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Brevard County
Historic Brevard County Courthouse in Titusville.
Historic Brevard County Courthouse in Titusville.
Flag of Brevard County
Flag
Official seal of Brevard County
Seal
Official logo of Brevard County
Logo
Map of Florida highlighting Brevard County
Location within the U.S. state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Florida
Founded March 14, 1844
Named for Theodorus W. Brevard
Seat Titusville
Largest city Palm Bay
Area
 • Total 1,557 sq mi (4,030 km2)
 • Land 1,016 sq mi (2,630 km2)
 • Water 541 sq mi (1,400 km2)  34.8%
Population
 • Estimate 
(2020)
606,392
 • Density 597/sq mi (231/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 8th

Brevard County is located in the east central portion of the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2020, the population was 606,392, making it the 10th most populated county in Florida. The official county seat has been located in Titusville since 1894. Brevard County comprises the Palm BayMelbourne–Titusville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located along the east Florida coast and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean.

With an economy strongly influenced by the John F. Kennedy Space Center, Brevard County is also known as the Space Coast. As such, it was designated with the telephone area code 321, as in "3, 2, 1 liftoff". The county is named after Theodore Washington Brevard, an early Florida settler and state comptroller.

A secondary center of county administrative offices was built beginning in 1989 in Viera, Florida, a master planned community in an unincorporated area. The county offices were developed to serve the more populous southern part of the long county.

History

The history of Brevard County can be traced to the prehistory of native cultures living in the area from pre-Columbian times to the present age. The geographic boundaries of the county have changed significantly since its founding. The county is named for Judge Theodore W. Brevard, an early setter, and state comptroller.

Geography

In federal maps printed before 2012, nearly half of Brevard was prone to flooding. Most of this was in the relatively undeveloped low-lying areas, west of Interstate 95, on the banks of the St. Johns River. About 18,900 homes out of 164,000 single-family homes were in that area.

Features

Monument US 1 Brevard Volusia county line
The Brevard-Volusia county line

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,557 square miles (4,030 km2), of which 1,016 square miles (2,630 km2) is land and 541 square miles (1,400 km2) (34.8%) is water. Most of the water is the Atlantic Ocean, the St. Johns River and the Indian River Lagoon. The county is larger in area than the nation of Samoa and nearly the same size, and population, as Cape Verde. It is one-third the size of the state of Rhode Island.

Located halfway between Jacksonville and Miami, Brevard County extends 72 miles (116 km) from north to south, and averages 26.5 miles (42.6 km) wide. Marshes in the western part of this county are the source of the St. Johns River. Emphasizing its position as halfway down Florida is the presence of two roads that are halfway down Florida's numbering system, State Road 50 and State Road 500.

The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway along the eastern edge of Brevard County is the major waterway route in Brevard County. It includes the Indian River. Additional waterways include Lake Washington, Lake Poinsett, Lake Winder, Sawgrass Lake, the St. Johns River, and the Banana River. Dredging for the Intracoastal created 41 spoil islands in the Brevard portion of the Indian River.

Brevard County is the sole county in the Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area (formerly the Melbourne-Titusville-Cocoa, Florida Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area and Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area).

There is no major urban center. The county is unofficially divided into three sections: North County, comprising Titusville, Mims and Port St. John; Central Brevard, which includes Cocoa, Rockledge, Merritt Island, and Cocoa Beach; and South County, which includes Melbourne, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and the South Beaches. The South Beaches is a term that measures direction south from the dividing line of Patrick Air Force Base, and includes South Patrick Shores, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, Indialantic, and Melbourne Beach.

The county government has historically labeled the beach areas differently. The North Reach includes 9.4 miles (15.1 km) in Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. The Patrick Air Force Base beach is 4.1 miles (6.6 km). The Mid Reach includes the 7.6 miles (12.2 km) in Satellite Beach. The South Reach includes the 3.8 miles (6.1 km) in Indialantic and Melbourne Beach. The South Beaches include 14.5 miles (23.3 km) south of Melbourne Beach to Sebastian.

The United States Board on Geographic Names is considering two proposals to officially name the barrier island extending from Port Canaveral to Sebastian Inlet. The 45-mile-long (72 km) island includes the city of Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Indialantic, Melbourne Beach, Patrick Air Force Base, and Satellite Beach. The American Indian Association of Florida submitted in October 2011 a proposal to name the island after the Ais people. The United Third Bridge and the Florida Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne submitted in January 2012 a proposal to name the island after Juan Ponce de León. The Board of Geographic Names usually takes at least eight months to decide on a new name for a geographical feature.

There are 16 municipalities. The largest by population is Palm Bay, the smallest Melbourne Village.

The county has eight canals for transportation and drainage:

  • Canaveral Barge Canal, Courtenay – transportation
  • Faulk Canal, Cocoa
  • Grand Canal, Tropic
  • Haulover Canal, Mims – transportation
  • Melbourne Tillman Canal, Melbourne West – drainage
  • Old Canal, Wilson
  • C-1 (Canal 1), which is maintained by the Melbourne-Tillman Water Control District
  • C-54 Canal – on the south Brevard County Line – drainage
  • L-15 Canal – Crane Creek Drainage District which has a watershed of about 12,000 acres (4,900 ha).

Geology

The soil contains high levels of phosphorus.

Climate

The county has a Köppen climate classification of Cf with a year-round distribution of rainfall. This means a humid subtropical climate with hot, humid summers. There are distinct wet and dry seasons. The dry lasts from December through May, the wet from June through November. During the dry season, periods of drought often occur, and can lead to a persistent and high wild land fire threat. In numerous instances these fires have caused property damage. In one case several fires in 2008 forced the evacuation of Bayside Highschool In the town of Palm Bay. In this particular event 162 homes were damaged.

January is the coldest month, with an average low of 50.7 °F (10.4 °C) and an average high 71 °F (22 °C). The warmest months are July and August with average highs of 90 °F (32 °C) and average lows of 72.2. The driest month is April with 1.6 inches (4.1 cm) of rainfall; the wettest is September, with 6.6 inches (17 cm).

Offshore ocean temperatures have averaged: January – 64 °F (18 °C), February – 62 °F (17 °C), March – 67 °F (19 °C) and April – 72 °F (22 °C).

Florida is a large subtropical state that experiences hurricanes. Although Brevard county is located along Florida's eastern peninsula, it is less frequently impacted by direct hurricane landfalls than portions of the Panhandle or South Florida. There are two predominant reasons for this. First, westward moving tropical systems often reach an atmospheric ridge weakness in the Bermuda High by the time they approach Florida at a latitude as northerly as Brevard County. Combined with frontal systems that exit the United States' East Coast, many of these tropical systems are steered northwest and eventually curve northward offshore along Florida's East Central Coast. A second reason is that hurricanes landfalling along the Florida peninsula Gulf Coast often weaken to a tropical storm by the time they move northeast to affect Brevard County (with some exceptions, such as 2004's Charley). No major hurricane, defined as category 3 or higher, has ever struck Brevard since 1850, the beginning of recorded climate.

Although Brevardians may refer to past storms as "hurricanes", by the time they strike there, some of them may have subsided to tropical storms or depressions. Because of the threat of storm surge, the beach community on the barrier island is often required to evacuate well in advance of the storm. The possibility of storm surge is diminished when the storm comes across the state instead of from the Atlantic.

Tornado-like eddies spinning off from even small storms can result in severe damage in small areas. Generally, summertime tornadoes are brief, are at the EF0 or EF1 level, and may not actually touch down. During the dry season, they can attain a force of EF2 and touch the ground for miles. While tornadoes in the Midwest are more severe, a higher rate of deaths are experienced in Florida, and Brevard County, specifically, due to higher population density and quantity of manufactured homes.

Five hurricanes have directly affected Brevard since 1950: David (September 3, 1979); Erin (August 2, 1995) – made landfall near Sebastian Inlet and caused mostly minor wind damage and more extensive flooding countywide; Charley (August 13, 2004) – caused damage in Titusville and North Brevard; Frances (September 3, 2004) – struck neighboring Vero Beach in Indian River County directly and caused widespread wind damage throughout Brevard; and Jeanne (September 26, 2004) – struck Vero Beach directly, following very nearly the same path as Frances. The latter two storms caused widespread damage in South Brevard, and resulted in $2.8 billion in claim payments. Slightly more than half of one percent (0.6%) of houses were lost.

The following storms did not affect Brevard County with hurricane-force winds: Floyd (September 15, 1999), and Irene (October 16, 1999).

Tropical Storm Fay dropped a record rainfall of 27.65 inches (70.2 cm) in 2008.

The winter of 2009–2010 was the coldest on record since 1937 when records were first kept.

Environment

Eel scrub
Pine flatwoods and sand pine scrub

Brevard County works together with the federal and state government to control pollution and preserve wetlands and coastal areas through lands dedicated to conservation and wildlife protection.

There are 250 square miles (650 km2) of federally protected wildlife refuges. These lands include Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, the Canaveral National Seashore, the St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge, the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, several conservation areas managed by the St. Johns River Water Management District, Brevard County's Environmentally Endangered Lands Program Sanctuaries, and lands dedicated by the State as conservation areas.

Adjacent counties

Fauna

There are 4,000 species of animals locally. Common mammals include North American river otters, bobcats, white-tailed deer, raccoons, marsh rabbits, and opossum. Feral pigs, introduced by Europeans, present an occasional traffic hazard. Lovebug season occurs twice annually in May and August–September. Motorists, usually, encounter swarms of these while driving during a four-week period. Deer flies are particularly noticeable from April through June. There were 596 manatees in Brevard County in 2009, out of a total of 3,802 in the state. This is a decline from 2007 when there was a total of 859 out of a state total of 2,817. Bottlenose dolphin are commonly seen in the intercoastal waterway. The poisonous brown recluse spider is not native to the area but has found the environment congenial. The Florida Butterfly Monitoring Network has counted species of butterflies monthly for a year since 2007. In 2010, it counted 45 species. Included are zebra swallowtail butterflies. Fish and reptiles include alligators, red snapper, sea turtles, scrub lizards, and rat snakes. There are an estimated 3,500 gopher tortoises in the county. They are on the endangered list.

North Atlantic right whales give birth near the coast of Brevard, among other places, from November 15 to April 15. They are rare, a protected species.

Avian

Turkey vultures, a migrating species, are protected by federal law. They migrate north in the summer and return in September.

The county's most common winter bird is the lesser scaup, a diving duck. In 2008, half a million were counted. In 2010, 15,000 were estimated. Local bird counts indicate that there are at least 163 species of birds in the county. Other birds include the red-shouldered hawk, the loggerhead shrike, the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, Cooper's hawks, pileated woodpeckers, Savannah sparrows, rails (which also includes coots), Florida scrub jays (an endangered species), wood storks, grackles, great horned owls, northern mockingbirds, brown thrashers, catbirds, green-winged teals, greater yellowlegs, western sandpipers, least sandpipers, dowitchers, and American white pelicans. Peak migration in the fall is from the last week in September through the first week in October. Fall migration tends to be stronger than spring because birds typically take different flyways.

Flora

Live oak trees, various grasses, and juniper plants were sufficiently common to generate pollen noticeable by some people in February, 2011. Native trees include cabbage palm (the state tree of Florida), fringetree, coral bean, sweet acacia, geiger tree, firebush, beautyberry, coral honeysuckle, and blanket flower. Native plants include sea grape, red mulberry, purslane, dandelion, Spanish bayonet, blackberry, Jerusalem artichoke, dogwood, and gallberry.

On the east coast of the state, mangroves have normally dominated the coast from Cocoa Beach southward. Northward these may compete with salt marshes moving in from the north, depending on the annual weather conditions.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 246
1870 1,216 394.3%
1880 1,478 21.5%
1890 3,401 130.1%
1900 5,158 51.7%
1910 4,717 −8.5%
1920 8,505 80.3%
1930 13,283 56.2%
1940 16,142 21.5%
1950 23,653 46.5%
1960 111,435 371.1%
1970 230,006 106.4%
1980 272,959 18.7%
1990 398,978 46.2%
2000 476,320 19.4%
2010 543,376 14.1%
2019 (est.) 601,942 10.8%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2015 2018

The 2019 US Census estimates Brevard's population at 601,942 residents with a median household income of $56,775.

According to the 2000 census, the county had about 80,000 veterans. 21% of the population older than 18 is a veteran. This had dropped to 74,000 in 2010. This was 21% of the people in the county. An actual count by a local agency in 2010 indicated that 225 of veterans were homeless. In 2007, a local census by volunteers counted 1,899 homeless residents.

In the 1950s, the county population was just under 24,000. In 1960, it was just over 111,000. In 1969, at the height of the space program, it was 234,000.

In 2015, interracial marriage constituted 29% of all marriages, the fourth highest in the nation, which averaged 17%.

Census

U.S. Census Bureau 2010 Ethnic/Race Demographics:

  • White (non-Hispanic) : 77.6% 17.3% English, 15.7% Irish, 12.8% German, 8.7% Italian, 4.0% French, 3.6% Polish, 2.5% Scottish, 2.2% Scotch-Irish, 1.9% Dutch, 1.2% Swedish, 1.0% French Canadian, 0.9% Norwegian, 0.8% Russian, 0.7% Hungarian, 0.7% Welsh, 0.5% Greek.
  • White Hispanic : 5.4% with at least 0.5% Portuguese.
  • Black (non-Hispanic) (10.1% when including Black Hispanics): 9.7% (2.2% West Indian/Afro-Caribbean American [1.0% Jamaican, 0.6% Haitian, 0.1% Trinidadian and Tobagonian, 0.1% Other or Unspecified West Indian, 0.1% British West Indian, 0.1% Bahamian,] 0.6% Subsaharan African)
  • Hispanic or Latino of any race: 8.1% (3.2% Puerto Rican, 1.3% Mexican, 0.9% Cuban)
  • Asian: 2.1% (0.5% Indian, 0.5% Filipino, 0.3% Chinese, 0.3% Other Asian, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.1% Korean, 0.1% Japanese)
  • Two or more races: 2.6%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native: 0.4%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.1%
  • Other Races: 1.7% (0.5% Arab)

In 2010, 8.3% of the population considered themselves to be of only "American" ancestry (regardless of race or ethnicity.)

There were 229,692 households, out of which 23.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.28% were married couples living together, 11.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.40% were non-families. 28.44% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.53% (4.00% male and 8.53% female) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.84.

The population was distributed by age with 19.8% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 21.5% from 25 to 44, 30.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45.5 years. For every 100 females there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males. In 2010, the oldest person in the county was a 110-year-old Titusville man.

The median income for a household in the county was $49,523, and the median income for a family was $60,842. Males had a median income of $48,191 versus $33,276 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,606. About 7.2% of families and 10.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.4% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those aged 65 or over.

In 2010, 8.6% of the county's population was foreign born, with 59.4% being naturalized American citizens. Of foreign-born residents, 49.1% were born in Latin America, 22.9% were born in Europe, 18.3% born in Asia, 6.4% in North America, 2.4% born in Africa, and 0.9% were born in Oceania.

In 2010, 90% of residents had a high school degree, compared with 85% statewide. In 2009, 25.7% of residents had an undergraduate degree, below the national average of 27.7%, but the same as the rest of Florida. 14.7% of residents over 25 had undergraduate degrees in engineering. This is almost twice the national average.

From 2007 through 2010, the population was essentially static.

In 2012, the Urban Institute ranked the Brevard metro fourth in the country for racial equality. Criteria were integration of neighborhoods, income, and the quality of schools minorities attend. The area was ranked first for Hispanic equality with whites.

Languages

As of 2010, 90.20% of all residents spoke English as their first language, while 5.29% spoke Spanish, 0.62% German, 0.61% French, and 0.47% French Creole (mostly Haitian Creole) as their mother language. In total, 9.80% of the population spoke languages other than English as their primary language.

Religion

In 2010, Evangelical Protestants numbered 79,893; mainline Protestants 30,877; Catholics 64,831; Unaffiliated 353,946.

In 2000, the following were counted by denomination:

  • Protestants 95,202
    • Evangelical Protestant 59,301
    • Mainline Protestant 35,901
  • Catholics 79,847
  • Orthodox Christians 2,804
  • Other 8,663
  • Unclaimed 289,714

Metropolitan Statistical Area

The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated Brevard County as the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area. The United States Census Bureau ranked the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area as the 98th most populous metropolitan statistical area and the 96th most populous primary statistical area of the United States as of July 1, 2012.

Elections

Brevard County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year Republican Democratic
2016 57.2% 181,821 37.6% 119,634
2012 55.6% 159,300 42.9% 122,993
2008 54.5% 157,589 44.2% 127,620
2004 57.7% 153,068 41.6% 110,309
2000 52.8% 115,253 44.6% 97,341
1996 45.1% 88,022 41.2% 80,445
1992 43.2% 84,585 31.2% 61,091
1988 70.3% 104,854 28.8% 43,004
1984 73.5% 102,477 26.5% 36,985
1980 60.1% 69,460 33.7% 39,007
1976 48.1% 44,470 50.3% 46,421
1972 78.7% 62,773 21.1% 16,854
1968 48.0% 37,124 23.6% 18,281
1964 50.3% 24,833 49.7% 24,551
1960 61.4% 17,585 38.6% 11,069

Voter Registration

According to the Secretary of State's office, Republicans are a plurality of registered voters in Brevard County.

Brevard County Voter Registration & Party Enrollment as of September 30, 2015
Political Party Total Voters Percentage
Republican 159,637 41.27%
Democratic 125,710 32.50%
Independent 87,061 22.50%
Third Parties 14,449 3.74%
Total 386,857 100%

Libraries

In 1895, the first library in Brevard County was established in Cocoa as a community effort undertaken by the women of Cocoa. In 1959, after five total libraries had been established in Brevard County, Florida Statute 150 was put into effect and gave these libraries public funding on the grounds that they would service all residents in Brevard County. In the 1960s, the number of libraries in the county would grow to 9. Further funding was secured for the Brevard County Library System in 1972 through a public vote establishing a Library Tax District. As the area's population grew, the number of libraries in the county would nearly double in the following 50 years of growth. The Brevard County Library System today has 17 branches. Although the Merritt Island Public Library is counted as part of the Brevard County Public Library System, it is actually a special library district. In 2005, HB1079 was passed to codify all the special acts that the Merritt Island Public Library District exists under.

Arts and culture

The Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts, seating 2000, features locally produced and former Broadway shows, ballet, and symphony. Several different performances are scheduled each week.

The Brevard Symphony Orchestra and the Space Coast Ballet offer shows performed by professionals. There is the professional Space Coast Symphony Orchestra. Community orchestras and bands include, but are not limited to, the Melbourne Community Orchestra, the Space Coast Pops and the Community Band of Brevard. Choral groups include the Brevard Community Chorus, the Indialantic Chamber Singers, and the Brevard Youth Chorus.

The Brevard Zoo is a 75 acres (30 ha) facility that contains more than 650 animals representing more than 165 species from Florida, South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. The Zoo offers animal experiences including giraffe and lorikeet feedings, African kayak tours, paddle boats in the wetlands and a train ride.

Ballet

The Space Coast Ballet incorporates professional principal dancers and instructors together with many roles for local senior talent as well as roles for students. They annually stage The Nutcracker.

Museums and attractions

The Space Coast has a number of museums from the rocket exhibitions at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and the Air Force Space & Missile Museum, to local museums and others of unique character, such as the American Police Hall of Fame & Museum.

The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers an educational look at the accomplishments of America's space program. The Observation Gantry near Launch Complex 39 offers a view of the Space Shuttle launch pads (first built for the Apollo missions), the Vehicle Assembly Building, and the crawlerway over which rockets are taken to the pad. The Apollo/Saturn V Center displays an example of the largest rocket ever launched.

The US Space Walk of Fame in Titusville commemorates the manned space program's history with museum and monuments.

The Brevard Museum of History & Natural Science features the remains of the "Windover Man", the oldest human remains found on the North American continent, and a re-creation of the Windover Dig, a "wet" archaeological site. A visitor may see how Native Americans lived and Florida pioneers survived.

Honor America runs the Liberty Bell Memorial Museum. This houses a replica of the Liberty Bell, historical documents, and patriotic memorabilia. Items are permanent reminders of our nation's history, as well as a memorial to military veterans.

The Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park and Cultural Center features a museum with artifacts and time line of the civil rights movement and the story of Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore, civil rights leaders who were killed when their home was bombed.

Other

During the December holiday season, each of four yacht club parades during the evening in the Indian River/Banana River with holiday lighting on each boat.

Communities

Cities

Towns

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Economy

The county Domestic Product was $14.5 billion in 2009 and increased to $24.6 million in 2019. In 2010 and 2011, the Brookings Institution reported that Brevard ranked in the bottom fifth of the nation's top metro areas, based on unemployment, gross metropolitan product, housing prices and foreclosed properties. Foreclosures reached a monthly high of 963 in March 2009. The county reached an annual high foreclosure in 2009 of 9,772. In December 2010, Forbes magazine rated the area the worst place in America to find a job.

Government purchasing contributed 12–15% of the county's gross domestic product from 2000 to 2010.

Though the area has a relatively small number of high technology companies, 736, a business journal ranked it eighth in the country as a high tech center in 2009. The area had 23,096 high-tech jobs with a ratio of 124 per 1,000 total jobs.

In December 2010, Forbes magazine ranked the area as the worst in the country for finding a job, for the second time in 2010.

During 2020, overlapping the COVID-19 pandemic, the metropolitan area was the second best-performing out of 200 in the country.

Personal income

As of the census of 2000:

  • Median income for a family – $47,571
  • Median income for males – $36,542
  • Median income for females – $24,632
  • Per capita income – $21,484. The county has the 17th highest per capita income in the state (out of 67).
  • Median income for a household – $40,099
  • In 2005, the median income for a household had risen to $43,281

The county ranked 17th for per capita income, out of Florida's 67 counties.

The following were below the poverty line in 2000:

  • Families – 6.80%
  • Total population – 9.50%
  • Under age 18 – 13.00%
  • Age 65 or older – 6.50%

In 2012, 79,621 people in the county were receiving food stamps.

In 2010, there were 5,600 civilian government workers in the county. They earned an average of $74,000 each in 2009.

In 2009, 84,401 households in the county (38%) received social security payments averaging $16,136 for a total of $1.7 billion annually. 53,717 (24%) received pension payments averaging $24,327 for a total of $1.3 billion annually.

Housing

In 2018, an official observed another possible housing bubble in the making. There were 250,000 housing units for a population of 580,000, ample for their needs. The population is not growing rapidly, new housing is being constructed. Nevertheless, prices are surging.

The taxable value of property went from $20 billion in 2002 to $40 billion in 2007. In 2009 the bubble burst and a rapid descent to $24 billion was experienced. in 2017, the value rose to $35 billion. The last figure includes new construction.

In 2011, the county was rated 6th worst in the country for foreclosures. There were 1,039 for the third quarter of 2010. Nearly half the homes in the county were worth less than their mortgages. The average home had dropped 53.4% since the peak of the boom. In 2012, the county was the highest in foreclosure rate in the nation. In 2013, the metro area was rated "best" in the country for buying, with a 34 months supply of houses, with a discount rate of 28%, according to RealtyTrac. It has since reduced its backlog.

Monthly foreclosures exceeded 746 from January 2009 through October. Maximum monthly home sales were less than 584 during that time frame, creating an accumulating backlog of unsold homes. In 2010, there were 15,000 more vacant homes than the economy could absorb; the population was not growing.

After various insurance companies pulled out of Florida after their losses from the 2004 hurricane season, property insurance became a major concern for many homeowners. As of 2011, 32,000 Brevard policyholders insure with the state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.

The average non-foreclosed house sold for $143,000 in 2010, down from $147,000 in 2009. The average foreclosed house sold for $70,000 down from $81,000 in 2009. 25% of the houses sold in 2010 had been foreclosed. Total foreclosures rose from 2,200 in 2009 to 4,100 in 2010.

In 2008, there were 1,550 permits for residential projects valued at $355.45 million. That is the lowest number of filings since 1975. The lowest number of building permits was in 2009, 937. The highest was in 2005, 8,663.

In 2010 Kiplinger.com rated the county one of five "best" places in America to retire. Factors evaluated included cost of living, weather, the number of doctors, taxes, crime rates and recreational opportunities.

The largest home in Brevard is a 50-room 19,000 square feet (1,800 m2) mansion in Suntree built in 1991 and once owned by Cecil Fielder.

Industry

The Brevard economy has been driven by Trade, Transportation and Utilities

(18%), Professional and Business Services (17%), Total government (15%), Education and Health (14%), Manufacturing (12%), Leisure and hospitality (10%), Construction (6%), Financial (4%).

In 2012 local government employed 21,000 workers. Over the years the percentage has varied from 7.2% to 7.9% of the population.

The number of people working in construction dropped from 2,630 in 2005 to 1,420 in 2010.

Port Canaveral is one of the world's busiest cruise port. There are seven cruise lines, with six major cruise terminals. There is 750,000 square feet (70,000 m2) of covered freight storage capacity. It handled 4,000,000 short tons (3,600,000 t) of cargo in 2004. The port has contributed $500 million annually to the county's economy.

American City Business Journals rated Brevard 7th for quality of life out of 67.

Two hospitals were among the top five private employers in the county, together employing 8,850 in 2009.

In 2008, 14,865 workers were employed at the NASA/Kennedy Space Center. The Center directly spent $1.82 billion in the county.

A concern has been the probable reassignment of thousands of Space Coast workers when the Space Shuttle is discontinued in 2010. In 2010, 9,000 jobs were expected to be lost from the shuttle and other programs. Each launch contributed $4 million to the county's economy. Annually,$78 million is spent at the Space Center Visitor's Complex, and $5.9 million from space business visitors.

In 2014, there were 495 aerospace companies in the county. There were 36,223 workers. Sales and revenue from this industry were $3.4 billion.

L3Harris Technologies, headquartered in the county, has the most employees in the private sector, 7,000 in 2019.

Two locally headquartered builders, Mercedes Homes and Holiday, were among the top 30 in the nation. Mercedes had $1 billion in sales in 2004.

There are 15 Community Redevelopment agencies in the county. They are funded from real estate taxes in the affected area. Cocoa has three, and Eau Gallie, one.

Inc. magazine selected two local small companies as among the fastest growing in the country over the past three years – Applied Global Technology (nearly 100% annually) and Stops (nearly 200% annually).

Though the area has a relatively small number of high technology companies, 736, a business journal ranked it eighth in the country as a high tech center in 2009. The area had 23,096 high-tech jobs with a ratio of 124 per 1,000 total jobs.

The county had 1,050 restaurants in 2007 and nearly that many (1,040) in 2010. There were 22,600 leisure and hospitality workers in the county in 2006. This figure includes hotel workers. That figure had dropped 8.5% to 20,700 in 2010.

In the early 2010s, the Shiloh area was proposed by Space Florida as a potential location for the development of a commercial-only spaceport. Located immediately north of the U.S. Government's Kennedy Space Center, the open access to the flyover range on the open Atlantic Ocean to the east, and easy access to the tracking facilities of the Eastern Test Range make the location an attractive launch site. Among other potential users of the commercial spaceport facility, SpaceX was reported to be considering Shiloh as one of several potential locations for building a commercial launch facility.

Military

Military installations in Brevard County include Patrick Space Force Base, near Satellite Beach, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station (CCSFS), adjacent to the Kennedy Space Center, and the U.S. Air Force Malabar Test Facility on Minton Road in suburban Palm Bay. In 2009, they employed a total of 2,000 civilian federal workers. In 2012 there were 2,900 military jobs in the county.

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) Maintains one station in Port Canaveral, the station is located on the east bank of the West Turning Basin. The station is home to USCG cutter 617.

The Navy maintains a Trident turning basin at Port Canaveral for ballistic missile submarines. The Naval Ordnance Test Unit (NOTU) tests weapons on these subs, which arrive at the rate of one a month. 160 ships visited their two piers in 2017. The 2005 base closures included realigning NOTU out of state. The community was successful in having this decision revoked. The unit employs 100 military personnel and 900 civilian contractors.

Cape Canaveral Space Force Station houses the Air Force Space & Missile Museum and Launch Complex 26, where many unmanned rockets were launched early in the U.S. space program, including Explorer 1, the first US spacecraft placed in earth orbit.

The USS Brevard (AK-164) was a World War II Alamosa-class naval cargo ship that was decommissioned shortly after the war.

Agriculture

23% of Brevard County is agricultural-usable for citrus, raising cattle or horses. Cattle ranches include the Deseret, Duda Ranch, Kempfer, and two other major ranches. Citrus growers include Victory Groves and Harvey's Indian River Groves. The county ranked 21 out of 24 Florida counties in the shipment of gift fruit.

In 2009, aquaculture was a $900,000 business in the county. The county produces more than 25% of all blue crabs along Florida's East Coast.

There are 40 4-H-related clubs in the county, including livestock- and pet-related and after-school clubs. As in all Cooperative extension service, a land grant college, the University of Florida, conducted over 60 courses in 2010 in aid of 4-H programs and other agricultural pursuits.

In February 2010, the USDA declared that Brevard, along with 59 other Florida counties, was a "primary natural disaster area". This happened when the temperature falls below 28 °F (−2 °C)c degrees for 4 hours, where crops are being grown.

Tourism

In 2016, tourism represents about 9% of the county's gross domestic product. The industry employs about 13% of the workforce. The county raised its room tax to 5% in 2005. In 2012, this raised $8.4 million.

In 2008, tourists spent $2.89 billion in the county. This is distributed in several categories: lodging $839 million, eating and drinking $509 million, Kennedy Space Center $597 million, retail sales $450 million, entertainment $120 million, and Port Canaveral $109 million. Brevard tourists come mainly from ten states: Florida itself is first, followed by Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Virginia, Wisconsin, Georgia, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. The five primary sources of foreign visitors are Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, and Italy.

1.6 million people visited the Space Center Visitor Complex in 2008. Tourism, measured by the tourist tax, reached a peak in March 2007.

In 2009, there were 2.4 million overnight visitors in the county. There were 1.2 million day visitors. In 2013, a city manager estimated that 20% of income from tourism comes during spring break.

Brevard competes with other Florida areas for tourists. A number of organizations help promote the area. The Space Coast Office of Tourism consists of county staff and the Brevard County Tourist Development Council (TDC). They attempt to attract tourists. The TDC serves as an advisory council to the county on the expenditures of revenues received from a tourist tax. This revenue is spent on beach improvements, visitor information centers and website, promotion and advertising, the Brevard Zoo, additional beach improvements and the Space Coast Stadium.

$97.7 million has been spent on beach replenishment in the county between 2000 and 2010. This was funded 58% by the federal government, 27% by the state and 15% by the county.

In 2008 monthly tourist tax revenue slumped from a high of $1,174,742 in March to a seasonal low in September of $432,145. In 2008, the county had 11,000 hotel rooms available. In July 2007, there was a 66.1% occupancy rate. In 2008, the county had a nearly identical 81%+ occupancy rate in March and April. This fell to a seasonal low of 42.3% in September. In January 2010, the average hotel room rate was $88.25.

Cocoa Main Street, a member of the Florida and National Main Street Programs, works toward restoring business sites in the historic area known as "Cocoa Village". Cocoa Main Street has received six Florida Main Street Awards given by the Secretary of State. The restored area is a tourist attraction and an economic magnet. Melbourne Main Street is another historic business area and tourist attraction restored through the Main Street Programs.

Brevard has five judged art festivals annually attracting tens of thousands of people to art displays. Most festivals are held in the spring or fall when many tourists can attend. Many other annual festivals are held in parks and public sites throughout the year. The Brevard Cultural Alliance (BCA) maintains an event calendar and a map of sites of historic, cultural, and ecological interest.

The annual Florida Key Lime Pie Festival is held beach side every Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. In 2018 The Florida Key Lime Pie Company successfully made the World's largest key lime pie.

An annual February Greek Festival had over 8,000 visitors in 2011.

The annual Grant Seafood Festival attracts as many as 50,000 people for the two-day February event. It is the Southeast's largest and longest running seafood festival.

An ice skating rink in Rockledge serves the county's residents and visitors with hockey and figure skating events.

In 2009, recreational boat owners generated almost $51 million annually towards the county economy, ranking the industry fifth in the state.

Competitiveness

In 2010 a local group compared the county against four other "peer" cities: Austin, Texas, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Huntsville, Alabama, and Raleigh, North Carolina. It evaluated nine areas: business dynamism/vitality, competitiveness, education, economic growth, economic prosperity, livability, productivity/labor supply, technology and innovation/work force. While the county does well against national figures, and scored high in livability, it usually ranked last against these "peers" in the other eight areas.

In 2009, the county had 13 patents per 1,000 workers, more than double the national average of 6.4 patents per 1,000.

In 2009, Forbes ranked the county 18th out of 100 MSAs and first out of 8 metros in Florida for affordable housing and short commute times, among others.

In August 2009, Florida Trend rated two Brevard companies, Harris Corporation and Health First Health Plans, in their rankings of the best places to work in Florida.

In May 2009, the Palm Bay-Melbourne area was ranked as the No. 8 tech center in the United States by Bizjournals. It overcame its low number of total high-tech companies and jobs by having a high number of jobs per high tech company (#4) and high tech jobs compared to total private-sector jobs (#2).

Forbes magazine ranked Melbourne 2nd out of 150 metropolitan areas in the US, for the percentage of the population that are engineers,

6.6%, just ahead of Silicon Valley.

It reached a maximum employment of 254,514 in 2006.

In 2006, Forbes magazine named Harris Corporation, headquartered in Brevard, to its "Platinum 400" List.

The Technological Research and Development Authority, based on the Space Coast, delivers technologies to schools and small businesses throughout the state of Florida. They obtain this information through strategic alliances with NASA, the federal government, the aerospace industry and state partners. They also sponsor a business incubator at the Melbourne Airport.

The largest hotel in Brevard has 284 rooms and 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) of meeting space.

Labor

There were 168,500 private sector jobs in the county in 2009. The Bureau of Labor Statistics counted the following workers in Brevard along with average annual pay ($):

  • Retail 25,900 ($23,361)
  • Manufacturing 21,700 ($65,521)
  • Local government 20,100 ($42,517)
  • Hospitality 19,600 ($15,857).

The largest local employer is Brevard Public Schools with 9,500 of whom 5,000 are teachers. Brevard County Teachers are represented by the Brevard Federation of Teachers (AFT).

The county had an unemployment rate of 12.7% in January 2010, a 20-year record high. In March 2010, there were 33, 500 people out of work. The county experienced a record low unemployment in 2005 of 2.8%. There were 32,608 people unemployed in the county in January 2011.

In 2009, there were 6,400 federal workers, total, employed in the county. They earned an average of $74,600.

In 2009, average annual salaries in the county for engineers was $90,563; registered nurses $53,315; education $49,441; police officers $43,035; cooks $21,569; and cashiers $19,489. The average annual pay for all workers was then $42,411.

In 2011, there were more engineers (48) per thousand workers than any other region in the United States.

Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is the largest employer in the county with 15,000 contractors and civil servants. While there is concern about the new generation of space vehicles requiring 1/3 fewer workers, about that number were eligible for retirement by 2011. Unions represented at KSC include the American Federation of Government Employees, the International Association of Machinists and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

In 2005, the Next Generation Consulting for Leadership Brevard, a leadership development organization for local business and civic groups, and Brevard Tomorrow commissioned a survey of people 21-44. Basically, these people often found the area "boring", mainly because it is family-friendly at the expense of being singles-friendly. While this may have labor repercussions later, currently business is having no problems hiring.

Banking

In 2007, Space Coast Credit Union was the largest locally based financial institution in Brevard County and the third largest credit union in the state of Florida, with assets of over $3 billion.

In 2011, Wells Fargo, with $1.9 billion in local deposits, had 26% share of the business; SunTrust $1.3 billion, 17%; Bank of America $1.2 billion, 16%; Regions Bank $408 million, 5%; and JPMorgan Chase $379 million, 5%.

Retail

In 2011, the majority of groceries were sold in chain stores. Publix has 23 stores; Winn-Dixie has 10; Wal-Mart has 12 stores; the county has three warehouse clubs. 38% of groceries were purchased at Publix, 30% at Wal-Mart superstores, and 7% at Winn-Dixie.

Private charities

In 2013, there were 1,611 private charities registered in the county. They received $1.5 billion, spent $1.4 billion, and held $2.5 billion in assets.

Education

Higher education is provided by Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) and Florida Institute of Technology. There are satellite campuses for the University of Central Florida, Barry University, Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Keiser University, and Webster University.

Elementary and secondary education is provided by the Brevard Public Schools and private schools.

In 2011, six public schools were ranked by the state in the top ten schools in the state, out of 2,800 There was one list each for primary and secondary schools.

Sports

Minor league baseball

Brevard County was the home of the Brevard County Manatees, the Class-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers until 2016.

In 2009, the Space Coast Surge, a member of the Florida Winter Baseball League, had the Cocoa Stadium as their home stadium.

Major league baseball

The Washington Nationals held their spring training at Space Coast Stadium in Viera until 2016. They play about 14 games against other professional teams locally in March as part of the "Grapefruit" League.

Minor league basketball

The Brevard Blue Ducks, members of the United States Basketball League (USBL), played at the Clemente Center at Florida Tech.

Minor league football

The Brevard Rams and Space Coast Predators were scheduled to play as members of the Florida Football Alliance in 2010.

Amateur sports

Aside from school-sponsored sports, there are youth leagues for basketball, football, soccer, lacrosse, gymnastics, baseball and swimming.

Infrastructure

Transportation

The county contains about 300 gasoline retail outlets.

Airports

  • Arthur Dunn Airpark
  • Orlando Melbourne International Airport
  • Merritt Island Airport
  • Space Coast Regional Airport
  • Valkaria Airport

While Brevard County has transportation available in the usual modes for a coastal county—highways, shipping, and airlines—it has the addition of space transportation, making it unique in the world.

Public transportation is provided by Space Coast Area Transit.

Power

Florida Power & Light maintains an oil-fired generating plant at Sharpes; it generates 800 megawatts (1,100,000 hp), supplying most of the requirements for the county. In 2008 the company announced plans to replace the plant with a more efficient natural gas-powered plant in 2013 with a 1,250 megawatt capacity, which can supply 250,000 homes or businesses. Near FPL's plant is the Indian River Power Plant; formerly owned by the Orlando Utilities Commission, it is now owned and operated by RRI Energy.

In 2016, FPL had 304,400 customers in Brevard.

Florida City Gas furnishes natural gas to various areas of the county.

Communication

The area code for most of the county became "321" in 1999, as in the "3...2...1... lift-off!" countdown sequence. A small portion of the county along the southern border, including the communities of Micco and Barefoot Bay, share a 772 area code with Indian River County and St. Lucie County, Florida to the south.

Solid waste

The county government maintains various landfills for solid waste. Brevard County Central Disposal Facility is located in Cocoa, has a size 190-acre (77 ha) and receives annually around 275,000 tonnes of waste. In 2011, the average homeowner paid $57 annually to fund the maintenance of these sites. Municipalities and the county contract separately for the pickup and transportation of waste, for which businesses and homeowners pay a separate monthly fee.

In 2013, the county planned a new $100 million landfill, north of State Road 192, near the border with Osceola County, 8.5 miles (13.7 km) west of I-95. The county has awarded a $3.9 million contract for a wetlands mitigation for this new landfill.

In 2013, the county, for the first time, let a seven-year contract out for bids for solid waste. The resulting contract is expected to cost $1 billion over the lifetime of the contract, the county's largest single contract. This was the first time in 20 years, a bid was requested. In the past, Waste Management, Inc has performed the work, not only for the county but for 9 of 16 Brevard municipalities. Waste Pro has five of the remaining municipal contracts. Rockledge and Titusville maintain their own trash service. In 2013, the county directly contracts for solid waste pickup for 100,000 residences.

During one month in 2018, the recycling vendor processed 9,334 short tons (8,468 t) of glass, plastic, cardboard, paper and metal. 2,800 short tons (2,500 t), 38%, of this was polluted with non-recyclable material. It had to be separated and transported to the Central Disposal Facility in Cocoa. This cost the vendor $66,248 ($23.66/US ton) in landfill disposal fees plus $21,000 in transport fees.

Water

In 2013, the county consumed about 100,000,000 US gallons (380,000,000 l; 83,000,000 imp gal) daily. Landscape irrigation accounted for about half of this usage.

In 2017, there were five municipal entities selling water (figures in parentheses are millions of gallons/day): Cocoa (22), Melbourne (19), Palm Bay (6), Titusville (2), and West Melbourne (1). The fifth, Brevard County (1), is low because county areas outside the preceding cities, purchase their water from those cities.

Wastewater

The county controls six Wastewater Treatment Facilities: Mims (900,000 US gallons (3,400,000 l; 750,000 imp gal)/day), Port St. John (500,000 US gallons (1,900,000 l; 420,000 imp gal)/day), South Central (Viera) (12,000,000 US gallons (45,000,000 l; 10,000,000 imp gal)/day), South Beaches, and Barefoot Bay area. Some cities have wastewater treatment plants, as well.

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