the Ais tribe, a hunter-gatherer culture whose territory extended from south of the St. John's river to the St. Lucie Inlet. Spanish explorers frequently encountered the fierce tribe as the Spanish treasure routes ran parallel in order to take advantage of the strong Gulfstream current. The area was given several names by the Spanish including Rio de Ays (later changed to Indian River) as well as Santa Lucia, named after the short-lived late 16th-century Spanish fort that bore its name farther south. The fabled 1715 Spanish treasure fleet sank off the area that is now St. Lucie County, leading to the regional naming of the area as the Treasure Coast.

During the early 19th century, the Spanish government issued several land grants in the area, one of which went to settler James Hutchinson. The grant contained 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) and today the barrier island Hutchinson Island still retains his name. During the mid-1800s, Seminoles and runaway slaves sought refuge in the virtually uninhabited area. By 1837 the Second Seminole war had broken out in Florida. In December 1837, a group of soldiers under the command of Lt. Colonel Benjamin K. Pierce sailed down the Indian River and established a fort, naming it after their commander. Today the county seat of St. Lucie County is still known as Fort Pierce. In 1841, the United States government began issuing land grants under the Armed Occupation Act to Americans who were willing to settle the area. Several of these grants were within the boundaries of today's St. Lucie County. The Third Seminole War in 1851 saw the building of a second major American fort in the area, Fort Capron, located in the area that is today's St. Lucie Village.

From this point on the area became gradually more populated as settlers ventured down for health and economic reasons. The Flagler railroad reached the area in the 1890s. Major industries at the end of the 19th century in the area included pineapple, fishing and seafood canning and cattle. Citrus would not become a major crop until the early 1900s. The city of Fort Pierce was chartered in 1901.

Up until 1905 the area had been under Brevard County (although Brevard County had been named St. Lucie County from 1844 until 1855 when it was renamed Brevard County). During the summer of 1905, St. Lucie County was created from the southern part of Brevard County with the county seat being at Fort Pierce. Other settlements at the time in St. Lucie County's boundaries included Jensen, Eden, Anknona, Walton, Eldred, White City, Viking, St. Lucie, Oslo, Vero, Quay, Sebastian and others. In 1925, Indian River County was created out of the northern part of St. Lucie County, while Martin County was created from a small part of southeastern St. Lucie County and the northern part of Palm Beach County during that same year. Much of western St Lucie County had already gone in 1917 to form Okeechobee County.

The 1920s saw increased land speculation and planned developments such as Indrio and San Lucie that never came to fruition due to the bust in 1929. During World War II the United States Naval Amphibious Training Base was established in Fort Pierce on North and South Hutchinson Island. During its operation over 140,000 troops were processed through the base. The post-war years saw a major population boom in the area, some of which were returning sailors and their families that had undergone training at the Navy base.[3]

In 1958, the General Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Mackle Brothers, bought tens of thousands of acres of land along the St. Lucie River in the southern part of the county in order to build a new community. Colorful and clever advertising soon drew thousands of northeastern retirees and families to the area, laying the foundation for the future city of Port St. Lucie. Population and building booms in the late 20th century led to the formation of other areas west and south of Port St. Lucie including St. Lucie West and the new master planned community of Tradition. The early 21st century brought many trials for the county including two major hurricanes in 2004 and an economic and housing slump starting in 2008. In 2005, St. Lucie County celebrated its 100th birthday.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 688 square miles (1,780 km2), of which 572 square miles (1,480 km2) is land and 116 square miles (300 km2) (16.9%) is water.[4]

Adjacent counties

Transportation

Airports

Major highways

Public bus service

St. Lucie County is served by the St. Lucie Transportation Planning Organization (TPO).[5] The TPO is a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), a federally mandated and federally funded transportation policy-making organization responsible for transportation planning, programming, and financing of State and Federal Transportation Funds for St. Lucie County. The TPO is governed by a TPO Board, which is composed of elected officials, representatives from the St. Lucie County School Board, and representatives from Community Transit, a division of The Council on Aging of St. Lucie, Inc.[6] The original bus system started out as a demand response service bus in the 1990s, it only served St. Lucie County. Soon it expanded to a fixed route system, going to predetermined locations along a route. On June 3, 2002, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) approved funding, expanding the bus service to Martin County, and became the Treasure Coast Connector.[7][8]

Passenger trains

Until 1968 the Florida East Coast Railway operated Jacksonville to Miami service, with station stops in Fort Pierce and Jensen Beach. Until 1963 long distances passenger trains of the Illinois Central (City of Miami) and Louisville and Nashville (Dixie Flagler and South Wind) from Chicago and Atlantic Coast Line from New York City (East Coast Champion, the Havana Special, and the winter-only Florida Special) made stops in Fort Pierce.[9][10]

The Brightline passenger rail company is extending to the Space Coast and Orlando, north from the West Palm Beach terminus of its West Palm Beach - Miami service. Fort Pierce and nearby Stuart have been jockeying for position as the Treasure Coast station for a return of passenger service, with Stuart edging out ahead. [11]

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
19104,075
19207,88693.5%
19307,057−10.5%
194011,87168.2%
195020,18070.0%
196039,29494.7%
197050,83629.4%
198087,18271.5%
1990150,17172.3%
2000192,69528.3%
2010277,78944.2%
2020329,22618.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]
1790-1960[13] 1900-1990[14]
1990-2000[15] 2010-2019[1]

[16]

St. Lucie County racial composition
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Pop 2010[19] Pop 2020[20] % 2010 % 2020
White (NH) 170,032 176,533 61.21% 53.62%
Black or African American (NH) 51,373 64,597 18.49% 19.62%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 664 568 0.24% 0.17%
Asian (NH) 4,226 5,678 1.52% 1.72%
Pacific Islander (NH) 127 141 0.05% 0.04%
Some Other Race (NH) 845 2,470 0.3% 0.75%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 4,527 12,919 1.63% 3.92%
Hispanic or Latino 45,995 66,320 16.56% 20.14%
Total 277,789 329,226 100.00% 100.00%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 329,226 people, 118,527 households, and 81,648 families residing in the county.

As of the census[21] of 2010, there were 277,789 people, 108,523 households, and 74,963 families residing in the county. The population density was 485.7 people per square mile. There were 137,029 housing units at an average density of 239.6 per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 71.8% White, 19.1% African American, 0.4% Native American, 1.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.5% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 16.6% of the population.

According to the 2015 American Community Survey, 90.7% spoke English, 14.6% Spanish, 5.0% Other Indo-European languages, and 1.2% Asian and Pacific Island languages.[22]

According to census[23] of 2000, the largest ancestry groups in St. Lucie County were: English 34%, African 15%, Irish 14%, German 13%, Italian 10%. For every 100 females, there were 95.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.80 males.

In 2010 there were 108,523 households, out of which 26.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.0% were married couples living together, 12.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.9% were non-families. 24.2% of all non-family households were made up of individuals living alone, and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 77.7% 18 years of age and over; 23.2% from 25 to 44, 26.8% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.4 years.[22]

According to the 2010 census, the median income for a household in the county was $36,363, and the median income for a family was $41,381. Males had a median income of $30,047 versus $22,684 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,790. About 9.60% of families and 13.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.50% of those under age 18 and 7.70% of those age 65 or over.

Fauna

Six bird species in St. Lucie County are listed as "highly vulnerable" to climate change:

Politics

According to St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections website, registered voters as of September 10, 2020, totaled 217,666: Democratic 85,714, Republican 72,554, NPA 56,500, Other 2,898.[25] St. Lucie County has favored the Democratic Party in recent decades, but in 2016 and 2020, it voted for Republican Party candidate Donald Trump.

United States presidential election results for St. Lucie County, Florida[26]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 86,831 50.44% 84,137 48.87% 1,191 0.69%
2016 70,289 49.50% 66,881 47.10% 4,823 3.40%
2012 56,202 45.58% 65,869 53.42% 1,230 1.00%
2008 52,512 43.41% 67,125 55.49% 1,337 1.11%
2004 47,592 47.56% 51,835 51.80% 636 0.64%
2000 34,705 44.50% 41,560 53.29% 1,725 2.21%
1996 28,899 39.10% 36,169 48.94% 8,838 11.96%
1992 24,400 35.76% 23,876 34.99% 19,957 29.25%
1988 32,319 64.54% 17,446 34.84% 314 0.63%
1984 28,200 68.37% 13,040 31.61% 7 0.02%
1980 18,126 60.76% 10,347 34.69% 1,357 4.55%
1976 11,502 47.51% 12,386 51.16% 321 1.33%
1972 14,258 75.40% 4,593 24.29% 59 0.31%
1968 7,281 43.02% 5,232 30.92% 4,410 26.06%
1964 7,204 48.18% 7,748 51.82% 0 0.00%
1960 6,354 54.24% 5,360 45.76% 0 0.00%
1956 5,435 66.56% 2,731 33.44% 0 0.00%
1952 4,667 62.65% 2,782 37.35% 0 0.00%
1948 1,689 38.04% 1,704 38.38% 1,047 23.58%
1944 920 30.17% 2,129 69.83% 0 0.00%
1940 962 30.73% 2,169 69.27% 0 0.00%
1936 497 20.34% 1,946 79.66% 0 0.00%
1932 390 19.58% 1,602 80.42% 0 0.00%
1928 983 55.88% 741 42.13% 35 1.99%
1924 524 36.95% 722 50.92% 172 12.13%
1920 707 35.40% 1,167 58.44% 123 6.16%
1916 134 13.14% 703 68.92% 183 17.94%
1912 45 8.89% 352 69.57% 109 21.54%
1908 63 14.52% 280 64.52% 91 20.97%


Education

Schools in the county are managed by St. Lucie County Public Schools.

Libraries

St. Lucie County is served by the St. Lucie County Library System.

Points of interest

Old Fort Park
Old Fort Park

Communities

Cities

Towns

Census designated places

Unincorporated communities

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.[17][18]

References

  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ Burrows, Ted (March 30, 2022). "Local history: St. Lucie County leaders optimistic for prosperity in 1941, despite fears of wider war". TC Palm & St Lucie Historical Society. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  5. ^ "St Lucie TPO".
  6. ^ "COASL: Our Services > Transportation".
  7. ^ "Treasure Coast Connector: Routes & Maps".
  8. ^ "Treasure Coast Connector: Home".
  9. ^ "Florida East Coast Railway". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 86 (7). December 1953.
  10. ^ Bramson, Seth H. Speedway to Sunshine: the story of the Florida East Coast Railway, Boston Mills Press, 2010, p. 227. ISBN 9781554077533.
  11. ^ Durham, Pattie (July 12, 2021). "'Stuart likely location of Brightline station'". 'Treasure Coast Business,'. Retrieved October 3, 2021.
  12. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  13. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  14. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  15. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 16, 2014.
  16. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: St. Lucie County, Florida". www.census.gov. Retrieved February 25, 2019.
  17. ^ www.census.gov
  18. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  19. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 27, 2022.
  20. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 27, 2022.
  21. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  22. ^ a b Bureau, U.S. Census. "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  23. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  24. ^ Waymer, Jim (January 7, 2020). "New Audubon site shows bird decline on Treasure Coast, nationally from climate change". TCPalm. Retrieved February 15, 2020.
  25. ^ "St. Lucie County Supervisor of Elections". Retrieved September 10, 2020.
  26. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  27. ^ "FAU HBOI : Florida Atlantic University - Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute".
  28. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on August 9, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2013.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ "St. Lucie County, FL : St. Lucie County History".

Governmental

Nongovernmental

Coordinates: 27°23′N 80°26′W / 27.38°N 80.44°W / 27.38; -80.44