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An Information Guide to Duck Key in the Florida Keys

























Are you thinking about moving from the Florida Keys
to a "Paved Paradise" ?

In "Big Yellow Taxi", Joni Mitchell sings

"They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
With a pink hotel, a boutique
And a swinging hot SPOT
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don't know what you’ve got
‘Til it's gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot"


Lots of people are leaving the Keys, service workers of all types, and young people too are leaving because the housing market is less expensive. Where are they headed? They are leaving the Florida Keys open space paradise and heading to other areas of South and Central Florida to what quite possibly will become a "paved paradise" where urban growth is allowed to push farther west and north to accommodate current forms of development thereby displacing wetlands and agriculture, defeating Everglades restoration, and worsening traffic congestion.

In a recent report, the Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions at Florida Atlantic University says the South Florida region is at a crossroads. Decisions made now will most likely determine whether South Florida becomes a "promised land," a "devastated wasteland," a "paved paradise" or an area of "regional cooperation". To read the entire report go to

According to the report the most likely scenario for South Florida is it will turned into a "paved paradise" by 2030. "Prosperity would have been achieved, but at a significant cost to the region's environment."

In the next 25 years, the population of the South Florida region will expand from 5.9 to 8.4 million people. The report predicts the region's Hispanic population will rise to 39 percent , the demand for water will outpace population growth, and the number of miles traveled per household will continue to rise as a result of increasing sprawl-type development.

The rise in population will place great pressure on local or state level politicians and unless the politicians show political will to hold the line on protecting agricultural and open space areas South Florida will become a paved parking paradise. A "paved paradise" can be avoided, but only through regional and local vision and leadership can the region achieve the balance between economic prosperity and protection of water resources and the environment.

Leaving the Keys - Where to go?

Seventy-six percent of Florida’s population lives in coastal counties with over 80 percent of Florida’s citizens live in urban areas.

High density urban areas exert pressure on land and water supplies, as well as social services, utilities, and transportation. All of these impact the quality of life. Broward County and the Fort Lauderdale area was quite small when compared to the Miami/Dadei area in the mid 1900’s. Broward County’s population increase from 620,000 residentsin 1970 to 1,700,057 by the year 2002. The numerical increase during that period 1970 to ,1980 was larger than that of the numerical increase of 24 separate states.

Florida' Population

Every decade since 1970 Florida's total population has recorded an increase of at least 3 million people. The 1990 population was 12.9 million. By April 2000 the population was15.9 million, which made Florida the fourth most populous state The increase for growth of the population between 1990 and 2000 was 23.2%

Changes Forecast

The rise in population will lead to the Latinization of South Florida. There will be more Hispanics and fewer non hispanic whites in South Florida by 2030.

With the

"influx of immigrants from Latin America and the Caribbean, South Florida has seen significant growth in its Hispanic community, mirroring the national trend. Hispanics accounted for a third of the region’s population in 2003, projected to rise to 39 percent by 2030. Less change is apparent in the black population, accounting for 19 percent of the region’s population in 2003 and becoming 21 percent by 2030. In sharp contrast, the non-Hispanic white population will decline from 46 percent of the region in 2003 to 37 percent by 2030, by which time Hispanics will have surpassed non-Hispanics in absolute numbers in South Florida. Within the region, Miami-Dade County will continue to have the largest Hispanic population. Currently, Hispanics account for about 60 percent of that county’s population and this is projected to increase to 70 percent by 2030. To a lesser degree, growth in the number of Hispanics will occur across all South Florida counties as well.
In Broward and St. Lucie counties, the black population is expected to remain slightly larger than the Hispanic population. Non-Hispanic whites are expected to retain the greatest proportion of the population in all but Miami- Dade County, although they will fall to less than 50 percent in Broward County.

Unauthorized immigrants

" One component of the Hispanic population is unauthorized immigrants, most of which are from Latin America. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, the State of
Florida was home to an estimated 850,000 unauthorized immigrants as of March 2004, nine percent of the U.S. total. Florida was third in the nation in absolute numbers, behind California and Texas. Unauthorized immigration has implications for the cost of education and health services, and for the job economy. Sixty-four percent of unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. are of working age An emerging trend that will affect the culture, politics, and economy of the region is the difference in racial and ethnic composition among age groups. Young South Floridians are far more diverse than older residents, especially senior citizens. This trend is expected to continue for the next 25 years. By 2030, the number of black youths will increase slightly to 28 percent of the population, while the number of Hispanic children will increase substantially to 42 percent. Non-Hispanic whites will decrease sharply to 26 percent of the population.

As Hispanic children age, the region will develop a more diverse working population (ages 18 to 64). In 2030, the working population is expected to be 31 percent white, 22 percent black, and 44 percent Hispanic. With Hispanics composing nearly half of the working-age population and blacks nearly a quarter, it will be necessary to address the educational challenges faced by minority groups in the region in order to retain a skilled workforce during the next 25 years. By contrast, the senior citizen population is and will continue to be composed largely of non- Hispanic whites, though Hispanics and blacks will gain
some share of the senior population. Within ethnic and racial groups, age distributions are changing most significantly in the white population. Youth will comprise only 15 percent by 2030, the working age population 47 percent, and the senior population 37 percent by 2030. With Hispanics dominating the youth and working-age groups, the region will likely become even more Hispanic in the years after 2030, changing the political dynamics of the region and further linking its economy to Latin America and the Caribbean.


Links to the 80 plus page report



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