JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Florida has grown by 232,111 people in the past year, bringing the state's population to 19.5 million, according to U.S. Census Bureau estimates released Thursday.
The Villages, home to one of the nation's largest retirement communities, grew by 5.2 percent in one year, topping the Census list of fastest-growing metro areas. Sumter County, which is home to The Villages, also was one of the nation's fastest-growing counties.
The Cape Coral-Fort Myers area was the second fastest growing metro area in Florida and the 10th fastest in the country.
St. Johns County grew 3.2 percent last year -- nearly four times the growth rate of the United States.
The Jacksonville metropolitan area added 16,584 residents between April 2012 and April 2013 -- a growth rate of 1.2 percent -- the same rate as the growth of Florida last year.
"Yea stuff's popping up everywhere around town, there's more to do more restaurants to go eat at, it's really starting to pop up everywhere," said Jacksonville resident, Paige Allen.
The Census Bureau says South Florida area, made up of Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach, was the nation's eighth most populous metropolitan area with 5.8 million residents, placing it one spot above Atlanta and two above Boston.
"So you're essentially growing from all three drivers and it's I would characterize it as it's certainly faster growth than the US overall and it's it's keeping pace with uh with Florida," said Chief of Population Distribution, Marc Perry.
MORE ONLINE: Florida 'QuickFacts' from the U.S. Census Department
Nationally, some Great Plains communities filled six of the top 10 spots for growth due to the energy boom. Many of the other rapid growth communities were along the Gulf Coast
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