The Punta Gorda Metropolitan Statistical Area, which encompasses all of Charlotte County, is ranked the fifth-largest area for population growth, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. 

Business Insider, which analyzed Census Bureau population estimates for 384 metropolitan statistical areas, recently released data on the 10 areas experiencing the most growth in population. Charlotte County showed a 4% increase from July 1, 2021, to July 1, 2022. During that one-year period, the Punta Gorda Metropolitan Statistical Area went from a population of 194,934 to 202,661. 

“These are exciting times. This is our opportunity to showcase how wonderful Charlotte County is,” said Danny Nix Jr., president of Realtors of Punta Gorda-Port Charlotte-North Port-DeSoto Inc. 

He said the business impact will be substantial after national businesses start to see more residents. Demographic shifts, such as population growth, are known to attract national chains. The growth also helps local businesses, Nix added. 

Cape Coral also experienced a 4% increase in population, growing to 822,453 and ranking just ahead of the Punta Gorda Metropolitan Statistical Area at No. 4. 

Florida grabbed seven of the top 10 spots. The Villages came in at No. 1, with a 7.5% increase in population. As of July 1, 2022, there were 144,970 who called the community home. 

Lakeland was ranked third with a population that rose by 4.3% to 787,404. 

North Port, which has been considered one of Florida’s fastest-growing cities, came in at No. 6, but its metropolitan statistical area also encompasses the Sarasota-Bradenton area. Its population was up 3.4% at 891,411. 

Coming in at No. 8 was Port St. Lucie with a population of 520,710, reflecting a 3.2% increase for the one-year period. Panama City was No. 9, as its population increased by 3.1% to 185,134. 

The other three areas in the top ten were No. 2 Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; St. George, Utah (No. 7); and Spartanburg, South Carolina (No. 10).