It’s an eternal cliché. Florida is the retirement paradise where numerous retirees spend their retirement. Sounds boring? But it is not. Because the state in the southeast of the USA not only offers sunny, warm vacation days, but also attractions for all age groups and interests.
The peninsula of the same name owes its name to its Spanish explorers who arrived there at Easter. Because Pascua Florida means Easter in Spanish.
Florida in numbers, data and facts
- Area: 170,304 km2
- Population: 20,984,400 (2017 estimated)
- Member of the United States since: March 3, 1845
- Time zone: UTC-5 EST (west of the Apalachicola River: UTC-6)
- Highest Point: Britton Hill (105 meters)
- Lowest point: Atlantic (0 meters)
- Average height: 30 meters
- Capital: Tallahassee
- Emblematic animal: Florida panther (puma)
- Flag: Red St. Andrew’s Cross on a white background with the Florida seal in the center
- State motto: In God We Trust
Geographical location and extent of the sunshine state
Florida consists of the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Panhandle as a portion of the mainland. The Florida Keys, a chain of islands connected by 42 bridges, connect to the southern end. The southernmost end of the Key West island chain is only 140 kilometers from Cuba and represents the southernmost point of the continental USA.
The Sunshine State is thus the southernmost state in the USA after Hawaii and is not too far away from the Caribbean with popular holiday destinations such as the Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti, so there are also some AIDA Caribbean cruises not only head for Havana, but also Florida.
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The southern state is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the west coast and the Gulf of Mexico to the south. Neighboring states are Georgia in the north and Alabama in the northwest. All in all, Florida is 260 kilometers wide and 800 kilometers long, making it 22nd among all states in terms of area. Almost 18 percent of the federal territory make up water bodies.
Weather and climate in Florida
The paradise for retirees can be divided into two climate zones. In the northeast there is a subtropical climate, in the center and south of the state tropical climate. As a result, Florida is often very humid, especially in summer. In addition, the sunshine state is often hit by sometimes violent hurricanes between June and November. Hurricane Katrina caused the greatest material damage to date in August 2005. The hurricane moved with wind speeds of 250 to 300 km / h over Florida, among other places. Many retirees therefore only spend the winter in Florida when the temperatures according to the climate table are around 25 ° C. Winter is considered the best season for many travelers. Snow is very rare in Florida. However, there are always floods.
In Jacksonville there, according to season for an average temperature of 26.3 ° C, where it is in July and August around 33 ° C during the day and a night temperature of 23 ° C at the warmest. The coldest month is January with daytime temperatures of 18 ° C and night temperatures of 6 ° C. Visitors enjoy most hours of sunshine in May, and most rainy days can be expected in September. The water is warmest in August at around 30 ° C.
The climate table for Key West shows an average temperature of 28.2 ° C during the day and an average night temperature of 22.1 ° C. The highest temperatures are measured at 32 ° C in July and August. The most hours of sunshine per day are from April to June. The lowest temperatures are expected in January at 24 ° C and 18 ° C, while most precipitation falls in September. In Key West, too, the water is warmest with 30 ° C in August.
In Miami, the average annual temperature is 28.6 ° C. The night temperature is 20.2 ° C. According to the climate table, maximum temperatures are reached in August. In July and August the night temperature does not drop below 25 ° C. The lowest temperatures are to be expected in January at 24 ° C during the day and 15 ° C at night. You can look forward to ten hours of sunshine in Miami from April to June, with most rainy days in August. The water temperature this month is around 31 ° C.
Orlando, the amusement paradise, has an annual average temperature of 28.1 ° C and an average nighttime temperature of 16.6 ° C. The lowest temperatures are measured at 23 ° C during the day and 11 ° C at night in December. The highest temperatures are reached in July and August (33 ° C). Most hours of sunshine can be expected in April and May (10), according to the climate table with 13, most rainy days are in June.
Limestone shapes the geological structure of the sunshine state
The Florida continental shelf is a bulge of over 700 kilometers on the North American continent. The Florida peninsula is the part of this bulge that can be seen above sea level.
The deep subsoil of this structure consists of Precambrian volcanic rocks, sedimentary rocks from the Devonian and later volcanic rocks from the Triassic and Jurassic. The defining structure is the limestone. This is predominantly very porous and contains the central groundwater reservoir in Florida, which is of great importance for the drinking water supply. However, when the sea level rises, salt water penetrates these reservoirs and makes them worthless for drinking water production. Due to the rising sea level, drainage ditches are also losing their gradient towards the sea, so that flood areas can often no longer be drained.
The state on the east coast is the third most populous state in the United States after California and Texas. In 2013, 78.1% of residents were white, 16.7% African-American, 2.7% Asian-American, 0.5% American Indian, and 0.1% Shark Waiian and / or Pacific Islander. 23.6% of the population said they were Hispanics or Latinos. In addition to Snow Belt retirees, the Hispanics also make up most of the immigrants.
Florida was a state that was heavily influenced by the Democrats until the 1950s and in which the Republicans had a difficult time against the Democratic majority. Due to the influx of many people from the northeast who vote Republican, among other things, the Republicans are now on the rise in Florida. Florida is now considered an important swing state between Republicans and Democrats in presidential elections. The southern tip of Florida is a particularly contested area in elections.
The majority of the Floridians are Protestant. Among other things, there are many Methodist churches in Florida. However, the proportion of Catholics in the Sunshine State is increasing, primarily due to the immigration of Cubans from the Dominican Republic and other Latin American countries. The Jews also make up a relatively large proportion of the religious population at 4 percent.
There are few large cities in central Florida. Most of the people live on the coast.
The 10 largest cities in Florida
- Jacksonville (821,784)
- Miami (399,457)
- Tampa (335,709)
- Saint Petersburg (244,769)
- Orlando (238,300)
- Hialeah (224,669)
- Tallahassee (181,376)
- Fort Lauderdale (165,521)
- Port St. Lucie (164,603)
- Pembroke Pines (154,750)
Figures according to the 2010 Census.