Lakeland ranked on Buzzfeed’s list of “15 Cities Everyone Moved to During the Pandemic”

Swan on Lake Morton

Lake Morton | Photo via @cathyannstokes

In 2020, large cities nationwide saw their citizens relocating to other corners of the US. From San Francisco to Manhattan, bags were packed as individuals and families looked for greener grass.

Any guesses where they found it? That’s right, Lakeland. In a recent listicle of 15 cities people moved to during the pandemic, Lakeland came in at #2.

It’s not just Buzzfeed touting new residents of Swan City. According to a report by World Population Review, the Lakeland metro area saw a growth rate of 2.45% in 2020 and 2.39% so far in 2021. To put that into perspective: San Francisco saw a growth rate of -1.4% in 2020 and the average city with a population between 250,000-500,000 had a growth rate of 0.55% from 2018-2019.

Let’s break that growth rate down by the numbers:

Lakeland’s growth by the year:

  • 2021: Population 115,566
  • 2020: Population 113,851
  • 2019: Population 112,136
Graph of Lakeland's population growth

Lakeland’s population growth by year | Screenshot via World Population Review

So, why Lakeland? In Buzzfeed’s article, they list the following draws to the 863:

  • Close proximity to the ocean
  • Plenty of lakes + warm weather
  • Average home price of $260,174

But you know just as well as we do that Lakeland has much more than the weather + beach commute to boast.

Between Lakeland’s overwhelming support of new + small businesses and new city additions + improvements (hello, Bonnet Springs Park), there’s plenty of reasons for newcomers to want to call Lakeland home.

One question to ask is what impact the influx of new neighbors could have on the city. Economically speaking, more Lakelanders means more patrons to local businesses. Logistically speaking, it also means an increased need for infrastructure changes to accommodate more bees in the hive, so to speak.

While it’s uncertain what changes we might see coming to Swan City as our population grows, one thing we can count on is a continued appreciation of all things Lakeland: we’re talking swans, the occasional stray gator, and sunsets that every Instagram influencer wishes they caught themselves.

Do you have a new out-of-state neighbor? Share this with them to make sure they’re in the know on all things Lakeland news + events.

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