Fort Lauderdale Age and Diversity
More than 21% of the population is foreign-born, primarily born in Latin America. The city also has a large percentage of Haitian residents, one of the largest in the United States.
About three-quarters of the population speaks English as a first language, while others cite another language as their first language, including Spanish, French Creole, and French.
Fort Lauderdale Population Growth
Fort Lauderdale saw significant growth during the early 20th century, climbing from less than 100 residents to over 2,000 between 1900 and 1920. Growth slowed a bit but continued through the 1980s before a decline was posted at the time of the 1990 census. However, by the next ten-year census, numbers had risen again almost to reach the level of the 1980 census. Today, the population continues to grow. Current estimates show that the population increased 8% from the last poll taken in 2010, with no indications that this upward trend will stop anytime soon.
The region that is now Fort Lauderdale has been inhabited for thousands of years by the Tequesta Indians. It wasn’t until the 16th century when European explorers arrived. Unfortunately, the Europeans brought diseases which killed off many of the natives. Many of the remaining natives that survived were taken to Cuba following the signing of the Treaty of Paris.
The area wasn’t settled until the 19th century. At the time, it was known as the New River Settlement and had a population of about 70 people. Following an attack by the Seminoles, the settlers left. In 1838, a fort was built and was named Fort Lauderdale. It was abandoned just a few short years later, and the area didn’t have many settlers until then that century. When a ferry was opened to cross the New River, and a railroad route was constructed, development began.
In 1911, the city of Fort Lauderdale was incorporated. Just four years later, it was named as the county seat of Broward County. The next decade saw significant development, but a hurricane in 1926 and the Great Depression brought troubles to the city.
Fort Lauderdale’s population grew during World War II because of its Naval Air Station which was used for training. The city also established a Coast Guard base. At the end of the war, service members moved back to the area, with the population growing significantly mainly in the 1950s and 1960s. By the end of the 1960s, the city was approximately 85% developed. In the 1970s, the city was fully developed. The population at this time stopped growing before going into a decline. The community has since been on the rise again as the city aims to redevelop many areas, including its downtown.
Today, the city is a top tourist destination, attracting millions of visitors annually. Popular attractions included shopping malls, museums, nightclubs, yachting and golf courses. The city has hundreds of hotels, and it also is home to a cruise port.