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Census shows significant population growth, greater racial and ethnic diversity in the region from Ocoee to Oakland

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Dibya Sarkar

Managing Editor

Friday, October 1, 2021


Orange County

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What a difference a decade makes.

The collective population of Oakland, Ocoee, Windermere and Winter Garden has grown to 100,805 — an increase of 34.2 percent from 10 years ago — with all four jurisdictions seeing double-digit increases within their borders, according to the online Orange County Census Data Dashboard. The population growth in these four communities has even outpaced the county’s overall growth of 24.8 percent, to 1.43 million people.

With the release of the 2020 census, the county has started the process of redistricting. Last week, a 15-member Advisory Committee for Redistricting met for the first time to begin the work of redrawing the boundaries of the six commission districts to ensure their populations are as nearly equal as practicable. The committee expects to present a new map for consideration to the Board of County Commissioners by mid-January.

Oakland, Windermere and Winter Garden and a part of Ocoee are in District 1, which saw the largest gain in population over the last 10 years. The other part of Ocoee lies in District 2.

During the committee’s second meeting Sept. 27, county staff made presentations of the census dashboard and the online redistricting tool. The dashboard visually displays 2010 and 2020 data about the county, its 13 jurisdictions and unincorporated communities (also known as census designated places). The dashboard is designed to provide insight about population and demographic changes and trends over the last 10 years and help inform committee members and residents as they draft maps.

The online mapping tool, called Maptitude, offers committee members and residents an easier way to redraw maps. Users will have to create an account with a username and password for the tool, which will allow them to create, share and/or submit maps for consideration. Pete Johnstone, the county’s senior GIS analyst who provided an overview of the online tool, said all maps created will be stored on the server and will be kept as public records. Cristina Berrios, assistant county attorney for Orange County, confirmed later in the meeting that anything that is submitted to the county is a public record.

The county’s census dashboard showed not only the population increases in the four jurisdictions that VoxPopuli covers, but also the demographic changes within those communities since the 2010 census.

For instance, each of the communities has become less white and more racially and ethnically mixed over the last decade as the numbers of those who identify as multiracial or another race have grown.

In Winter Garden, the white population now constitutes about 56.6 percent of the population, a decline from 68.8 percent in 2010, while white people in Ocoee make up just 43.2 percent of the city’s population, nearly 24 percentage points lower than 10 years ago. The last census found that Windermere was about 94 percent white, but now it’s 80 percent. Oakland’s white population stands at about 64 percent, declining only about 4 percent during that same period.

Over the last 10 years, the Black population in Ocoee increased to about 23.6 percent, about 6 percentage points higher than in 2010, while Windermere saw a modest 1 percent increase in its Black population. However, both Winter Garden and Oakland saw declines in their African-American populations over that time.

Some news reports have noted that the census response in minority neighborhoods may have been adversely affected due to Covid-19. In August, the Miami Times, a South Florida African-American newspaper, reported that the pandemic may have “made it more difficult to deliver questionnaires” to minority populations. “In neighborhoods that had a high percentage of Black residents, the share of households answering the census dropped 11%. For Latino population-heavy tracts, the drop was 15%.” But the Census Bureau may not know “how good a job it did until next year, when it releases a survey showing undercounts and overcounts,” the newspaper added.

The Hispanic population mostly saw modest increases in the communities. In Winter Garden, those who identified as Hispanic rose by just 0.4 percent, while it was just 4 percentage points in Ocoee. In both Oakland and Windermere, those who identified as Hispanic grew by about 5 percentage points over the decade. (According to the Census Bureau, “Hispanic” is considered an ethnicity and not a race so Hispanics can be of any race.)

While the Asian population in each of the four jurisdictions grew slightly, the biggest increases were among those who identified as multiracial or another race. For example, in Winter Garden, about 16.1 percent, or about 7,500 people, identified themselves as multiracial, up from just 3.6 percent, or 1,300, in 2010. There were similar increases in the other three jurisdictions.

The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 7, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Barnett Park Recreation Center located at 4801 W. Colonial Drive.

[The 2020 population for Ocoee is 47,295, a 32.9 percent increase from 2010.]

[The 2020 population for Winter Garden is 46,964, a 35.9 percent increase from 2010.]

[The 2020 population for Oakland is 3,516, a 38.5 percent increase from 2010.]

[The 2020 population for Windermere is 3,030, a 23.1 percent increase from 2010.]

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