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Okaloosa County Florida   Located in North West Florida

Okaloosa County Cities

Auburn Destin Laurel Hill Postil
Baker Dorcus Longwood Rock Creek
Beaver Creek Eglin Village Mary Esther Seminole
Blackman Escambia Farms Milligan Shalimar

Fort Walton Beach Niceville Silver Springs
Cannon Town Galliver Nubbin Ridge Svea
Cinco Bayou Garden City Oak Grove Valparaiso
Clear Springs Good Hope Ocean City Wright
Cotton Bridge Holt Okaloo Wynnehaven
Crestview Kellys Mill Peaden Wynnehaven Beach
Deerland Killingsworth Crossroads Pineway

Land area (rank): 936 square miles (20)
Population 1993 (rank): 154,512 (23)
Population density 1993 (rank): 165 persons per square mile (27)
Growth 1980-1990 (rank): 30.8% (31)

Physical Characteristics

Okaloosa County is in northwest Florida and is bordered on the north by Alabama, on the south by the Gulf of Mexico, on the east by Walton County, and on the west by Santa Rosa County. The county has 60 square miles of water. The average January temperature is 51.4 degrees F, and the average August temperature is 80.3 degrees F. The average annual rainfall is 63.70 inches.


Okaloosa County was established in 1915 from portions of Santa Rosa and Walton counties. Okaloosa is possibly derived from Choctaw aka meaning ÒwaterÓ and lusa meaning "black." The combination of these two words may refer to the Blackwater River in Okaloosa County.


In 1993, 57% of Okaloosa County's population was in unincorporated areas. The bulk of the population is along the coast. Eglin Air Force Base encompasses 350,000 acres, over half the county. Among incorporated areas, Ft. Walton Beach had the greatest population in 1993 (21,921), followed by Crestview (11,567) and Niceville (11,150). The resort area of Destin has grown rapidly in the 1980s and 90s and had a 1993 population of 8,644. The unincorporated areas of Wright and Lake Lorraine also grew rapidly in the 1970s and 80s. Wright had a 1980 population of 13,011 and a 1970 population of less than 1,000. Lake Lorraine had a 1980 population of 5,427 and a 1970 population of less than 1,000. The U.S. Bureau of the Census has designated Okaloosa County as the Ft. Walton Beach Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 1993, 87% of Okaloosa County's population was white and 13% was nonwhite. In 1990, 3.1% of the population was Hispanic. Of the population increase between 1980 and 1990, 55.5% was due to net migration. The 1992 birth rate was 17.3 live births per 1,000 persons, and the 1992 death rate was 6.8 deaths per 1,000 persons. In 1992 the infant mortality rate was 10.1 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, 70.8% planned to continue their education. The 1992 high school dropout rate was 2.4%. In 1990, 83.8% of persons in the county were high school graduates, and 20.1% had completed four or more years of college. Colleges and universities. Okaloosa-Walton Community College, Niceville; Troy State University-Fl. Region, Hurlbert Field.


The per capita income in Okaloosa County for 1993 was $18,141 (25th highest in the state). The median household income in 1989 was $27,941. In 1989, 7.8% of families had incomes below the poverty level . In 1990, 21.8% of personal income in Okaloosa County was derived from transfer payments. The major employer in the government sector is Eglin Air Force Base. In the services sector the leading employers were medical and other health services and business services. Electrical equipment and supply producers accounted for the most employment in the manufacturing sector. In 1992 there were 315 farms in Okaloosa County, totalling 56,704 acres (9% of land in the county). Okaloosa County is a major producer of poultry. In 1991, 28,554 thousand board feet of softwood logs and 59,595 cords of softwood for pulp were produced. In 1991, 1,151,234 pounds of fish and 169,716 pounds of shellfish were landed in Okaloosa County.

Median value of a single-family home 1990: $70,600
Median monthly rent 1990: $342
Mobile homes as a % of total housing: 9.7
Housing starts 1992: 1,636
Housing starts 1993: 1,725

In 1992 the price level index for Okaloosa County was 93.49 (40th highest in the state).

Local Government

In 1993, the ad valorem millage rate was 5.500, and the total assessed value of property was $3,666,194,318. Taxable sales totalled $1291.30 million in 1992 and $1431.30 million in 1993. Lottery sales totalled $24,281 thousand in 1992-93. In 1990-91 Okaloosa County's revenues totalled $184,481 thousand ($1,262.8 per capita) and its expenditures $110,668 thousand (757.5 per capita). Of those 18 years of age and older, 69.3% were registered to vote in 1992. Of these, 42.8% were registered Democrat and 50.1% were registered Republican. In the 1992 presidential election 53.1% of the votes were cast for Bush, 27.0% for Perot, and 19.5% for Clinton.

Events and Places of Interest

Billy Bowlegs Festival, Ft. Walton Beach, June; Boggy Bayou Mullet Festival, Valparaiso, October; Indian Temple Mound Museum, Ft. Walton Beach; U.S. Air Force Armament Museum, Valparaiso.

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