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Hardee County Florida   Located in South West Florida

Hardee County Cities

Bowling Green Ft Green Springs Limestone Sweetwater
Bridges Gardner Moffitt Torrey
Buchanan Griffins Corner North Wauchula Vandolah
Coker Kinsey Oak Grove Wauchula
Crewsville Lemon Grove Ona Zolfo Springs
Ft Green Lily South Wauchula

Land area (rank): 673 square miles (40)
Population 1993 (rank): 22,035 (50)
Population density 1993 (rank): 35 persons per square mile (48)
Growth 1980-1990 (rank): -4.2% (67)

Physical Characteristics

Hardee County is east of Bradenton and south of Lakeland-Winter Haven. The county is bordered by Polk, Manatee, De Soto, and Highlands counties. The county has 1 square mile of water. The average January temperature is 63.0 degrees F, and the average August temperature is 82.3 degrees F. The average annual rainfall is 58.07 inches.


Hardee County was established in 1921 from a portion of De Soto county and named for Cary Augustus Hardee, who was governor the year the county was formed. Wauchula was the site of a military post built during the Seminole Wars.


In 1993, 70% of Hardee County's population was in unincorporated areas. Wauchula is the county's largest incorporated place, with a 1993 population of 3,496, followed by Bowling Green (1,861 persons in 1993) and Zolfo Springs (1,249 persons in 1993). In 1993, 92% of Hardee County's population was white and 8% was nonwhite. In 1990, 23.4% of the population was Hispanic. Nearly all the Hispanics in Hardee County are Mexicans or of Mexican descent who originally came as agricultural laborers. The population of Hardee County decreased between 1980 and 1990 as a result of negative net migration ( more people left than entered the county). The 1992 birth rate was 21.8 live births per 1,000 persons, and the 1992 death rate was 9.2 deaths per 1,000 persons. In 1992 the infant mortality rate was 2.3 per 1,000. The leading causes of death in 1993 were heart disease, cancer, and chronic obstructive lung disease.


Of all 1992 high school graduates, 72.7% planned to continue their education. The 1992 high school dropout rate was 4.7%. In 1990, 54.8% of persons in the county were high school graduates, and 8.6% had completed four or more years of college. Colleges and universities. Served by South Florida Junior College (Highlands County).


The per capita income in 1993 in Hardee County was $16,195 (31st highest in the state). The median household income in 1989 was $22,065. In 1989, 16.6% of families had incomes below the poverty level. In 1990, 18.4% of personal income in Hardee County was derived from transfer payments. In 1992 the greatest numbers of persons in Hardee County were employed in the agricultural, government, and retail trade sectors. In 1992 there were 1,169 farms in Hardee County, totalling 327,611 acres (80% of land in the county). Wauchula has been referred to as the cucumber capital of the world. Other leading crops are citrus, eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes. Cattle are also raised in the county. In 1991, 17,840 cords of softwood for pulp and 924 cords of hardwood for pulp were produced. The greatest numbers of persons in the retail trade sector were employed by food stores and eating and drinking establishments.

Median value of a single-family home 1990: $40,300
Median monthly rent 1990: $257
Mobile homes as a % of total housing: 31.6
Housing starts 1992: 56
Housing starts 1993: 52

In 1992 the price level index for Hardee County was 91.30 (59th highest in the state).

Local Government

In 1993, the ad valorem millage rate was 10.000, and the total assessed value of property was $607,471,049. Taxable sales totalled $100.50 million in 1992 and $93.60 million in 1993. Lottery sales totalled $1,967 thousand in 1992-93. In 1990-91 Hardee County's revenues totalled $25,836 thousand ($1,304.0 per capita) and its expenditures $20,496 thousand ($1,034.5 per capita). Of those 18 years of age and older, 55.0% were registered to vote in 1992. Of these, 84.6% were registered Democrat and 13.8% were registered Republican. In the 1992 presidential election 45.1% of the votes were cast for Bush, 31.4% for Clinton, and 23.3% for Perot.

Places of Interest

Payne's Creek Massacre-Fort Chokonikla Site, vicinity of Bowling Green.

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