The Tampa Bay region has continued to be one of the fastest growing regions in the United States. Thousands of people per year, and thousands of new home starts continue to fuel the local economy and local population growth. The recent explosion in population has placed the Tampa metro area as the second largest in the state. Tampa now has over 3 million people in its metro area, which includes Pinellas and southern Pasco County. Tampa still lags far behind Miami, which has over 6 million people in its metro area.
According to Axios, Tampa Bay is leading the charge for Florida's population growth. Florida was named the fastest growing state in the United States for 2022 and could hold that title again at the end of 2023. Florida has grown by 3% since 2020. The entire Tampa region has seen this growth. There is noticeable population growth in counties as far north as Sumter County as well as in inland counties like Polk County.
Here is a comparison of Florida metropolitan areas by population:
- Miami Metropolitan Area: The Miami metropolitan area, also known as the Greater Miami Area, Greater Miami, the South Florida metropolitan area, or the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach metropolitan area, is the largest metropolitan area in Florida and the seventh-largest metropolitan area in the United States. As of 2020, it has a population of approximately 6.1 million people.
- Tampa Bay Area: The Tampa Bay Area, also known as the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, is the second-largest metropolitan area in Florida. It includes the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Clearwater. As of 2020, it has a population of approximately 3.1 million people.
- Orlando Metropolitan Area: The Orlando Metropolitan Area, also known as the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, Florida, Metropolitan Statistical Area, is the third-largest metropolitan area in Florida. It includes the cities of Orlando, Kissimmee, and Sanford. As of 2020, it has a population of approximately 2.6 million people.
- Jacksonville Metropolitan Area: The Jacksonville Metropolitan Area, also known as the Jacksonville, Florida, Metropolitan Statistical Area, is the fourth-largest metropolitan area in Florida. It includes the city of Jacksonville and its surrounding areas. As of 2020, it has a population of approximately 1.5 million people.
- North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton Metropolitan Area: The North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton Metropolitan Area is the fifth-largest metropolitan area in Florida. It includes the cities of North Port, Sarasota, and Bradenton. As of 2020, it has a population of approximately 836,995 people.
Please note that these population figures are estimates, and the actual population may vary. For the most accurate and up-to-date information, please refer to the U.S. Census Bureau or other reliable sources.
The next census will not take place until 2030, and by then, the Tampa area is expected to be even larger. Pinellas County is already the most densely populated county in the state, and the area is only expected to get more crowded. The persistent population growth has raised questions about congestion, affordable housing, climate change mitigation projects, the lack of green space, and economic sustainability.
Given the current numbers, it is unlikely that Tampa will fall back to third place and be overtaken by Orlando in the near future.