2020 U.S. Census data shows significant shift in Fort Myers population growth
The 2020 Census report finds that the population of Fort Myers has increased by more than 38% since 2010. This sets in motion the need for city-wide redistricting that reassesses fair distribution of the population across the city’s six wards.
The data shows that Fort Myers' composition has changed drastically too, with a significant bump in diversity.
A population increase of this size is highly likely to result in city commission districts with unequal populations. That necessitates the redrawing of districts to distribute resources and maintain compliance with the United States Constitution and the Voting Rights Act.
Liz Bello-Matthews, Public Information Office for the City of Fort Myers, says that the Hispanic and Latino population grew by 64 percent, making it the second-largest group in the city. And the number of residents who identify as two or more races increased by five times over the last 10 years.
So, how will this data impact the next decade in Fort Myers? Bello-Matthews says they’re already seeing a shift in the city’s culture.
“We are already hearing more languages being spoken in the community," said Bello-Matthews. "There are interesting and exciting food venues opening throughout the city, and it also solidifies that the City of Fort Myers is an ideal home for residents who have grown up here and for those that are seeking a new place to live that can also afford them opportunities: good schools, a reliable housing market, history, charm and safety.”
Bello-Matthews adds that exponential growth of the southeastern ward of the city in particular may have generated the need to redraw ward boundary lines.
“Ward 6 is a very attractive area and a lot of people have moved there," said Bello-Matthews. "We saw population growth by 128 percent. Perhaps many would say that this is what prompted the redistricting process.”
Fort Myers residents are encouraged to be part of the redistricting process. Starting December 2, the city will begin hosting redistricting public meetings. The first meeting will take public comment and review the five proposed maps selected by the city council. Residents can create and propose additional maps and get a full list of meeting dates by visiting the city’s redistricting website at CityofFortMyers.com.
How to Participate
Email - submit your questions or map suggestions to the email: email@example.com
Public Meetings - Attend one of the many public meetings listed below:
- December 2, 2021 - Ward 2 - Riverside Community Center 6:00pm - Ward 2 Community Meeting
- December 7, 2021 - Ward 1 Enterprise Center 6:00pm
- December 9, 2021 - Ward 3 STARS Complex 6:00pm
- December 13, 2021 - Virtual Public Meeting - 2:00pm
- December 14, 2021 - Ward 4 Fire Station 11 6:00pm
- December 15, 2021 - Ward 5 Alliance for the Arts 6:00pm
- December 16, 2021 - Ward 6 Fire Station 15 (Treeline) 6:00pm
- December 17, 2021 - Virtual Public Meeting - 11:00am
Additionally, you can contact your local elected Council Offices: Contact your councilperson's office
The Public Process of Redistricting
Redistricting is a public process. The final ward boundaries are selected by a majority vote of the city council at a public hearing that has been advertised and publicly noticed according to state law.
- A series of public meetings began with a city council work session on November 17th at the Southwest Florida Enterprise Center at 2:00pm to review map scenarios to bring forward as candidate maps.
- Map options will then be presented to the public at meetings at various public facilities to obtain comments and suggestions.
- A second city council work session will be held on January 3rd, 2022, to discuss public comments and review for a final selection of the updated ward boundaries.
- January 17th City Council Meeting – Permission to advertise for a public hearing to select a final map option.
- February 7th City Council Meeting public hearing to adopt new ward map.
Once adopted the final new ward map will be sent to the local supervisor of elections office to begin the voter precinct updates for the 2022 elections.
This final set of candidate maps have been selected by the city council. The proposed maps will also be presented at various public meetings to obtain public input and answer questions about the process.
A web map has been created. You can zoom into any area and see the street names and property lines. Click on the layer button, and you will see a list of all the candidate maps.
City of Fort Myers 2020 Census Results by Ward
The City of Fort Myers increased nearly 39% in total population from 2010 to the 2020 Census. This population growth was not uniform. Each Ward grew at a different rate and demographic changes over the decade make redistricting more challenging.
- Ward 1: 12.8%
- Ward 2: 31.88%
- Ward 3: 24.02%
- Ward 4: 20.29%
- Ward 5: 10.51%
- Ward 6: 128.49%
- Citywide Growth: 38.70%
The city also changed demographically over the last decade. Some demographic groups experienced significant increases, while others declined.