Marion County Profile
County Seat: Ocala
Population Est. 2011 – 332,529
Marion County was created in 1899 from portions of Alachua, Mosquito (Orange), and Hillsborough counties. Until 1853, Marion County included most of what are now Lake and Sumter counties. The county is named after General Francis Marion of South Carolina, a guerrilla fighter and hero of the American Revolutionary War. Many of the early settlers of Marion County were from South Carolina. The county motto is "Kingdom of the Sun." Farms in the county are known for breeding champion race horses such as Affirmed and Needles.
Location and Terrain
Marion County is generally composed of rolling hills, some high and some low. The majority of its trees consist of live oaks, pine, and palm trees. Marion County is considered the southernmost county in North Central Florida, and the northernmost county in Central Florida.
It is about a two hour drive from many of Florida's major cities, Orlando is 75 minutes to the southeast while Daytona Beach is about 90 minutes to the east. Tampa is about 75 minutes to the southwest. Jacksonville is roughly a two hour drive northeast .
Marion County also has three large lakes at its opposite borders. Orange Lake is in the far northern part of Marion County, near the border with Alachua County. Lake Kerr is in the northeastern part of the county, near the town of Salt Springs, which is near the border with Putnam County. Lake Weir, the largest of the three, is in the far southern region near the border with Lake County. Part of Lake George is in Marion County also.
Marion County is inland, centered between the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. Because of this, Marion County is not affected as much by hurricanes as the more coastal counties to its east and west are. Therefore, it takes a little less than an hour to get to the Gulf of Mexico while it takes about half an hour longer to get to the Atlantic Ocean.
As of the census of 2000, there were 258,916 people, 106,755 households, and 74,621 families residing in the county. The population density was 164 people per square mile. There were 122,663 housing units at an average density of 78 per square mile. The racial makeup of the county was 84.16% White, 11.55% Black or African American, 0.45% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 1.69% from other races, and 1.44% from two or more races. 6.03% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 106,755 households out of which 24.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.60% were married couples living together, 10.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.10% were non-families. 25.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.79.
In the county the population was spread out with 21.40% under the age of 18, 6.40% from 18 to 24, 23.80% from 25 to 44, 23.90% from 45 to 64, and 24.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 93.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.90 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $31,944, and the median income for a family was $37,473. Males had a median income of $28,836 versus $21,855 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,848. About 9.20% of families and 13.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.20% of those under age 18 and 7.40% of those age 65 or over.
Cities: Dunnellon, Ocala, Belleview
Unincorporated: Anthony, Fort McCoy, Marion Oaks, Salt Springs, Silver Springs Shores, Summerfield.