Living in Florida
Situated along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, northeast Florida has been home to a diverse population dating back to the Timuquan Indians around 2000 B.C. The French settled at Fort Caroline, which is now Jacksonville, and the Spanish built St. Augustine almost 500 years before pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.
Today, towering skyscrapers line the St. Johns River, and Jacksonville, the largest city in square miles in the continental United States, is home to three U.S. Navy bases, numerous major corporations, a Professional Golf Association tournament, the Jacksonville Jaguars National Football League team and three minor league sports teams.
Jacksonville's population exceeds 1 million. Residents of this financial and medical capital of the South enjoy the temperate climate, year-round leisure activities and miles of clean, sparkling beaches. Jacksonville attracts many visitors for surfing, swimming, wind- surfing, fishing and waterskiing.
Jacksonville has a diversified economy that includes service, transportation, medical and insurance industries. The city's annual employment growth rate is 4.7 percent, while unemployment, at 3.6 percent, is consistently below both state and national levels.
Its housing market is ranked as one of the most affordable in the country. By combining all city services in the late 1960s, when Jacksonville's citizens voted to consolidate city and county government, taxes and municipal costs were greatly reduced. Also, Florida has no state income tax.
Jacksonville offers five-star restaurants, resorts and other leisure activities. Its geographical location puts it close to many cultural, historic and entertainment centers in both Florida and Georgia. Elegant Savannah and exotic Amelia Island lie to the north, while historic St. Augustine, the oldest city in the United States and home of the new World Golf Village, lies to the south.
Just two and one-half hours away is Orlando, home of the Disney theme parks, Universal Studio and Sea World. Although the median age of Jacksonville's population is 32.7, the city is abundant with cultural diversity and a historic tradition.
Jacksonville has five regional shopping centers, a zoo, two major museums, eight galleries, a symphony orchestra, and several theaters and nightclubs. The educational system offers nearly 250 public and private schools and 14 regional colleges and universities.
The nationally famous Jacksonville Jazz Festival is held each year in Metropolitan Park, and the renowned Jazz Keyboard Competition is held annually at the Florida Theatre.
Jacksonville Community Links: