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Is Hillsborough County More Rural Urban or Mixed

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By Damon Duvall
Mon, Nov 20, 2023 at 3:35AM

Yes, to all 3
Yes, to all 3

Is Hillsborough County More Rural, Urban, or Mixed? Unveiling the True Character of this Vibrant Florida Destination

Nestled on the west coast of Florida, Hillsborough County offers a unique blend of urban excitement, rural tranquility, and suburban charm. This diverse destination boasts a rich history, natural beauty, and a thriving economy, drawing residents and visitors alike to enjoy its vibrant lifestyle. But what truly sets Hillsborough County apart? Is Hillsborough County more rural, urban, or mixed?

Hillsborough County FL

In this blog post, we will unveil the true character of this Floridian gem, exploring its urban, rural, and suburban areas, quality of life, education, healthcare, and transportation options. Whether you’re considering a move or simply seeking a fresh perspective on this dynamic region, let’s take a closer look at the diverse offerings of Hillsborough County.

Key Takeaways

  • Hillsborough County offers a diverse range of lifestyle choices with urban, rural and suburban options.

  • The county has experienced steady economic growth, providing numerous job opportunities across various industries.

  • Hillsborough County provides residents with high quality education, healthcare services and a safe living environment.

Hillsborough County: A Closer Look

Known for its picturesque waterfront views, award-winning breweries, and family-friendly attractions, Florida Hillsborough County hosts more than 1.4 million people. Its diverse terrain includes urban, rural, and suburban areas, offering a range of lifestyle choices. Whether you prefer the vibrant city life in Tampa or the serenity of rural communities, Hillsborough County has something for everyone.

Beyond diverse lifestyle options, Hillsborough County boasts:

  • A rich history fused with stunning natural landscapes

  • Geographical variety, encompassing Tampa Bay, the Hillsborough River, and various keys like Fort Meade and Fort Davenporte

  • A blend of urban, rural, and suburban areas, creating a dynamic living experience for its residents.

Location and Geography

Situated on Florida’s west coast, Hillsborough County’s diverse geography encompasses urban centers, rural farmlands, and natural preserves. It hosts significant water bodies like Tampa Bay and the Hillsborough River, along with various lakes and streams. With an average elevation of 20 meters (65 feet) above sea level, its unique landscape caters to a wide range of interests and lifestyles.

The county’s diverse geography also contributes to its wide range of attractions and activities, such as:

  • ZooTampa at Lowry Park

  • The Florida Aquarium

  • The Museum of Science & Industry

  • Busch Gardens Tampa Bay

Whether you prefer the excitement of urban living or the tranquility of rural life, Hillsborough County’s unique geographical makeup ensures a fulfilling experience for all.

Population and Demographics

With a population of over 1.4 million, Hillsborough County is home to a diverse mix of residents, including various ethnicities, age groups, and income levels. In the Northwest PUMA area alone, there are 167,000 residents, with the following demographics:

  • Median age: 37.1 years

  • Median property value: $291,400

  • Primary ethnic groups: White (non-Hispanic), White (Hispanic), Two+ (Hispanic), Black or African American (non-Hispanic), and Asian (non-Hispanic)

  • 27.1% of the population born outside of the country.

Hillsborough County’s diverse population contributes to its vibrant community, creating a welcoming atmosphere for newcomers and long-time Hillsborough County residents alike. The county’s commitment to providing excellent education, healthcare, and employment opportunities ensures that all residents have access to the resources and support needed to thrive in their chosen lifestyles.

Urban Areas in Hillsborough County

Urban areas in Hillsborough County like:

  • Tampa

  • Brandon

  • Sun City

  • Apollo Beach

  • Town ‘n’ Country

  • Plant City

These cities, located within the city limits, offer a plethora of cultural, entertainment, and recreational opportunities for a large population. They provide a dynamic living environment filled with the conveniences and amenities associated with city life.

Beyond bustling city centers, Hillsborough County also encompasses a variety of unincorporated areas, including the Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area, which covers both Hillsborough and Pinellas County. This blend of urban spaces and communities provides residents with a myriad of services, attractions, and experiences, contributing to the county’s appeal for those looking for a dynamic lifestyle.

Tampa

Tampa, the largest city in Hillsborough County, is known for its:

  • Waterfront location

  • Shopping and dining options

  • Attractions such as Busch Gardens, Ybor City, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, the Tampa Riverwalk, and The Florida Aquarium

WalletHub recently ranked this city the 10th Best Large City to Start a Business. Additionally, StorageCAFE listed it in the Top 20 Cities for an Active Lifestyle and Honest Paws crowned it #1 as the Best City in the US to be a Dog.

In addition to its numerous attractions and distinctions, Tampa offers:

  • A unique blend of urban excitement and natural beauty

  • A vibrant and dynamic community in Hillsborough County

  • Access to the Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area, expanding the range of amenities and opportunities available to its residents

Tampa provides a truly exceptional living experience, even in the face of a major disaster.

Other Major Cities

Other major cities in the county, such as Brandon and Riverview, also offer a range of amenities and attractions for residents and visitors alike. Brandon, a suburban locale, is home to a variety of shopping and dining options, while Riverview boasts attractions such as Tiki Docks River Bar & Grill, Bookworm Used Books, Rappi Colombian Food, and Alafia Scrub Nature Preserve.

These additional cities in the county provide a diverse array of lifestyle options, ensuring that residents can find the perfect balance of urban excitement and suburban comforts. Whether it’s enjoying the latest blockbuster at a local movie theater, indulging in a delicious meal at a gourmet restaurant, or taking a leisurely stroll through a beautiful park, the suburban areas of Hillsborough County offer a wealth of opportunities for residents to enjoy a high quality of life.

Rural Areas in Hillsborough County

Characterized by agricultural and natural resources, Hillsborough County’s rural areas offer a tranquil lifestyle in small towns and communities. They serve as a peaceful retreat from the hustle of urban life, allowing residents to savor the charm of rural living.

The county’s rural areas are home to a diverse array of agricultural activities and natural resources, such as land, water, wildlife, and the Hillsborough River. Additionally, small towns and communities, such as Plant City, Safety Harbor, Keystone, and Lutz, provide a peaceful and close-knit atmosphere for residents to enjoy.

With its unique mix of urban, rural, and suburban areas, Hillsborough County offers a diverse range of lifestyle options, catering to a variety of preferences and needs.

Agriculture and Natural Resources

Agriculture plays a significant role in Hillsborough County’s economy, with various crops and livestock being produced in rural areas. Local farmers and ranchers are engaged in the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, and livestock. Homegrown Hillsborough is a program that promotes community nutrition, food entrepreneurship, and agricultural production. Additionally, there are U-Pick farms in the county, where residents may harvest strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries.

Beyond agriculture, the rural areas of Hillsborough County also boast a wide array of natural resources, such as:

  • land

  • water

  • wildlife

  • the Hillsborough River

These resources contribute to the county’s unique landscape and offer numerous opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation for residents and visitors alike.

Small Towns and Communities

Small towns and communities in Hillsborough County, such as Plant City and Valrico, provide a peaceful and close-knit atmosphere for residents. These communities offer a more relaxed lifestyle, with access to local amenities and attractions, as well as a strong sense of community.

Plant City, for example, is known for its historic downtown area and community events, while Valrico offers a variety of housing options and recreational opportunities for its residents. These small towns and communities offer a unique living experience that combines the benefits of rural charm with convenient access to urban amenities, making them an ideal choice for those seeking a balanced and fulfilling lifestyle in Hillsborough County.

Mixed-Use Developments and Suburban Life

Hillsborough County’s features include:

  • Mixed-use developments and suburban areas that fuse urban amenities with rural charm

  • Master-planned communities and suburban neighborhoods that cater to diverse lifestyles

  • Modern facilities and ample living space

  • Easy access to entertainment venues for a comfortable living experience.

Suburban life in the county is characterized by:

  • A blend of urban amenities and a more laid-back, residential ambiance

  • Access to parks, nature preserves, and sandy beaches

  • Shopping, dining, and entertainment venues

  • Picturesque suburbs, friendly communities, and exceptional quality of life

Residents can enjoy a densely suburban feel within a square mile, offering a range of amenities and a high quality of life.

Master-Planned Communities

Master-planned communities in Hillsborough County, such as FishHawk Ranch and Westchase, provide a range of housing options, amenities, and recreational facilities for residents. These communities offer modern, well-designed neighborhoods with access to:

  • Parks

  • Playgrounds

  • Pools

  • Clubhouses

  • Fitness centers

  • Walking trails

  • Community events

Some communities may also offer additional amenities, such as tennis courts, basketball courts, golf courses, and lakes for water activities.

Living in a master-planned community offers residents a host of benefits, including convenient access to amenities, modern facilities, and a strong sense of community. With their comprehensive vision for the development of a town, these communities create vibrant and well-crafted neighborhoods that cater to a variety of preferences and lifestyles.

Suburban Amenities and Lifestyle

Suburban areas in Hillsborough County offer a comfortable lifestyle with access to:

  • Shopping centers like Hyde Park Village, International Plaza and Bay Street, Westfield Brandon, and Sparkman Wharf

  • Dining options such as Coasis Restaurant Bar & Suites, Ulele, Columbia Restaurant - Ybor City, and Casa Santo Stefano

  • Entertainment venues

  • Quality schools

  • Healthcare facilities

Residents of suburban communities, including foreign born residents, can enjoy these amenities and more.

In addition to shopping and dining, suburban areas in the county also offer a range of recreational facilities and cultural attractions. These include:

  • Parks

  • Playgrounds

  • Sports fields

  • Dog parks

  • Cultural centers

These options provide residents with opportunities to enjoy an active and engaging lifestyle. With a focus on providing high-quality amenities and a strong sense of community, suburban life in Hillsborough County is an attractive choice for those seeking a balanced and fulfilling living experience.

Transportation and Connectivity

A well-developed transportation network facilitates connectivity in Hillsborough County, providing easy access to urban, rural, and suburban areas. The county’s public transportation includes affordable bus services from HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit) and door-to-door transportation from the Sunshine Line for certain demographics such as seniors, low-income individuals, and people with disabilities.

Road networks in the county, such as interstates and highways, ensure smooth connectivity between different areas within the county and beyond. These well-developed infrastructure systems provide residents with convenient access to a variety of lifestyle options, amenities, and attractions, making Hillsborough County an attractive destination for those seeking a vibrant and dynamic community.

Public Transportation

Public transportation in Hillsborough County includes buses, streetcars, and vanpool services, providing convenient and affordable options for residents and visitors. HART (Hillsborough Area Regional Transit) operates bus services throughout the county, with schedules varying depending on the route and day of the week. The Sunshine Line offers door-to-door transportation for those who qualify, such as seniors, low-income individuals, and people with disabilities, ensuring accessible and affordable transportation options for all residents.

The TECO Line Streetcar is a heritage streetcar transit line that operates in Tampa, Florida, managed by HART. This line covers a 2.7-mile route, running through Downtown Tampa, the Channel District, and Ybor City. The streetcar system is an integral part of HART’s public transit planning and operations, providing a unique and convenient transportation option for residents and visitors alike.

Road Networks

Road networks in Hillsborough County, such as interstates and highways, ensure smooth connectivity between different areas within the county and beyond. Major highways and interstates in the county include:

  • I-275

  • I-4

  • US Hwy. 98

  • Gulf to Bay Boulevard

  • Sumter Street/US 92

These well-maintained roads provide residents with easy access to various urban, rural, and suburban areas, as well as neighboring cities and counties.

In addition to facilitating connectivity, the road networks in Hillsborough County also contribute to the region’s economic development. Well-developed infrastructure and efficient transportation systems allow for the seamless movement of people, goods, and services throughout the county, supporting local businesses and industries. As the county continues to grow and evolve, the development of robust and efficient transportation systems remains a top priority for the local government and community stakeholders.

Economic Development and Employment Opportunities

Major industries like construction, education, and healthcare drive Hillsborough County’s economic development and employment opportunities. The county witnessed a significant 34% increase in job growth from 2010 to 2020. Future projections suggest a further 45% increase in jobs by 2050, promising abundant opportunities for employment and business growth.

With a diverse mix of industries and a thriving economy, Hillsborough County provides ample opportunities for residents to pursue fulfilling careers and contribute to the community’s overall prosperity. Some of the key industries in the county include:

  • Manufacturing

  • Defense

  • Information technology

  • Financial services

The county’s dynamic job market ensures that residents have access to a variety of employment options and support as they work towards their personal and professional goals.

Major Industries

Major industries in Hillsborough County contribute significantly to its economy and provide diverse employment options for residents. The employment opportunities in the county are divided among various sectors:

  1. Educational, health and social services - 20.2%

  2. Professional, scientific management, administrative and waste management services - 15.4%

  3. Finance, insurance, real estate and rental and leasing - 11.9%

  4. Retail trade - 11.1%

These sectors play a crucial role in the county’s economy and offer a range of job opportunities for the residents.

These industries play a crucial role in shaping the county’s economic landscape, driving job growth and providing a wide range of opportunities for residents to build successful careers. As the county continues to grow and evolve, its diverse industries will play an increasingly important role in supporting the local economy and ensuring a prosperous future for all residents.

Job Growth and Opportunities

Job growth and opportunities in Hillsborough County are expected to continue, with various sectors experiencing expansion and development. The sectors experiencing significant growth in the county include:

  • Defense and security

  • Information technology

  • Manufacturing

  • Financial and professional services

With a diverse mix of industries and a thriving economy, the county is poised to create new opportunities for employment and business growth in the coming years.

As the county’s economy continues to expand, residents can expect to see an increase in job opportunities across a variety of sectors. Some of the sectors that will see growth include:

  • Skilled trades

  • Professional services

  • Healthcare

  • Education

Hillsborough County’s dynamic job market offers a wealth of opportunities for residents seeking fulfilling careers and a high quality of life. With its diverse range of industries and commitment to economic development, the Hillsborough County Board is well-positioned to support the growth and success of its residents in the years to come.

Quality of Life in Hillsborough County

Hillsborough County’s quality of life benefits from an excellent education system, healthcare facilities, and relatively low crime rates, creating a safe and comfortable environment for residents. Through its commitment to high-quality education, healthcare, and employment opportunities, the county ensures residents access to the resources and support necessary for a thriving lifestyle.

In addition to its strong focus on education, healthcare, and employment, Hillsborough County also offers a diverse range of lifestyle options, from urban excitement to rural tranquility and suburban charm. With its unique blend of urban, rural, and suburban areas, as well as its well-developed infrastructure and thriving economy, Hillsborough County provides an attractive destination for those seeking a vibrant and dynamic community in Florida.

Education

Education in the county is provided by a range of public and private schools, as well as colleges and universities, offering quality learning opportunities for students of all ages. Some notable educational institutions in the county include:

  • Bevis Elementary

  • Grady Elementary

  • Roosevelt Elementary

  • University of South Florida

  • Hillsborough Community College

The county, under the guidance of the county commissioners, is committed to providing accessible and high-quality education for all residents.

In addition to its educational institutions, Hillsborough County also offers a range of support services and resources, such as tutoring programs, after-school activities, and career counseling, to ensure students have the tools and opportunities they need to succeed. With its focus on providing quality education and fostering a culture of lifelong learning, Hillsborough County is well-positioned to support the growth and success of its residents in the years to come.

Healthcare

Healthcare facilities in Hillsborough County include hospitals, clinics, and specialized centers, providing comprehensive care for residents. Major hospitals in the county, such as St. Joseph’s Hospital, HCA Florida Brandon Hospital, Tampa General Hospital, and Morton Plant Hospital, offer a wide range of services and ensure that residents have access to high-quality healthcare when they need it most.

In addition to hospitals and clinics, the county is also home to specialized healthcare centers, such as:

  • AdventHealth - Carrollwood

  • USF Health Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare

  • Tampa Family Health Centers

  • BayCare Medical Group

These facilities provide specialized care and services to meet the unique needs of the community, ensuring that residents have access to comprehensive healthcare options close to home.

Safety and Crime Rates

Safety and crime rates in Hillsborough County are generally lower than national averages, contributing to a secure and peaceful living environment. With a crime rate of 31.66 per 1,000 residents annually, the county is committed to maintaining a safe and secure environment for all residents.

Law enforcement agencies in Hillsborough County, such as the sheriff’s office, have adopted proactive policing, bolstered enforcement, and fostered collaboration to manage crime effectively. Additionally, the county’s focus on providing quality education, healthcare, and employment opportunities helps to address some of the root causes of crime and create a safe and supportive community for all residents.

Conclusion: The Mixed Character of Hillsborough County

In summary, Hillsborough County’s unique blend of urban, rural, and suburban areas provides various lifestyle options. Its thriving economy, high quality of life, and robust infrastructure make it an attractive location for those seeking a vibrant community in Florida.

From the bustling city of Tampa to the tranquil rural communities and charming suburban neighborhoods, Hillsborough County truly has something for everyone.

Summary

Hillsborough County, Florida, offers a unique and diverse living experience, thanks to its mix of urban, rural, and suburban areas. With a thriving economy and excellent quality of life, the county provides residents and visitors with a range of lifestyle options, attractions, and amenities. Its well-developed infrastructure and commitment to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities make it an attractive destination for those seeking a vibrant and dynamic community in the Sunshine State.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Tampa Florida rural or urban?

Tampa, Florida is an urban city with a suburban mix feel and most of its residents owning their homes.

What is the geography of Hillsborough County?

Hillsborough County, located in southern New Hampshire, is a hilly upland region drained by the Merrimack River and dotted with numerous small lakes. It has a total area of 1,266 square miles, with 1,020 square miles of land and 246 square miles of water, and contains 158.27 miles of shoreline on Tampa Bay.

What is Hillsborough County FL known for?

Hillsborough County is renowned for its expansive business opportunities, scenic natural beauty, and plethora of attractions, such as Alafia River State Park, Hillsborough River State Park, C. W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir, and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

What is the population of Hillsborough County, Florida?

Hillsborough County, Florida has a population of over 1.4 million people.

What are some notable attractions in Tampa, the largest city in Hillsborough County?

Tampa is well-known for its plethora of attractions, such as Busch Gardens, Ybor City, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, the Tampa Riverwalk, and The Florida Aquarium.


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