Land area (rank): 902 square miles (22)
Population 1993 (rank): 190,655 (19)
Population density 1993 (rank): 211 persons per square mile (20)
Growth 1980-1990 (rank): 20.0% (50)
Alachua County is in northeast Florida and is bordered by Columbia, Union, Bradford, Putnam, Marion, Levy, and Gilchrist counties. The county has 68 square miles of water. The average January temperature is 51.1 degrees F, and the average August temperature is 81.1 degrees F. The average annual rainfall is 49.90 inches.
Alachua County was established in 1824 from a portion of St. Johns County and named for a Spanish ranch existing in the vicinity in 1680. Two derivations have been proposed for the name: La ("the" in Spanish) and Chua ("sink" in Seminole) and Luchuwa ("jug" in Seminole). The name is thought to refer to a large chasm 2.5 miles southeast of Gainesville.
Much of Alachua County's population is in Gainesville and the surrounding area. Several smaller cities and towns exist in Alachua County, all with populations under 10,000. Of these communities, Alachua, High Springs, and Newberry had the greatest populations in 1993. The U.S. Bureau of the Census has designated Alachua County along with Bradford County as the Gainesville Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 1993, 78% of Alachua County's population was white and 22% was nonwhite. In 1990, 3.7% of the population was Hispanic. Of the population increase between 1980 and 1990, 50.0% was due to net migration. The 1992 birth rate for the county was 13.7 live births per 1,000 persons, and the 1992 death rate was 6.6 deaths per 1,000 persons. In 1992 the infant mortality rate was 10.9 per 1,000. The leading causes of death in 1993 were cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
Of all 1992 high school graduates, 81.1% planned to continue their education. The 1992 high school dropout rate for the county was 4.6%. In 1990, 82.7% of persons in the county were high school graduates, and 34.7% had completed four or more years of college. Colleges and universities: University of Florida, Gainesville; Santa Fe Community College, Gainesville.
The per capita income in Alachua County for 1993 was $18,375 (21st highest in state). The median household income in 1989 was $22,084. In 1989, 14.4% of families had incomes below the poverty level. In 1990, 16.9% of personal income in Alachua County was derived from transfer payments. The greatest numbers of persons in Alachua County are employed in the government, services, and retail trade sectors. The University of Florida is the primary government employer in the county. In 1992 there were 1,089 farms in Alachua County, totalling 191,140 acres (33% of total county land area). Over half the farmland is devoted to livestock and poultry. Hay, corn, vegetables, and soybeans are the major crops. In 1991 Alachua County produced 46,902 thousand board feet of softwood logs and 5,403 cords of hardwood for pulp.
Median value of single-family home 1990: $66,000
Median monthly rent 1990: $316
Mobile homes as a % of total housing 1990: 13.3
Housing starts (1992): 1,664
Housing starts (1993): 1,043
In 1992 the price level index for Alachua County was 94.54 (32nd highest in the state.)
Alachua county is a charter county. In 1993, the ad valorem millage rate was 9.2500, and the total taxable value of property was $3,633,420,494. Taxable sales totalled $1,547.10 million in 1992 and $1685.50 million in 1993. Lottery sales totalled $22,922 thousand in 1992-93. In 1990-91 Alachua County's revenues totalled $123,279 thousand ($670.8 per capita) and its expenditures $126,932 thousand ($690.7 per capita). Of those 18 years of age and older, 61.8% were registered to vote in 1992. Of these, 61.6% registered Democrat and 29.3% registered Republican. In the 1992 presidential election, 49.6% of the votes were cast for Clinton, 29.9% for Bush, and 20.0% for Perot.
William Bartram Day, Gainesville, April; Gatornationals, Gainesville, March; Zucchini Festival, Windsor, May; Florida Museum of Natural History, Northeast Gainesville Residential District, Gainesville ; Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historical Site, Hawthorne; Micanopy Historic District.