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Hillsborough County, Florida
Courthouse & Confederate Memorial-Hillsborough County, Florida.jpg
Hillsborough County Courthouse
Seal of Hillsborough County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Hillsborough County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the U.S. highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
Founded 25 January 1834
Seat Tampa
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,266.22 sq mi (3,279 km²)
1,050.91 sq mi (2,722 km²)
215.31 sq mi (558 km²), 17.00%
 - (2010)
 - Density

1,170/sq mi (451.6/km²)

Hillsborough County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida. The 2010 population was 1,229,226. Its county seat is Tampa, Florida.[1] Hillsborough County is the largest county in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area and the fourth most populous in Florida.

History[edit | edit source]

see also History of Tampa, Florida

Hillsborough County was created on January 25, 1834 from Alachua and Monroe counties. [1] It was named for Wills Hill, the Earl of Hillsborough and British Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1768-1772. The county's original boundaries in 1834 included the present-day counties of Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota.[2] The last significant change in Hillsborough County's borders was the separation of its western section to create Pinellas County in 1911.

Geography[edit | edit source]

On the Alafia River near Lithia Springs Park

An Alligator Alafia River State Park

Hurrah Lake on the Alafia River

Sandhill Crane at Hillsborough River State Park

On the Hillsborough River near Lettuce Lake Park

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 1,266.22 square miles (3,279.5 km2), of which 1,050.91 square miles (2,721.8 km2) (or 83.00%) is land and 215.31 square miles (557.7 km2) (or 17.00%) is water.[3] There is approximately 158.27 miles (254.71 km) of shoreline on Tampa Bay.

The county's unincorporated area approximately 888 square miles (2,300 km2), or more than 84 percent of the total land area. Municipalities account for 163 square miles (420 km2). The modern boundaries of the county place it midway along the west coast of Florida.

A narrow strip of Hillsborough County extends to the west to the Gulf of Mexico roughly along the Tampa Port Shipping Channel. This has the effect of keeping Hillsborough County from being landlocked. The central portion of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is in Hillsborough County as is Egmont Key at the entrance to Tampa Bay. This narrow strip of land effectively separates Pinellas County from Manatee County.

Hillsborough is home to Alafia River State Park and Hillsborough River State Parks, as well as the C. W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir.

Adjacent counties[edit | edit source]

Demographics[edit | edit source]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1840 452
1850 2,377 425.9%
1860 2,981 25.4%
1870 3,216 7.9%
1880 5,814 80.8%
1890 14,941 157.0%
1900 36,013 141.0%
1910 78,374 117.6%
1920 88,257 12.6%
1930 153,519 73.9%
1940 180,148 17.3%
1950 249,894 38.7%
1960 397,788 59.2%
1970 490,265 23.2%
1980 646,960 32.0%
1990 834,054 28.9%
2000 998,948 19.8%
2010 1,229,226 23.1%

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 998,948 people, 391,357 households, and 255,164 families residing in the county. The population density was 951 people per square mile (367/km²). There were 425,962 housing units at an average density of 405 per square mile (156/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 75.17% White, 14.96% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 2.20% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 4.66% from other races, and a 2.56% from two or more races. 17.99% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The county is the thirty-second most populous county in the nation.

There were 391,357 households out of which 31.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.70% were married couples living together, 13.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.80% were non-families. 26.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.07.

The age distribution was as follows: 25.30% were under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 31.70% from 25 to 44, 21.70% from 45 to 64, and 12.00% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $40,663, and the median income for a family was $48,223. Males had a median income of $34,111 versus $26,962 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,812. About 9.10% of families and 12.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.20% of those under age 18 and 10.00% of those age 65 or over.

Level of Education
Level Hillsborough Co. Florida U.S.

College/Associate Degree 29.0% 28.8% 27.4%
Bachelor's Degree 16.7% 14.3% 15.5%
Master's or Ph. D. 8.4% 8.1% 8.9%
Total 54.1% 51.2% 51.8%

Source: U.S. Census[5]

Politics and government[edit | edit source]

Hillsborough County has voted for the Republican candidate in most presidential elections for the past four decades. However, In 2008, Barack Obama won the county by seven points, the first Democrat to capture the county since Bill Clinton's reelection victory in 1996.[6]

Presidential Election Results 1960-2008
Year Democrat Republican
2008 53.05% 272,963 45.94% 236,355
2004 46.23% 214,132 53.01% 245,576
2000 47.06% 169,576 50.17% 180,794
1996 46.80% 144,266 44.33% 136,656
1992 37.13% 115,282 42.07% 130,643
1988 39.49% 99,014 59.89% 150,151
1984 35.31% 86,230 64.67% 157,926
1980 42.99% 88,271 51.71% 106,160
1976 54.01% 94,589 44.82% 78,504
1972 29.71% 45,305 70.13% 106,956
1968 32.24% 45,848 34.77% 49,441
1964 58.48% 71,289 41.52% 50,616
1960 56.01% 62,240 43.99% 48,887

A Home Rule Charter for Hillsborough County was approved by voters in a county-wide referendum held in September 1983, and the first County Commissioners elected under this new charter took office on May 28, 1985.

The Home Rule Charter divides the power of county government between legislative and executive branches. The Board of County Commissioners, which composes the legislative branch, sets overall policy by means of ordinances, resolutions and motions.

The executive powers of county government are vested in the County Administrator, appointed by County Commissioners and charged by the charter to faithfully implement the powers of the Board. The charter provides for a County Attorney, to be hired by the County Administrator with the advice and consent of the County Commissioners. The charter contains a provision for a Charter Review Board appointed by County Commissioners every five years to conduct a study of county government and propose amendments to the charter. These amendments must be presented to voters for approval.One amendment was approved in November 2002, adding the position of County Internal Performance Auditor to the government structure. This position reports directly to the County Commission.

There are seven members of the Board of County Commissioners for Hillsborough County. Four are elected from single-member districts, and three are elected county wide. The Board approves the County's operating and capital budgets and the County's capital improvement program. It may take action on any programs for the improvement of the county and the welfare of its residents.

Under a Charter Ordinance that went into effect May 1985, County Commissioners are directed to perform legislative functions of government by developing policy for the management of Hillsborough County. The County Administrator, a professional appointed by the Board, and the administrative staff are responsible for the implementation of these policies.

The Board also serves as the Environmental Protection Commission. Individual Board members serve on various other boards, authorities, and commissions such as the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, Tampa Bay Water, Aviation Authority, Expressway Authority, Sports Authority, Port Authority, Arts Council of Hillsborough County, Children's Board, Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Council of Governments.

Hillsborough County charges a discretionary sales tax of 1% on top of Florida's 6%. It is only collected on the first $5000 of any large purchase.

Municipalities[edit | edit source]

Incorporated[edit | edit source]

County subdivisions in Hillsborough County. Incorporated cities in bold; unincorporated CDPs in small font.

Hillsborough County has only three incorporated places, all which are chartered as cities under Florida law:

  1. City of Plant City
  2. City of Tampa
  3. City of Temple Terrace

Unincorporated CDPs[edit | edit source]

Despite its large population, most of the area of the county is unincorporated, and falls directly under the county government's jurisdiction. Many, but not all, are Census-designated places. With no city government, residents of these areas must petition the appropriate member of the County Commissioners[7] to address the quality of local services.

Unincorporated Communities not Census Designated Places[edit | edit source]

Education[edit | edit source]

Hillsborough County Public Schools operates public schools in the county. Hillsborough County has the eighth largest school district in the United States consisting of 206 schools (133 elementary schools, 42 middle schools, 2 K-8 schools, 25 high schools and 4 career centers; 73 additional schools including charter, ESE, etc.).[8] Twelve out of Hillsborough County's 25 high schools are ranked in Newsweek's list of America's Best High Schools.[9]

School enrollment[edit | edit source]

  • 1997-1998-149,658 3,151 increase
  • 1998-1999-152,809 3,437 increase
  • 1999-2000-156,246 4,500 increase
  • 2000-2001-160,746 5,315 increase
  • 2001-2002-166,061 5,261 increase
  • 2002-2003-171,322 6,235 increase
  • 2003-2004-177,557 7,113 increase
  • 2004-2005-184,670 7,113 increase
  • 2005-2006-190,835 6,165 increase
  • 2006-2007-191,151 316 increase
  • 2007-2008-191,219 68 increase (projected)

source Tampa Tribune

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue[edit | edit source]

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue services unincorporated areas of Hillsborough County. Fire service began in the 1950s as an all volunteer force consisting of about a dozen loosely associated community based organizations. The first fulltime career firefighters were hired in 1973. The department now has 893 career uniformed and support personnel which continue to set the pace in Fire and Emergency Medical Response. Since the 1997 merge of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and EMS, the department has placed paramedics on each career, front-line apparatus: 25 Rescues, 39 Engines, 4 Ladders and 2 Special Operations Units. As nearly 85% of the department's more than 80,000 emergency responses require some level medical care, having paramedics assigned to each unit assures that the citizens of Hillsborough County are receiving rapid Advanced Life Support care.

Fire Rescue and the Board of County Commissioners has implemented a plan to continue placing new fire rescue stations in areas where growth is occurring or gaps in coverage may exist. Fire Chief Bill Nesmith leads an executive/command staff of two Assistant Chiefs who direct the Operations and Administrative branches. The Personnel and Rescue Division Chiefs, as well as the Fire Marshal, also report directly to the Fire Chief. All fiscal functions, facilities maintenance and supply, and apparatus / equipment procurement & repair are under the direction of the Administrative Assistant Chief. The three Shift Commanders, as well as the training Chief and the Special Operations Chief, report directly to the Operations Assistant Chief. The Ops Chief is responsible for the overall response readiness of all front line personnel.[10]

Law enforcement[edit | edit source]

Several law enforcement agencies operate within Hillsborough County, Florida. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is headquartered in the Ybor City District of Tampa and is responsible for Law Enforcement services in the unincorporated areas of the county as well as operation of two jail facilities and courthouse security for the 13th Judicial Circuit. Each of the three incorporated places has its own police agency (Tampa Police Department, Plant City Police Department, and the Temple Terrace Police Department respectively). Tampa International Airport and the University of South Florida also have police departments.

Hillsborough County Emergency Management[edit | edit source]

The Emergency Management Department is directly responsible for planning and coordinating the evacuation and sheltering of all county residents in the event of a natural or manmade disaster. This agency is also responsible for planning, orchestrating and coordinating response actions and continuity of government in the aftermath of a major disaster.[11] Larry Gispert has been the department's director since 1993[12] and is the 2007-2008 President of the International Association of Emergency Managers.[13]

The Hurricane Evacuation Assessment Tool (HEAT)[14] has been created to assist residents of Hillsborough County by providing evacuation and sheltering information in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster. This interactive program was designed to assist the public in easily determining if they are in one of the five evacuation zones. It also provides information on shelters, hospitals, fire stations and sandbag locations.[15]

The Emergency Management Department also provides information to the public on the following: Hurricane Information, Procedures for Hazardous Materials Spill, Flooding Preparedness, Tornado Preparedness, Wildfire Preparedness, Terrorism Preparedness,and Terrorist Threat Levels.[16]

Transportation infrastructure[edit | edit source]

Major interstates and other highways[edit | edit source]

Air[edit | edit source]

The county's primary commercial aviation airport is Tampa International Airport in Tampa. Other important airports include the Tampa Executive Airport near Brandon and Peter O. Knight Airport near Downtown Tampa.

National protected area[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:

The Sunshine Skyway (I-275), which connects Pinellas to Manatee counties. The middle span is in Hillsborough County.

Government links[edit | edit source]

Special districts[edit | edit source]

Judicial branch[edit | edit source]

Hillsborough County Cooperative Extension[edit | edit source]

Tourism links[edit | edit source]


Coordinates: 27°55′N 82°21′W / 27.91, -82.35

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Hillsborough County, Florida. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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