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Tampa Bay Area

Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater MSA
A simulated-color satellite image of the Tampa Bay Area. Taken November 3, 2015 with NASA's Landsat 8 satellite.
A simulated-color satellite image of the Tampa Bay Area. Taken November 3, 2015 with NASA's Landsat 8 satellite.
Location in Florida
Location in Florida
Coordinates: 28°00′N 82°18′W / 28°N 82.3°W / 28; -82.3Coordinates: 28°00′N 82°18′W / 28°N 82.3°W / 28; -82.3
Country United States
State Florida
Largest city Tampa
Counties (in the MSA) Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas
 • MSA 2,554.5 sq mi (6,616 km2)
 • Urban
2,077.9 sq mi (5,382 km2)
Highest elevation
301 ft (92 m)
Lowest elevation
0 ft (0 m)
 (2015, MSA)
 • MSA 3,030,953
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
Area code(s) 813, 863, 727, 352, 941

The Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area (or MSA) defined by the United States Census Bureau is Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco, and Pinellas counties.

The largest cities in the Tampa Bay Area are Tampa in Hillsborough County, and the cities of St. Petersburg and Clearwater in Pinellas County. The Tampa Bay area may also refer to the Tampa Bay media market which also includes Citrus, Manatee, Sarasota, and Polk counties.

The population of the Tampa Bay Area is estimated at 3,030,953 people as of January 2017 and between 2010 and 2015 the population is estimated to have grown 6.9%. For 2014 to 2015 the U.S. Census data estimated an annual growth of 2.0 percent or 54,412 people.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1950 436,365
1960 820,443 88.0%
1970 1,105,553 34.8%
1980 1,613,603 46.0%
1990 2,067,959 28.2%
2000 2,395,997 15.9%
2010 2,917,813 21.8%

The following is a list of important cities and unincorporated communities located in both the core Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater MSA.

Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater MSA

Principal cities

Each of these cities has a population in excess of 100,000 inhabitants.

Downtown Tampa
St Pete Skyline from Pier
St. Petersburg
Brandon Mall Brandon Florida
Westfield Shopping Center in Brandon

More than 10,000 inhabitants

Ref: 2010 Census


According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the Tampa–St. Petersburg–Clearwater MSA consists of the following ethnic demographics:

  • White (Non-Hispanic/Latino) – 1,821,955 76.0%
  • Black – 248,058 10.4%
  • Hispanic – 248,642 10.4%
  • Asian/Pacific Islander – 57,235 2.4%


Nearly 20% of Tampa Bay's population is in the 18–34 age group.

Age Tampa Bay area Percentage
0–17 852,600 22.0%
18–34 757,808 19.6%
35–54 1,066,684 27.3%
55–64 447,581 11.6%
65 and over 750,138 19.4%
MEDIAN AGE 41.39 years old


Ethnicity Tampa Bay Percentage
Caucasian 3,141,549 72.3%
Hispanic or Latino 479,936 11.0%
African American 411,157 9.5%
Asian 77,296 1.8%
Other 149,948 3.5%
Two or more races 83,861 1.9%

Hispanic or Latino by Origin

Ethnicity Tampa Bay Percentage
Mexican 145,685 30.4%
Puerto Rican 135,133 28.2%
Cuban 63,728 13.3%
All Others 135,390 28.2%


From 2000 to 2004, total net migration for the Tampa Bay region was 262,961 or an average of 65,740 per year. During this time Tampa Bay accounted for nearly 20% of Florida's total net migration. The annual migration totals grew steadily since 2000 until 200 people a day moved to Tampa Bay in 2004. Two Tampa Bay region counties are among the top counties in the country for net in-migration. Pasco County ranks 8th in the nation for net migration and Hillsborough County ranks 13th out of more than 3,000 counties.


See also: Tampa Bay

The Tampa Bay area is located along Tampa Bay which it is named for. Pinellas County and St. Petersburg, Florida lies on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, and much of the city of Tampa, Florida lies on a smaller peninsula jutting out into Tampa Bay.


Tampa Bay Area from space

The Tampa Bay area has a humid subtropical climate (Koppen Cfa), with hot, humid summers, with daily thunderstorms, and dry, often sunny winters. On average, two days experience frost per year in the Tampa Bay area; however, hard freezes (low temperatures below 28 F/-3.5 C) are very rare, occurring only a few times in the last 75 years. The area is listed by the United States Department of Agriculture as being in hardiness zone 9b, which is about the northern limit of where coconut palms and royal palms can be grown. Highs usually range between 65 and 95 °F (18 and 35 °C) year round. Surprisingly to some, Tampa's official high has never reached 100 °F (38 °C)—the all-time record high temperature is 99 °F (37 °C). St. Petersburg's all-time record high is exactly 100 °F (38 °C).

St Petersburg City Hall
Royal Palms in front of St. Petersburg's city hall

Pinellas County lies on a peninsula between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, and much of the city of Tampa lies on a smaller peninsula jutting out into Tampa Bay. This proximity to large bodies of water both moderates local temperatures and introduces large amounts of humidity into the atmosphere. In general, the communities farthest from the coast have more extreme temperature differences, both during a single day and throughout the seasons of the year.

Climate data for Tampa, Florida (Tampa Int'l), 1981−2010 normals, extremes 1890−present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 86
Average high °F (°C) 69.9
Daily mean °F (°C) 60.8
Average low °F (°C) 51.6
Record low °F (°C) 21
Rainfall inches (mm) 2.23
Humidity 74.9 73.0 71.8 69.0 69.8 74.4 76.6 78.4 77.6 74.2 75.0 75.0 74.1
Avg. rainy days (≥ 0.01 inch) 6.8 6.6 6.6 4.9 5.5 12.7 15.9 16.0 12.2 6.5 5.1 5.8 104.6
Sunshine hours 199.9 202.7 267.5 299.1 314.5 277.8 265.3 249.5 223.0 233.9 201.7 191.6 2,926.5
Source: NOAA (relative humidity and sun 1961−1990) Weather Channel


The Tampa Bay area is home to a high concentration of quality art museums. Long established communities, particularly those near the bay such as Cuban influenced Ybor City, Old Northeast in St. Petersburg, and Palma Ceia and Hyde Park in Tampa contain historic architecture. Fresh seafood and locally grown produce are available in many restaurants and in weekly farmers' markets in multiple urban centers in the area. Yuengling, the largest American-owned brewer, operates a brewery in Tampa, as does the highly regarded craft brewer Cigar City Brewing.

Arts and culture make a big impact in Tampa Bay. In a single year, the economic impact of the cultural institutions in the Tampa Bay area was $521.3 million, according to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study. In 2004 5.6 million people attended plays, musical performances, museum exhibits, and other cultural institutions in Tampa Bay, supporting 7,800 jobs.


St. Pete Holocaust Museum01
Florida Holocaust Museum in St. Petersburg

Performing Arts Halls

  • Straz Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa
  • Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater
  • Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg

Cultural events

  • Gasparilla Pirate Festival held every January in Tampa
  • Florida Strawberry Festival held every March in Plant City
  • Clearwater Jazz Holiday held every October in Coachman Park in downtown Clearwater; in its 32nd year
  • Guavaween, a Latin-flavored Halloween celebration held every October in the Ybor City section of Tampa
  • Festa Italiana, annual festival of Italian heritage held every April in Ybor City, Tampa's Latin Quarter


Beautiful Crystal clear Surf at Pier 60 in April 2013
Clearwater Beach at Pier 60

The Tampa Bay area is highly noted for its beaches, with the warm, blue gulf waters and nearly 70 miles of barriers islands from North Pinellas south to Venice, attracting tourists from all over the world. Three of the beaches in this area, Fort De Soto's North Beach (2005), Caladesi Island (2008), and Sarasota's Siesta Key (2011) have been named by Dr. Beach as America's Top Beach. The 15th IIFA Awards would be held at Tampa Bay Area in April 2014.

Sports attractions, in addition to the teams listed below, include many professional quality golf courses, tennis courts, and pools. Ybor and the Channel District in Tampa, downtown St. Petersburg, and the beaches all along the coast all attract a vibrant nightlife.

Theme parks

Florida Aquarium Channelside
Florida Aquarium

Zoos and Aquariums

Botanical gardens

  • Florida Botanical Gardens, part of the Pinewood Cultural Park in Largo
  • Sunken Gardens in St. Petersburg, a former tourist attraction now run by the City of St. Petersburg
  • USF Botanical Gardens in Tampa

Notable public parks and recreation areas

The Tampa Bay area is home to an extensive system of state, county, and city parks. Hillsborough River State Park in Thonotosassa is one of Florida's original eight state parks and Honeymoon Island State Park, near Dunedin, is Florida's most visited state park. Pinellas County is home to the Fred Marquis Pinellas Trail, a 37-mile running and cycling trail over a former railroad bed connecting Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg. Skyway Fishing Pier State Park, the remnants of the approaches to the original Sunshine Skyway Bridge forms the world's largest fishing pier in Pinellas and Manatee counties. The shallow waters and many mangrove islands of the bay and gulf make the area popular with kayakers. The gulf is also home to a large number of natural and artificial coral reefs that are popular for fishing and scuba diving.


Transportation in the Tampa Bay Area is heavily affected by its position around Tampa Bay. For more about marine transportation in the area, including the many bridges over Tampa Bay, see Tampa Bay#Transportation.


Tampa International Airport is the largest airport in the region with 21 carriers and more than 17 million passengers served last year. In addition to the recent opening of a new terminal, improvements are being planned to handle 25 million passengers by 2020. Traveler satisfaction has always been a top priority for "America's Favorite Airport." It has won high recognition in the international J.D. Power and Associates Global Airport Passenger Satisfaction Study for three consecutive years. The Condé Nast Traveler recognized TIA as the third best airport in the world and IATA Skytrax 2003 survey named TIA as the No. 2 airport in North America.

St. Petersburg–Clearwater International Airport provides access to commercial airliners, and smaller charter craft. The airport is currently planning an expansion which will include new terminal facilities and runway extension. Dotting the landscape throughout the area, are many general aviation airports for the aircraft enthusiast and smaller corporate jets.

Tampa International Airport panorama
Tampa International Airport panorama


Amtrak provides passenger rail service from Union Station in Tampa.

CSX provides freight rail service for the entire Tampa Bay region. The railroad serves every major population and industrial center east of the Mississippi including Ontario and Montreal. CSX also connects with more than 166 bulk intermodal distribution terminals and rail-to-truck bulk transloading facilities throughout its service area, linking it to all of North America.

Transit systems

MetroRapid bus
MetroRapid bus in Tampa
Streetcar in Ybor City
Sunshine Skyway on the Tampa Bay
Sunshine Skyway over Tampa Bay

Bus service is provided in Hillsborough County by Hillsborough Area Regional Transit (HART), in Pinellas County by Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA), in Pasco County by Pasco County Public Transportation and in Hernando County by THE Bus. HART and PSTA provide express services between Tampa and Pinellas County, and PSTA provides connections to Pasco County.

HART also operates the TECO streetcar between downtown Tampa and Ybor City. In 2013 HART also began operating a Bus rapid transit system called MetroRapid that runs from downtown Tampa to the University of South Florida.

On July 1, 2007, an intermodal transportation authority was created to serve the seven county Tampa Bay area. The Tampa Bay Area Regional Transportation Authority (TBARTA) was formed to develop bus, rapid transit, and other transportation options for the region.

Roads and freeways

The Tampa Bay Area is served by these interstate highways.

  • I-4 Interstate 4
  • I-75 Interstate 75
  • I-175 Interstate 175
  • I-275 Interstate 275
  • I-375 Interstate 375

Hillsborough County is also served by other roadways such as the Lee Roy Selmon Expressway (SR 618) which commutes workers from Brandon into downtown Tampa and the Veterans Expressway/Suncoast Parkway (Toll 589) which serves traffic from the Citrus/Hernando County border southward into Tampa.

In Pinellas County, U.S. 19 is the main north–south route through the county, and is being upgraded to freeway standards complete with frontage roads to ease congestion through the north part of the county. Also, the Bayside Bridge allows traffic to go from Clearwater into St. Petersburg without having to use U.S. 19.

The Courtney Campbell Causeway (SR 60) is one of the three roads that connect Pinellas County to Hillsborough County across the bay. The other two are the Howard Frankland Bridge (I-275) and Gandy Bridge (U.S. 92). The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is part of I-275 and connects Bradenton and other Manatee County and Sarasota County commuters into Pinellas County.

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