Tampa is located on the west coast of Florida near the Gulf of Mexico on Tampa Bay. Tampa's population is estimated at 350,000, up from 346,000 in 2011. Tampa is part of a large metropolitan area called the Tampa Bay Area (2.8 million population), and the city is also part of the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan statistical area. This is the fourth largest metro area in the Southeastern U.S. after Miami, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta. The Greater Tampa Bay area has more than 4.3 million people and is projected to hit 4.56 million by 2017.
The most common European ancestry groups include German (9.2%), Irish (8.4%), English (7.7%), Italian (5.6%) and French (2.4%). Tampa is home to a large gay population and culture known as the GaYbor District.
Tampa Population Growth
By 2015, the state of Florida may surpass New York as the third most populous state in the country. Two areas have become the focus of growth through 2060: the Tampa Bay area through Orlando to the Atlantic and the Tampa Bay area to Jacksonville. The new population growth in Tampa is expected to make the city younger and more urban. Tampa's growth is due not only to a higher number of births over deaths -- which has caused 30% of the increase between 2010 and 2014 -- but also high net migration, which has added 70% of the new population.
The Tampa region is currently growing at about 2% per year, outpacing the national average of 1.5% per year.
The area of Tampa was initially inhabited by indigenous people of the Safety Harbor culture, including the Tocobaga and the Pohoy. While the region was explored briefly by the Spanish at the beginning of the 16th century, it was quickly abandoned when it became clear that the only resources were fish and shellfish. The local inhabitants repelled any attempt by the Spanish to convert them to Catholicism or create a settlement, and archaeological evidence reveals a total collapse of native cultures in the region after European contact, likely from infectious disease from the Europeans. Tampa was depopulated for over 200 years.
There were no permanent European or American settlements in the city limits under after the U.S. acquired Florida from Spain in 1819. During the Civil War, Florida seceded from the Union and martial law was declared in Tampa in 1862. At the end of the war in 1865, Tampa's fort was occupied as part of Reconstruction. This was a hard period for Tampa, with a population of less than 800 in 1870. It was in the 1880s that the city took a turn for the better. Phosphate was discovered, then the railroad arrived to boost development in the region. By 1900, Tampa became one of the largest cities in the state.
Many Spanish and Cuban cigar workers moved to the city to work in cigar factories, with over 10,000 immigrants arriving in the city of 5,000 by 1900. The city then became a resort destination for celebrities. During Prohibition, several organized crime factions developed in Tampa, which remained influential through the 1950s. Tampa saw record-setting population growth during the 1950s and '60s, which has since dwindled, but the population continues to grow.