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Panama City, Florida
City of Panama City
Top: Panama City's Old city hall in November 2013, prior to Hurricane Michael.
Top: Panama City's Old city hall in November 2013, prior to Hurricane Michael.
Flag of Panama City, Florida
Flag
Official seal of Panama City, Florida
Seal
Location in Bay County and the U.S. state of Florida
Location in Bay County and the U.S. state of Florida
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Coordinates: 30°10′28″N 85°39′52″W / 30.17444°N 85.66444°W / 30.17444; -85.66444Coordinates: 30°10′28″N 85°39′52″W / 30.17444°N 85.66444°W / 30.17444; -85.66444
Country  United States of America
State  Florida
County Bay
Incorporated 1909
Named for Panama City, Panama
Area
 • City 41.27 sq mi (106.90 km2)
 • Land 35.12 sq mi (90.97 km2)
 • Water 6.15 sq mi (15.93 km2)
 • Metro
1,312 sq mi (3,400 km2)
Elevation
26 ft (8 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • City 32,939
 • Density 937.82/sq mi (362.09/km2)
 • Metro
202,236
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
Zip Codes
32401–32409, 32411–32413, 32417, 32461
Area code(s) 850
FIPS code 12-54700
GNIS feature ID 0288448
Website www.pcgov.org

Panama City is a city in and the county seat of Bay County, Florida, United States. Located along U.S. Route 98, it is the largest city between Tallahassee and Pensacola. It is the more populated of two principal cities of the Panama City-Lynn Haven, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2020 census,the population was 32,939. Panama City was catastrophically damaged when Hurricane Michael made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane on October 10, 2018. When Panama City was incorporated in 1909, its original city limits were 15th Street (Hwy 98) on the north, Balboa Avenue on the west and Bay Avenue on the east.

Name

The development in this area of Northwest Florida had previous names such as "Floriopolis," "Park Resort" and "Harrison." In 1906 the development was titled "Panama City" and later incorporated as "Panama City" in 1909. According to the Panama City Public Library's A History of Panama City, a developer named George Mortimer West hoped to spur real estate development in Bay County during a period of intense popular interest in the construction of the Panama Canal by changing the town's name from Harrison to Panama City, because a straight line between Chicago and the capital of the Central American country of Panama intersected the Florida town. Additionally, since required meanders around land formations in a seaborne route to the canal added distance when starting at other ports, Panama City was the closest developed port in the US mainland to the Caribbean entrance of the Panama Canal.

As of the fourth quarter in 2016, there is a commercial rebranding campaign set out to rebrand the downtown area of Panama City, Florida to "Harrison" or "Harrison Historic Downtown Panama City." There is currently ongoing backlash to this rebranding attempt from the area's merchants. Harrison is the road (thoroughfare) that runs through downtown Panama City, Florida.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 422
1920 1,722 308.1%
1930 5,402 213.7%
1940 11,610 114.9%
1950 25,814 122.3%
1960 33,275 28.9%
1970 32,096 −3.5%
1980 33,346 3.9%
1990 34,378 3.1%
2000 36,417 5.9%
2010 36,484 0.2%
2020 32,939 −9.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 36,484 people, 14,792 households, and 8,613 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,245.2 people per square mile (481.3/km2). There were 17,438 housing units at an average density of 595.2 per square mile (230.1/km2). As of the census of 2010, the racial makeup of the city is 71.6% White, 22.0% African American, 1.6% Asian, 0.5% Native American, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.9% from two or more races, and 5.1% Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 14,792 households, out of which 23.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.3% were headed by married couples living together, 6.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.8% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.0% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.28, and the average family size was 2.91.

In the city, the population was 20.7% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 26.9% from 45 to 64, and 16.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39.7 years. For every 100 females, there were 96.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.2 males.

Geography

Panama City is located at 30°10′28″N 85°39′52″W / 30.17444°N 85.66444°W / 30.17444; -85.66444 (30.174451, -85.664480) within the Florida Panhandle and along the Emerald Coast. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city limits encompass an area of 35.4 square miles (91.8 km2), of which 29.3 square miles (75.8 km2) is land and 6.2 square miles (16.0 km2), or 17.39%, is water.

Climate

Panama City has a humid subtropical climate, with short, mild winters and long, hot and humid summers. In January, the average low is 42 °F (6 °C), and in July the average high is 90 °F (32 °C).

The city is susceptible to hurricanes, such as Hurricane Earl, which brought winds of more than eighty miles per hour in 1998.

Climate data for Panama City, Fla.
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 63.3
(17.39)
66.3
(19.06)
71.6
(22)
77.5
(25.28)
84.4
(29.11)
88.7
(31.5)
90.1
(32.28)
90.0
(32.22)
88.2
(31.22)
81.2
(27.33)
73.0
(22.78)
65.0
(18.33)
78.28
(25.708)
Average low °F (°C) 42.1
(5.61)
46.3
(7.94)
51.3
(10.72)
57.4
(14.11)
65.4
(18.56)
72.7
(22.61)
75.1
(23.94)
74.8
(23.78)
70.8
(21.56)
60.4
(15.78)
51.4
(10.78)
44.2
(6.78)
59.33
(15.181)
Precipitation inches (mm) 4.89
(124.2)
5.11
(129.8)
5.68
(144.3)
3.67
(93.2)
3.08
(78.2)
6.18
(157)
7.39
(187.7)
6.96
(176.8)
6.03
(153.2)
3.60
(91.4)
4.47
(113.5)
4.02
(102.1)
61.1
(1,552)
Source: Florida Climate Center

Transportation

Roads

The two main east-to-west thoroughfares in Panama City proper are 23rd Street and U.S. Highway 98. The main north-to-south thoroughfare is Martin Luther King Boulevard, otherwise known as FL-77.

Rail

The Bay Line Railroad has an 82-mile (132 km) rail line running north to Dothan, Alabama, to a connection with CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern.

Bus transportation

Local transit is handled by the Baytown Trolley services. Service generally runs Monday-Saturday from 6 AM to 7 PM.

Intercity transit is handled by the city's Greyhound station.

Air transportation

The city was served by the Panama City-Bay County International Airport (PFN) until May 22, 2010. It was replaced by the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) with Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and Silver Airways.

Economy

Personal income

As of the 2000 census, the city's median household income was $31,572, and the median income for a family was $40,890. Males had a median income of $30,401 versus $21,431 for females. The city's per capita income was $17,830. About 12.1% of families and 17.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 24.5% of those under age 18 and 14.9% of those age 65 or over.

Industry

Rock-Tenn Facility Panama City FL
The WestRock paper mill.

Two military bases make the federal government the largest employer. Other major industrial employers in the Bay County area include Eastern Shipbuilding Group, Gulf Power, WestRock, Trane, L-3 Communications, ARINC, and JENSEN-GROUP.

Real estate

In 2006, Panama City was named the best place to invest in real estate in the US by CNN's Business 2.0 magazine.

Military

Tyndall Air Force Base is east of the city. The HHT 1-153 CAV is stationed there. It is part of Florida Army National Guard's 53rd Infantry Brigade. The city is also home to the U.S. Navy's Naval Support Activity Panama City which is home to various research and training projects. The city is also approximately 100 miles south of Fort Rucker, Alabama, home to the US Army's Aviation Center of Excellence.

Retail

The city's main retail center was the Panama City Mall until it was permanently closed after Hurricane Michael. In August of 2020, Panama City Mall released the plans to the mall. The plans for the mall includes a hotel, shops, and restaurants. Another local retail center is the Bay City Pointe, on FL 368 (locally known as 23rd St.). Pier Park, on the beach across the Hathaway Bridge spanning St. Andrews Bay, is a third local retail center. Others retail areas in the Panama City Metro are the 15th Street Shopping Strip (A area between Harrison Ave/US Highway 231 and Beck Ave/US Bus 98/State Road 390), 23rd Street Shopping Strip, Downtown Panama City, Historic St. Andrews, and Millville Historic District.

Education

Panama City's public schools are operated by Bay District Schools. A system of charter schools, University Academy and Bay Haven Schools also services the Panama City area. Private schools in the city include, Holy Nativity Episcopal School, St. John Catholic School, Jacob Austin Prep. Academy, Covenant Christian School. Gulf Coast State College, formerly Gulf Coast Community College, is now a 4-year state college. Florida State University Panama City Campus and a satellite campus of Troy University are located in the city. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University has a satellite campus on Tyndall Air Force Base. Public high schools in the Panama City metro-area include Rutherford High School, Bay High School, Mosley High School, Arnold High School, Bozeman Learning Center, and Rosenwald High School.

Notable people

  • Donnie Craft, American player of gridiron football
  • Clint Daniels, country music artist
  • Clarence Earl Gideon, the plaintiff in Gideon v. Wainwright
  • Codi Galloway, member of the Idaho House of Representatives
  • David Herndon, pitcher with the New York Yankees
  • Robert Lee McKenzie, entrepreneur, real estate developer, first mayor of Panama City, and an important figure in the early history of Bob Jones University
  • Dan Peek, member of the soft rock band America
  • Blake Percival, Whistleblower
  • Kenny Saief, player for the United States men's national soccer team
  • Anwar Stewart, defensive lineman, Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League
  • Ray Wilson, defensive back in the National Football League for the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers
  • Stacy Wilson, professional hockey player and coach
  • William Witherspoon, 1998 graduate of Rutherford High School, linebacker in the National Football League
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