|Founded||January 8, 1853|
|Named for||Thomas Sumter|
|Largest community||The Villages|
|• Total||580 sq mi (1,500 km2)|
|• Land||547 sq mi (1,420 km2)|
|• Water||33 sq mi (90 km2) 5.7%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||229/sq mi (88/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Sumter County is a county located in the central portion of the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population is 93,420. It has the oldest median age (62.7 years) of any US county and the highest percentage of residents aged 65 and older—at 55.6% in 2014-2018 (in 2009–2013). Its county seat is Bushnell, and the largest community is The Villages.
Sumter County coincides with the The Villages, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Orlando-Lakeland-Deltona, FL Combined Statistical Area.
Sumter County was created in 1853. It was named for General Thomas Sumter, a general in the American Revolutionary War. The county in the past, and to this day by some, is nicknamed "Hog County" most likely because it is home to a large population of wild hogs. Hog hunting is still a favorite pastime of locals in the more rural portions of the county.
Although long extremely rural, in recent years Sumter County has sustained an exceptionally large increase in population, almost solely due to the expansion of The Villages retirement complex, a significant portion of which is in the county. This has dramatically changed the demographics of the county and has brought in significant income.
Sumter County was affected by the massive Florida tornado outbreak of February 2, 2007, and a state of emergency was declared.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 580 square miles (1,500 km2), of which 547 square miles (1,420 km2) is land and 33 square miles (85 km2) (5.7%) is water.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 53,345 people, 20,779 households, and 15,043 families residing in the county. The population density was 98 people per square mile (38/km2). There were 25,195 housing units at an average density of 46 per square mile (18/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 82.60% White, 13.78% Black or African American, 0.51% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 1.16% from other races, and 1.49% from two or more races. 6.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 20,779 households, out of which 18.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.90% were married couples living together, 8.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.60% were non-families. 23.50% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.62. According to U. S. News & World Report over half the population of Sumter County are now senior citizens.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 16.10% under the age of 18, 5.90% from 18 to 24, 23.30% from 25 to 44, 27.30% from 45 to 64, and 27.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 49 years. For every 100 females, there were 113.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 113.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $32,073, and the median income for a family was $36,999. Males had a median income of $27,346 versus $21,145 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,830. About 9.60% of families and 13.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.00% of those under age 18 and 7.70% of those age 65 or over. According to The Daily Commercial, Sumter County's unemployment rate as of March 2009 is 13.2 percent.
Federal Correctional Complex, Coleman of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is located in the county.
Most likely owing to its majority-elderly population, Sumter County has been a Republican stronghold in the 21st century.
CSX operates one rail line within the county. Amtrak formerly provided passenger rail service to Wildwood, but the stop was terminated in late 2004. Other lines have existed in the past, most notably one from Coleman southeast towards Auburndale in Polk County, part of which includes the General James A. Van Fleet State Trail in Mabel. Amtrak ran along this line until 1988. Another line ran from Croom in Hernando County to Center Hill. Today, part of it is a Forest Road in Withlacoochee State Forest north of the Sumter Rest Area on I-75. A fourth one was part of the Orange Belt Railway, which ran from Trilby in Pasco County to Sylvan Lake in Seminole County. This runs along the south side of State Road 50 east of Tarrytown.
The Sumter County Chamber of Commerce, the cities of Webster and Bushnell, the Sumter County government, businesses, community leaders, veterans’ groups, and individuals worked to have 62 miles of road in Sumter County designated by the state of Florida as a Florida Scenic Byway. On September 1, 2010, the Scenic Sumter Heritage Byway was designated a candidate for the Florida Scenic Highway Program. The Scenic Sumter Heritage Byway became the 24th highway to be designated a Florida Scenic Highway by the Florida Department of Transportation in June 2013. Points of interest along the route include the Dade Battlefield State Historic Site, the Sumter County Farmer's Market, Lake Panasoffkee, the Florida National Cemetery. On January 25, 2014, community leaders, supporters of the byway, and Assistant Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation Brian Blanchard cut the ribbon to the highway at the Dade Battlefield State Historic Site in Bushnell.
Sumter County operates Sumter County Transit, which operates three fixed-route services, as well as paratransit service.
Sumter District Schools operates district public and private schools in Sumter County.
The Villages Charter Schools is a K-12 charter school in unincorporated northern Sumter County in The Villages CDP. Children are eligible to attend the charter school if one or both of their parents work for The Villages.
Among other schools in the county is South Sumter Middle School, a junior high school for students in grades 6–8, and Lake-Sumter State College has a campus in Sumterville that serves the community.
Sumter County has five branches serving its community as well as a Lake-Sumter State College campus library that is open to the public.
The Sumter County Library Services began servicing the Wahoo, Center Hill, Linden, Croom-A-Coochee areas through the county's Library on Wheels program in 2008.
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