LIVING IN CENTRAL FLORIDA
Please note that this website is Subject to USCIS Approval.Central Florida is the third largest region in the state of Florida, aka, the Sunshine State. Also known as “Greater Orlando”, Central Florida encompasses the counties surrounding Orlando, including Seminole, Orange, Lake, Brevard, Osceola, Polk, Volusia, Sumter, and Flagler. Orlando attracts approximately 50 million tourists a year making it the most visited city in the world in 2010. Orlando International Airport is the 13th busiest airport
in the United States, and the 29th busiest in the world.
Central Florida is best known for Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, Universal Orlando, as well as other major attractions that include Gatorland, Daytona International Speedway, Kennedy Space Center, Wet ‘n Wild Water Park and the newly opened LegoLand Florida. Central Florida is also culturally rich with the Orlando Museum of Art, the Orange County Regional History Center, and the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre – to name a few. There are countless natural attractions in the area as well, including the Wekiwa Springs State Park, Blue Spring State Park, Rock Springs Run State Reserve, Canaveral National Seashore, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and the St. John’s River. These attractions only underscore the natural beauty of the region.
Central Florida is mostly flatlands with significant amounts of open space and over 1,500 lakes and ponds. There is a mixture of wetlands, Cypress forests, pastures, and coastline. Major rivers include the St. Johns River, the Ocklawaha River, the Halifax River, and the Econlockhatchee River. Major lakes include Lake Apopka, Lake Tohopekaliga, East Lake Tohopekaliga, Lake Louisa, Lake Monroe, Lake Jessup, and the Lakes. There are over 100 miles (160 km) of coastline in Central Florida along the Atlantic Coast. Major beaches include Canaveral National Seashore, New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach, Cocoa Beach, Florida, and Indialantic Beach near Melbourne, FL.
ClimateHurricanes are a threat to the coastal cities as evident by the 2004 hurricane season, which brought three major hurricanes to the Central Florida area; Charley, Jeanne, and Frances.
Winters are dry and temperate with the average winter high temperature in Orlando being 72 °F (22 °C). Summers are hot and humid with high temperatures averaging 92 °F (33 °C). Peak summer heat generally arrives in early June and continues to early October.
The combination of high temperatures, high humidity, and opposing sea breezes from both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts, results in significant thunderstorm activity from July to September for the interior counties. Central Florida records more lightning strikes per area than any other region in Florida, and Florida records more lightning strikes than any other state in the USA. As a result, Florida, and more specifically, Central Florida, is often referred to as the “Thunderstorm capital of the USA”.
These severe thunderstorms often make Central Florida prone to many tornadoes. However, they are usually small, short lived, and almost always rated as EF0 or EF1 size storms.
PopulationIn 2010, the estimated total population of the Central Florida region was 3.6 million people. This includes the populations of Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Brevard, Volusia, and Lake Counties. If the populations of Polk, Flagler, and Sumter counties were included, the estimated population would be 4 million people. Explosive growth has fueled Central Florida for the past thirty years, and continues to do so.
EconomyTourism is a large contributor to Central Florida’s economy. However, the area has economically diversified in the past decade. As a high-tech industrial hub, Metro Orlando has the seventh largest research park in the U.S., Central Florida Research Park, the engineering and business school of the University of Central Florida. It has defense companies such as Lockheed Martin and Siemens.
Medical research is conducted in Orlando’s Lake Nona area with the University of Central Florida medical school, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute biomedical research facility and a new Veterans Administration hospital. These facilities, along with several research support companies, have lead this research cluster to be referred to as Medical City.