Brevard County, Florida facts for kids

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Brevard County, Florida
Seal of Brevard County, Florida
Map
Map of Florida highlighting Brevard County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the USA highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
Statistics
Founded March 14, 1844
Seat Titusville
Largest City Palm Bay
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

1,557 sq mi (4,033 km²)
1,016 sq mi (2,631 km²)
541 sq mi (1,401 km²), 34.8%
PopulationEst.
 - (2015)
 - Density

568,088
535/sq mi (207/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website: http://www.brevardcounty.us/
Named for: Theodorus W. Brevard
County flag Flag of Brevard County, Florida
County logo Logo of Brevard County, Florida

Brevard County is a county in the state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 543,376, making it the 10th largest 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 along the Atlantic Ocean.

Influenced by the presence of 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 settler, and state comptroller.

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 populations
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%
Est. 2015 568,088 19.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2015

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.

Census

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

  • White (non-Hispanic) (83.0% when including White Hispanics): 77.6% 17.3% German, 15.7% Irish, 12.8% English, 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, 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 has been 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

Images for kids


Brevard County, Florida Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.