Monroe County, Florida

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Monroe County, Florida
Key West, FL, Courthouse, Monroe County, North Side, 11-22-2010 (15).JPG
Monroe County Courthouse
Seal of Monroe County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Monroe County
Location in the U.S. state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
Founded July 3, 1823
Named for James Monroe
Seat Key West
Largest city Key West
 • Total 3,738 sq mi (9,681 km2)
 • Land 983 sq mi (2,546 km2)
 • Water 2,754 sq mi (7,133 km2), 73.7%
 • (2010) 73,090
 • Density 74/sq mi (29/km²)
Congressional district 26th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Monroe County is a county located in the state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 73,090.[1] Its county seat is Key West.[2] Monroe County includes the islands of the Florida Keys.

Monroe County comprises the Key West, FL Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Although 87% of the county's land area is on the mainland, that region is part of the Everglades and is virtually uninhabited. Over 99% of the county's population lives on the Florida Keys.


Monroe County was created in 1823. It was named for James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States, who served from 1817 to 1825.[3]


Monroe County Courthouse in Key West

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,738 square miles (9,680 km2), of which 983 square miles (2,550 km2) is land and 2,754 square miles (7,130 km2) (73.7%) is water.[4] It is the largest county in Florida by total area.

More than 99 percent of the Monroe County population lives in the island chain known as the Florida Keys.

Two thirds of the large area in what local residents call "mainland Monroe" is protected by virtue of being part of the Everglades National Park, and the remainder by the Big Cypress National Preserve in the northeastern interior. The area, officially named Cape Sable Census County Division, is virtually uninhabited. As of the Census of 2000, this area had 86.9 percent of the county's land area (2243.58 out of 2,582.00 km2 (997 sq mi)), but only 0.075 percent of its population (60 out of 79,589). The Census Bureau defines this area as Census Tract 9701 of Monroe County, Florida. With a population density of only 0.0267/km² (0.0693/sq mi), if it were a separate county or county-equivalent, only the Yukon-Koyukuk Census Area of central Alaska would have a lower population density out of all U.S. counties.[5] The only three populated places appearing on detailed maps and in the USGS geographic name database are Flamingo, Pinecrest (not to be confused with much larger Pinecrest of neighboring Miami-Dade County), and Trail City. Flamingo, located on the south coast and at the end of State Road 9336 (Flamingo Lodge Highway), is the location of the Flamingo Lodge and the Flamingo Ranger Station (with Visitor Center & Marina). 11 km (7 mi) northeast on the highway is the West Lake Trail (station). Pinecrest, located in the northern interior of the county (in the Big Cypress National Preserve) on Loop Road (given that name since it forms a loop with U.S. Highway 41 further north), hosts the Loop Road Education Center. Trail City is 6 km (4 mi) west of Pinecrest on Loop Road. Loop Road can be found on most maps as CR 94, although the roadway no longer has a numbered designation and is now managed by the National Park Service.

Between the south coast of Florida's mainland and the Florida Keys is Florida Bay, which is also protected by the Everglades National Park and contains numerous islets or keys.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1840 688
1850 2,645 284.4%
1860 2,913 10.1%
1870 5,657 94.2%
1880 10,940 93.4%
1890 18,786 71.7%
1900 18,006 −4.2%
1910 21,563 19.8%
1920 19,550 −9.3%
1930 13,624 −30.3%
1940 14,078 3.3%
1950 29,957 112.8%
1960 47,921 60.0%
1970 52,586 9.7%
1980 63,188 20.2%
1990 78,024 23.5%
2000 79,589 2.0%
2010 73,090 −8.2%
Est. 2014 77,136 [6] 5.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010-2013[1]

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 79,589 people, 35,086 households, and 20,384 families residing in the county. The population density was 80 people per square mile (31/km²). There were 51,617 housing units at an average density of 52 per square mile (20/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 90.65% White, 4.77% Black or African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.83% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 1.55% from other races, and 1.78% from two or more races. 15.77% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In 2005 Monroe County had a population that was 75.1% non-Hispanic white, 17.7% Latino, 5.4% African-American and 1.1% Asian.[12]

In 2000 there were 35,086 households out of which 20.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.80% were married couples living together, 7.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.90% were non-families. 28.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.20% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.73.

In the county the population was spread out with 17.10% under the age of 18, 6.30% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 30.90% from 45 to 64, and 14.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 113.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 114.80 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,283, and the median income for a family was $50,734. Males had a median income of $31,266 versus $25,709 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,102. About 6.80% of families and 10.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.80% of those under age 18 and 8.80% of those age 65 or over.


As of 2010, 77.57% spoke English as a first language, while 17.56% spoke Spanish, 0.96% spoke French Creole (mainly Haitian Creole), 0.74% spoke French, and 0.50% spoke Russian as their primary language. In total, 22.43% of the population spoke a main language other than English.[13]



Major highways

US 41 touches the northeastern corner of Monroe County.


The Florida Keys Council for the Arts is the primary cultural umbrella for the Florida Keys, and serves the population from Key Largo to Key West. A non-profit local arts agency, it makes grants, operates the Monroe County Art in Public Places program, sponsors seminars, and manages the on-line cultural calendar for the region. It also manages the County's Tourism Development Council arts marketing grants and serves as a leading advocate for cultural tourism in lower Florida. In 1998, the Florida Keys Council of the Arts was designated by the Board of Monroe County Commissioners as the area's Local Arts Agency as provided by Florida Statute 286.011. Established in 1997 as the Monroe Council of the Arts Corporation. The name was changed to the Florida Keys Council of the Arts in 2001. Today the organization is the liaison among cultural organizations, all levels of government and the private sector in encouraging and promoting the arts throughout Monroe County. The council endeavors to make the arts a part of the fabric of daily life. From its inception through fiscal year end 2006, FKCA has awarded $433,916 in privately raised funds and grants to literary, visual and performing artists and cultural organizations. Add to that sum the Cultural Umbrella event funding, the South Florida Cultural Consortium Visual & Media Artists Fellowships and The Art in Public Places commissions, and the total distributed in the Keys cultural community through FKCA’s efforts come to $2.5 million to date. The annual economic impact of the non-profit cultural community in the Keys is estimated at over $22 million. The Florida Keys Council of the Arts, a non-profit,501(c) (3) corporation in a public-private partnership with local county government since 1997 serves 76,329 local residents and three million visitors annually. A ten-member board of directors guides the council, assisted by three alternate directors, two directors Emeritus and twenty-five advisory board members.

Other notable Monroe County cultural organizations are the Key West Literary Seminar, The Studios of Key West, the Red Barn Theatre, Key West Symphony, Sculpture Key West, Fantasy Fest, the San Carlos Institute, Hemingway House and Museum, Customs House Museum, and Key West Art and Historical Society.


Presidential election results since 1960
Year Democrat Republican
2012 49.6% 19,404 49.1% 19,234
2008 51.7% 20,907 46.9% 18,933
2004 49.7% 19,654 49.2% 19,467
2000 48.6% 16,487 47.4% 16,063
1996 46.9% 15,251 37.1% 12,076
1992 36.3% 10,450 34.4% 9,898
1988 38.5% 10,157 60.3% 15,928
1984 32.2% 7,774 67.7% 16,332
1980 36.3% 7,920 53.4% 11,644
1976 56.1% 11,079 41.7% 8,232
1972 27.6% 4,469 72.2% 11,688
1968 37.1% 5,534 34.2% 5,094
1964 64.9% 8,936 34.2% 4,842
1960 67.1% 6,972 32.9% 3,416

Although Monroe County has voted for the Democratic candidate since 1992, it is a competitive county in presidential elections; it was won by the Democratic Party by margins of 5% in 2008 and 0.5% in 2004. Barack Obama was the first candidate for president to win a majority, 51.7%, of the vote since George H. W. Bush's Electoral College-landslide victory in 1988.

On July 17, 2014, a County Court judge ruled the state's ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional, ordering the county Clerk of Court to issue marriage licenses on July 22, 2014.


Monroe County School District serves the county.


  • 2005–2006: 8,328
  • 2006–2007: 8,058
  • 2007–2008: 7,836
  • 2007–2008 (actual): 8,280
  • 2010–2011: 8,320


The drop in enrollment is due to high insurance, taxes, and homes becoming too expensive for families to purchase; although the median price has dropped, the median price of a home in Monroe County remains high at $589,000 according to The enrollment has been dropping for 10 years from a peak of 10,000 students. But these predictions could be changed as insurance has been lowered and property taxes could possibly be rolled back to the 2001 or the 2003 levels.[citation needed] The enrollment in Monroe County, Florida rose by 129 for the first time in 9 years, and is expected to keep rising.[16]


The Monroe County Public Library system serves residents of the Florida Keys in five locations:


The Monroe County Public Library provides various programs and services to the Monroe County community, including job finding tools, children’s programs, and access to electronic books, journals, and magazines. In addition, the library has an extensive program that works to preserve the history of the Keys. This program provides library users with the latest findings and research in Keys history and other Florida history. The library is currently working on a project to digitize historical photographs of the Keys. These images can be accessed via Flickr.[17][18]

The Monroe County Public Library also offers services to visitors of the Keys. Annual visitors cards can be purchased for $30.00, and these cards give users full-check out privileges. The library provides access to PCs with internet and word processing capabilities. The library also provides free Wi-Fi for all.[17]


The Monroe County Public Library was South Florida’s first public library. The idea for the library formed in April 1892 when community members established the Key West Library Association.[19][20] The Key West Library Association named Judge James W. Locke as president, Mary A. Taylor as secretary, and J. Fogarty as treasurer.[21] By September 1892, the new library was established.[19][20] It was housed in the old Masonic Temple in Key West, and the reading rooms of the original library overlooked the First National Bank on Simonton Street.[21] The first librarian there was Mrs. William Delacy.[21] The original Key West library had 1,200 volumes, and it was funded by the dues and fees of its members.[21]

The Key West Library Association rescinded its charge of the library in 1896, and the library was run various civic groups for the next nineteen years.[20] In 1915, the Key West Women’s Association took charge of the library. This club would run the library for forty-four years. Through fundraising activities, this group was able save enough money to build a new library that opened in November 1959.[20] The new library was the official Monroe County Public Library, and it serves as the Key West branch of the Monroe County Public Library to this day. Today, the library in Key West is just one branch of the Monroe County Public Library. There are also branches on Big Pine Key, Marathon, Islamorada, and Key Largo[17]




Unincorporated areas

Map of Monroe County Florida.svg
a. Stock Island
b. Big Coppitt Key
c. Cudjoe Key
d. Big Pine Key
e. Duck Key
f. Tavernier
g. Key Largo
h. North Key Largo
i. Flamingo
j. Bay Point
k. Sugarloaf Shores
l. Marquesas Keys
m. Bahia Honda Key
n. Everglades

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Publications of the Florida Historical Society. Florida Historical Society. 1908. p. 33.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. United States Census Bureau
  6. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved June 15, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Monroe County QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau
  13. Modern Language Association for Monroe County, Florida, Census 2010
  14. David Leip. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved 2012-12-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. School Enrollment
  16. - Daily News Key West and the Florida Keys!
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 Monroe County Public Library, [1], 2010
  18. Florida Keys Public Library Photostream, [2], 2013
  19. 19.0 19.1 Burke, J. W. (2004). The streets of Key West: A history through street names. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press, Inc.
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Florida Department of State Division of Historical Resources, [3], 2013
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3, [4], 2013, April 13

External links

Government links/Constitutional offices

Special districts

Judicial branch

Tourism links

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