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Highlands County Florida   Located in Central Florida

Highlands County Cities

Alpine Cornwell Kuhlman Sebring
Archbold De Soto City Lake Placid Sebring Shores
Avon Park Fort Basinger Lakemont Sebring Southgate
Avon Park Lakes Fort Kissimmee Lorida Spring Lake
Bairs Den Hen Scratch Marland Sunvale
Bear Hollow Hicoria Meadow Lane Venus
Brighton Highland Lakes Old Venus Wild Island
Childs Highland Park Estates Parker Island
Childs Station Istokpoga Shores Plains

Land area (rank): 1,029 square miles (15)
Population 1993 (rank): 73,203 (35)
Population density 1993 (rank): 71 persons per square mile (39)
Growth 1980-1990 (rank): 44.0% (22)

Physical Characteristics

Highlands County is northwest of Lake Okeechobee and is bordered by Okeechobee, De Soto, Glades, Hardee, and Polk counties. The county has 78 square miles of water. The average January temperature is 63.2 degrees F, and the average August temperature is 81.8 degrees F. The average annual rainfall is 52.22 inches.


Highlands County was established from a portion of De Soto County in 1921 and named for its rolling countryside.


In 1993, three-quarters of Highlands County's population was in unincorporated areas. The incorporated place with the greatest population (8,959 in 1993) is Sebring, site of the famous sports car race. The next most populous incorporated place is Avon Park, which had a 1993 population of 8,169. The unincorporated areas of Placid Lakes and Sylvan Shores continued to develop during the 1980s. In 1993, 89% of Highlands County's population was white and 11% was nonwhite. In 1990, 5.1% of the population was Hispanic. Of the population increase between 1980 and 1990, 100.0% was due to net migration. In 1992 the birth rate was 11.9 live births per 1,000 persons, and the 1992 death rate was 14.8 deaths per 1,000 persons. In 1992 the infant mortality rate was 15.1 per 1,000. In 1993 the leading causes of death were heart disease, cancer, and chronic obstructive lung disease.


Of all 1992 high school graduates, 77.9% planned to continue their education. The 1992 high school dropout rate was 6.4%. In 1990, 68.2% of persons in the county were high school graduates, and 10.9% had completed four or more years of college. Colleges and univesities. South Florida Community College, Avon Park.


The per capita income in Highlands County for 1993 was $16,477 (30th highest in the state). The median household income in 1989 was $21,146. In 1989, 11.3% of families had incomes below the poverty level. In 1990, 26.6% of personal income in Highlands County was derived from transfer payments. In 1992 the greatest numbers of persons in Highlands County were employed in the retail trade, services, and government sectors. In the retail trade sector, eating and drinking establishments and food stores employed the greatest numbers of persons. In the services sector the greatest numbers of persons were employed by medical and other health services, and by social services. In 1992 there were 652 farms in Highlands County, totalling 483,835 acres (73% of land in the county). Highlands County is one of the leading citrus producers in the state and is also a major producer of cattle. In 1991, 4,263 thousand board feet of softwood logs and 1,794 cords of softwood for pulp were produced.

Median value of a single-family home 1990: $58,500
Median monthly rent 1990: $282
Mobile homes as a % of total housing: 27.6
Housing starts 1992: 708
Housing starts 1993: 653

In 1992 the price level index for Highlands County was 94.06 (36th highest in the state).

Local Government

In 1993, the ad valorem millage rate was 8.5000, and the total taxable value of land was $2,148,265,140. Taxable sales totalled $516.80 million in 1992 and $513.70 million in 1993. Lottery sales totalled $9,971 thousand in 1992-93. In 1990-91 Highlands County's revenues totalled $37,726 thousand ($534.3 per capita) and its expenditures $36,455 thousand ($516.3 per capita). Of those 18 years of age and older, 65.6% were registered to vote in 1992. Of these, 51.4% were registered Democrat and 43.9% were registered Republican. In the 1992 presidential election 44.8% of the votes were cast for Bush, 34.7% for Clinton, and 20.4% for Perot.

Events and Places of Interest

Sebring Auto Race, March; Ft. Basinger, south of Basinger; Florida Medal of Honor Park, Sebring.

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