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Highlands County, Florida facts for kids

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Highlands County
Highlands County Courthouse
Highlands County Courthouse
Official seal of Highlands County
Map of Florida highlighting Highlands 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 April 23, 1921
Named for county's terrain
Seat Sebring
Largest city Sebring
 • Total 1,106 sq mi (2,860 km2)
 • Land 1,017 sq mi (2,630 km2)
 • Water 89 sq mi (230 km2)  8.1%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 101/sq mi (39/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 17th

Highlands County is a county located in the Florida Heartland region of the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 98,786. Its county seat is Sebring.

Highlands County comprises the Sebring-Avon Park, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Highlands County was created in 1921 along with Charlotte, Glades, and Hardee, when they were separated from DeSoto County. Highlands was named for the terrain of the county. Highlands County boasts the fifth-oldest population in America in 2012.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,106 square miles (2,860 km2), of which 1,017 square miles (2,630 km2) is land and 89 square miles (230 km2) (8.1%) is water. In area, it is the 14th largest county in Florida. Highlands county is bounded on the east by the Kissimmee River. Lake Istokpoga, the largest lake in the county is connected to the Kissimmee River by two canals; the Istokpoga canal, and the C41 (outflow) canal.

Adjacent counties

National protected area

  • Lake Wales Ridge National Wildlife Refuge (part)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1930 9,192
1940 9,246 0.6%
1950 13,636 47.5%
1960 21,338 56.5%
1970 29,507 38.3%
1980 47,526 61.1%
1990 68,432 44.0%
2000 87,366 27.7%
2010 98,786 13.1%
2019 (est.) 106,221 7.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2019

As of 2015, there were 99,491 people and 39,931 households living in the county. The population density was 97.2 people per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 85.8% White, 10.4% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 1.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, and 1.6% from two or more races. 18.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 51.3% of the entire population are female. The median household income was $35,560 with 20.1% of the population being below the poverty level from 2009 to 2013. The poverty line for Florida was $11,490 in 2013.

As of the census of 2000, there were 87,366 people, 37,471 households, and 25,780 families living in the county. The population density was 85.00 people per square mile (32.82/km2). There were 48,846 housing units at an average density of 47.5 per square mile (18.34/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 83.47% White, 9.33% Black or African American, 0.44% Native American, 1.05% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 4.14% from other races, and 1.53% from two or more races. 12.07% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In 2000 there were 37,471 households, out of which 20.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.20% were married couples living together, 8.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.20% were non-families. 26.30% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.70.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 19.20% under the age of 18, 6.30% from 18 to 24, 19.30% from 25 to 44, 22.20% from 45 to 64, and 33.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.20 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,160, and the median income for a family was $35,647. Males had a median income of $26,811 versus $20,725 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,222. About 10.20% of families and 15.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 25.60% of those under age 18 and 7.40% of those age 65 or over.



  • US 27.svg U.S. Route 27
  • Florida 17.svg State Road 17
  • US 98.svg U.S. Route 98
  • Florida 64.svg State Road 64
  • Florida 66.svg State Road 66
  • Florida 70.svg State Road 70
  • CR 634A jct.svg Sebring Parkway/Panther Parkway


  • Sebring Regional Airport (KSEF)
  • Avon Park Executive Airport (KAVO)


  • CSX Transportation (CSXT)
  • Amtrak (AMTK)


Highlands County is part of the Heartland Library Cooperative which has 7 branches that serve Highlands county and some of the surrounding counties, including Glades, DeSoto, Hardee, and Okeechobee.

  • Avon Park
  • DeSoto
  • Glades
  • Hardee
  • Lake Placid
  • Okeechobee
  • Sebring




Unincorporated communities


Top employers

The top private employers of Highlands County are as follows:
1. Advent Health Hospital (1500)
2. Walmart (796)
3. Agero (600)
4. Highlands Regional Medical Center (413)
5. Delray Plants (350)
6. Palms of Sebring (257)
7. Alan Jay Automotive Network (250)
8. Lake Placid Health Care (210)
9. Positive Medical Transport (150)
10. E-Stone USA (87)

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