Brevard County, Florida
Brevard County is a county in the U.S. state of Florida. As of the 2010 census, the population was 543,376, the 10th most populated county in Florida. The official county seat has been located in Titusville since 1894. Brevard County comprises the Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is located along the east Florida coast and bordered by the Atlantic Ocean.
Historic Brevard County Courthouse in Titusville.
Location within the U.S. state of Florida
Florida's location within the U.S.
|Coordinates: 28°18′N 80°42′W|
|Founded||March 14, 1844|
|Named for||Theodorus W. Brevard|
|Largest city||Palm Bay|
|• Total||1,557 sq mi (4,030 km2)|
|• Land||1,016 sq mi (2,630 km2)|
|• Water||541 sq mi (1,400 km2) 34.8%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||587/sq mi (227/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
With an economy strongly influenced by the John F. Kennedy Space Center, Brevard County is also known as the Space Coast. As such, it was designated with the telephone area code 321, as in 3-2-1 liftoff. The county is named after Theodore Washington Brevard, an early Florida settler and state comptroller.
A secondary center of county administrative offices was built beginning in 1989 in Viera, Florida, a master planned community in an unincorporated area. The county offices were developed to serve the more populous southern part of the long county.
The history of Brevard County begins with the prehistory of native cultures living in the area for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century. The Windover Archeological Site, discovered in 1982, was found during excavation to have the largest collection of human remains and artifacts of the early Archaic Period (6,000-5,000 BCE), or more than 8,000 years before present. It has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
The geographic boundaries of the county have changed significantly since its founding by European Americans in the 19th century. The county is named for Judge Theodore W. Brevard, an early settler and state comptroller.
In federal maps printed before 2012, nearly half of Brevard was classified as prone to flooding. Most of this was in the relatively undeveloped low-lying areas, west of Interstate 95, on the banks of the St. Johns River. About 18,900 homes out of 164,000 single-family homes were in that area.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,557 square miles (4,030 km2), of which 1,016 square miles (2,630 km2) is land and 541 square miles (1,400 km2) (34.8%) is water. Most of the water is the Atlantic Ocean, the St. Johns River and the Indian River Lagoon. The county is larger in area than the nation of Samoa and nearly the same size, and population, as Cape Verde. It is one-third the size of the state of Rhode Island.
Located halfway between Jacksonville and Miami, Brevard County extends 72 miles (116 km) from north to south, and averages 26.5 miles (42.6 km) wide. Marshes in the western part of this county are the source of the St. Johns River. Emphasizing its position as halfway down Florida are two roads that have been numbered halfway down Florida's numbering system, State Road 50 and State Road 500.
The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway along the eastern edge of Brevard County is the major waterway route in Brevard County. It includes the Indian River. Additional waterways include Lake Washington, Lake Poinsett, Lake Winder, Sawgrass Lake, the St. Johns River, and the Banana River. Dredging for the Intracoastal created 41 spoil islands in the Brevard portion of the Indian River.
Brevard County is the sole county in the Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area (formerly the Melbourne-Titusville-Cocoa, Florida Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area and Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area).
There is no major urban center. The county is unofficially divided into three sections: North County, comprising Titusville, Mims and Port St. John; Central Brevard, which includes Cocoa, Rockledge, Merritt Island, and Cocoa Beach; and South County, which includes Melbourne, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and the South Beaches. The South Beaches is a term that measures direction south from the dividing line of Patrick Air Force Base, and includes South Patrick Shores, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, Indialantic, and Melbourne Beach.
The county government has historically labeled the beach areas differently. The North Reach includes 9.4 miles (15.1 km) in Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. The Patrick Air Force Base beach is 4.1 miles (6.6 km). The Mid Reach includes the 7.6 miles (12.2 km) in Satellite Beach. The South Reach includes the 3.8 miles (6.1 km) in Indialantic and Melbourne Beach. The South Beaches include 14.5 miles (23.3 km) south of Melbourne Beach to Sebastian.
The United States Board on Geographic Names is considering two proposals to officially name the barrier island extending from Port Canaveral to Sebastian Inlet. The 45-mile-long (72 km) island includes the cities of Cape Canaveral, Cocoa Beach, Indialantic, Melbourne Beach, Patrick Air Force Base, Indian Harbour Beach, and Satellite Beach. The American Indian Association of Florida submitted in October 2011 a proposal to name the island after the Ais people. In January 2012 the United Third Bridge and the Florida Puerto Rican/Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Melbourne submitted a proposal to name the island after Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León. The Board of Geographic Names usually takes at least eight months to decide on a new name for a geographical feature.
The county has nine major canals. Some of these, such as the C-1 and C-54, are 100 feet (30 m) wide, giving them the capacity to handle excessive rainfall that may accompany tropical storms or hurricanes.
The following are regularly used for transportation and drainage:
- Canaveral Barge Canal, Courtenay – transportation
- Faulk Canal, Rockledge
- Grand Canal, Tropic
- Haulover Canal, Mims – transportation
- Melbourne Tillman Canal, Melbourne West – drainage
- Old Canal, Wilson
- C-1 (Canal 1), which is maintained by the Melbourne-Tillman Water Control District
- C-54 Canal – on the south Brevard County Line – drainage
- L-15 Canal – Crane Creek Drainage District which has a watershed of about 12,000 acres (4,900 ha).
The underlying limestone in the county is relatively young at 150,000 years old. This means that the ground will not develop the sinkholes that are prevalent in the spine of Florida, where limestone is from 15 to 25 million years old. The soil contains high levels of phosphorus.
The county has a Köppen climate classification of Cf with a year-round distribution of rainfall. This means a humid subtropical climate with hot, humid summers. There are distinct wet and dry seasons. The dry lasts from December through May, the wet from June through November. During the dry season, periods of drought often occur, and can lead to a persistent and high wild land fire threat. In numerous instances these fires have caused property damage. Several fires in 2008 forced the evacuation of Bayside High School. In the town of Palm Bay. In this particular event 162 homes were damaged.
January is the coldest month, with an average low of 50.7 °F (10.4 °C) and an average high 71 °F (22 °C). The warmest months are July and August with average highs of 90 °F (32 °C) and average lows of 72.2. The driest month is April with 1.6 inches (4.1 cm) of rainfall; the wettest is September, with 6.6 inches (17 cm).
Florida is a large subtropical state that is regularly affected by hurricanes. Although Brevard County is located along Florida's eastern peninsula, because of associated weather patterns, it is less frequently hit by direct hurricane landfalls than are portions of the Panhandle or South Florida. There are two predominant reasons for this. First, westward-moving tropical systems often reach an atmospheric ridge weakness in the Bermuda High by the time they approach Florida at a latitude as northerly as Brevard County. Combined with frontal systems that exit the United States' East Coast, many of these tropical systems are steered northwest and eventually curve northward offshore along Florida's East Central Coast. A second reason is that hurricanes making landfall along the Florida peninsula Gulf Coast often weaken to a tropical storm by the time they move northeast and reach Brevard County. (2004's Charley was an exception). No major hurricane, defined as category 3 or higher, has struck Brevard since 1850, the beginning of recorded climate.
Although residents may refer to past storms as "hurricanes", by the time they strike the county, most have subsided to tropical storms or depressions. But because of the threat of storm surge, the beach community on the barrier island is often required to evacuate well in advance of the storm. The possibility of storm surge is diminished when the storm comes across the state instead of directly from the Atlantic.
Five hurricanes have directly affected Brevard since 1950: David (September 3, 1979); Erin (August 2, 1995) – made landfall near Sebastian Inlet and caused mostly minor wind damage and more extensive flooding countywide; Charley (August 13, 2004) – caused damage in Titusville and North Brevard; Frances (September 3, 2004) – struck neighboring Vero Beach in Indian River County directly and caused widespread wind damage throughout Brevard; and Jeanne (September 26, 2004) – struck Vero Beach directly, following very nearly the same path as Frances. The latter two storms caused widespread damage in South Brevard, and resulted in $2.8 billion in claim payments. Slightly more than half of one percent (0.6%) of houses were lost.
Tropical Storm Fay dropped a record rainfall of 27.65 inches (70.2 cm) in 2008.
The winter of 2009–2010 was the coldest on record since 1937, when such records were first kept. Planting season, which normally starts around February 14, came six weeks later instead. Some flowers and herbs are planted as early as January. December 2010 was the coldest December on record.
Brevard County works together with the federal and state government to control pollution and preserve wetlands and coastal areas through lands dedicated to conservation and wildlife protection.
There are 250 square miles (650 km2) of federally protected wildlife refuges. These lands include Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, the Canaveral National Seashore, the St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge, the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, several conservation areas managed by the St. Johns River Water Management District, Brevard County's Environmentally Endangered Lands Program Sanctuaries, and lands dedicated by the State as conservation areas.
There are 4,000 species of animals locally. Common mammals include North American river otters, bobcats, white-tailed deer, raccoons, marsh rabbits, and opossum. Feral pigs, introduced by Europeans, present an occasional traffic hazard. Lovebug season occurs twice annually in May and August–September. Motorists, usually, encounter swarms of these while driving during a four-week period. Deer flies are particularly noticeable from April through June. There were 596 manatees in Brevard County in 2009, out of a total of 3,802 in the state. This is a decline from 2007 when there was a total of 859 out of a state total of 2,817. Bottlenose dolphin are commonly seen in the intercoastal waterway. The poisonous brown recluse spider is not native to the area but has found the environment congenial. The Florida Butterfly Monitoring Network has counted species of butterflies monthly for a year since 2007. In 2010, it counted 45 species. Included are zebra swallowtail butterflies. Fish and reptiles include alligators, red snapper, sea turtles, scrub lizards, and rat snakes. There are an estimated 3,500 gopher tortoises in the county. They are on the endangered list.
Turkey vultures, a migrating species, are protected by federal law. They migrate north in the summer and return in September.
The county's most common winter bird is the lesser scaup, a diving duck. In 2008, half a million were counted. In 2010, 15,000 were estimated. Local bird counts indicate that there are at least 163 species of birds in the county. Other birds include the red-shouldered hawk, the loggerhead shrike, the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker, Cooper's hawks, pileated woodpeckers, Savannah sparrows, rails (which also includes coots), Florida scrub jays (an endangered species), wood storks, grackles, great horned owls, northern mockingbirds, brown thrashers, catbirds, green-winged teals, greater yellowlegs, western sandpipers, least sandpipers, dowitchers, and American white pelicans. Peak migration in the fall is from the last week in September through the first week in October. Fall migration tends to be stronger than spring because birds typically take different flyways.
Live oak trees, various grasses, and juniper plants were sufficiently common to generate pollen noticeable by some people in February 2011. Native trees include cabbage palm (the state tree of Florida), fringetree, coral bean, sweet acacia, geiger tree, firebush, beautyberry, coral honeysuckle, and blanket flower. Native plants include sea grape, red mulberry, purslane, dandelion, Spanish bayonet, blackberry, Jerusalem artichoke, dogwood, and gallberry.
On the east coast of the state, mangroves have normally dominated the coast from Cocoa Beach southward. Northward these may compete with salt marshes moving in from the north, depending on the annual weather conditions.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
1990-2000 2010-2015 2018
According to the 2000 census, the county had about 80,000 veterans. 21% of the population older than 18 is a veteran. This had dropped to 74,000 in 2010. This was 21% of the people in the county. An actual count by a local agency in 2010 indicated that 225 of veterans were homeless. In 2007, a local census by volunteers counted 1,899 homeless residents.
- White (non-Hispanic) (83.0% when including White Hispanics): 77.6% 17.3% English, 15.7% Irish, 12.8% German, 8.7% Italian, 4.0% French, 3.6% Polish, 2.5% Scottish, 2.2% Scotch-Irish, 1.9% Dutch, 1.2% Swedish, 1.0% French Canadian, 0.9% Norwegian, 0.8% Russian, 0.7% Hungarian, 0.7% Welsh, 0.5% Greek, 0.5% Portuguese
- Black (non-Hispanic) (10.1% when including Black Hispanics): 9.7% (2.2% West Indian/Afro-Caribbean American [1.0% Jamaican, 0.6% Haitian, 0.1% Trinidadian and Tobagonian, 0.1% Other or Unspecified West Indian, 0.1% British West Indian, 0.1% Bahamian,] 0.6% Subsaharan African)
- Hispanic or Latino of any race: 8.1% (3.2% Puerto Rican, 1.3% Mexican, 0.9% Cuban)
- Asian: 2.1% (0.5% Indian, 0.5% Filipino, 0.3% Chinese, 0.3% Other Asian, 0.3% Vietnamese, 0.1% Korean, 0.1% Japanese)
- Two or more races: 2.6%
- American Indian and Alaska Native: 0.4%
- Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander: 0.1%
- Other Races: 1.7% (0.5% Arab)
In 2010, 8.3% of the population considered themselves to be of only "American" ancestry (regardless of race or ethnicity.)
There were 229,692 households out of which 23.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.28% were married couples living together, 11.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.40% were non-families. 28.44% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.53% (4.00% male and 8.53% female) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.84.
The population was distributed by age with 19.8% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 21.5% from 25 to 44, 30.4% from 45 to 64, and 20.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45.5 years. For every 100 females there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.9 males. In 2010, the oldest person in the county was a 110-year-old Titusville man.
The median income for a household in the county was $49,523, and the median income for a family was $60,842. Males had a median income of $48,191 versus $33,276 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,606. About 7.2% of families and 10.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.4% of those under age 18 and 6.9% of those aged 65 or over.
In 2010, 8.6% of the county's population was foreign born, with 59.4% being naturalized American citizens. Of foreign-born residents, 49.1% were born in Latin America, 22.9% were born in Europe, 18.3% born in Asia, 6.4% in North America, 2.4% born in Africa, and 0.9% were born in Oceania.
In 2010, 90% of residents had a high school degree, compared with 85% statewide. In 2009, 25.7% of residents had an undergraduate degree, below the national average of 27.7%, but the same as the rest of Florida. 14.7% of residents over 25 had undergraduate degrees in engineering. This is almost twice the national average.
In 2012, the Urban Institute ranked the Brevard metro fourth in the country for racial equality. Criteria were integration of neighborhoods, income, and the quality of schools minorities attend. The area was ranked first for Hispanic equality with whites.
As of 2010, 90.20% of all residents spoke English as their first language, while 5.29% spoke Spanish, 0.62% German, 0.61% French, and 0.47% French Creole (mostly Haitian Creole) as their mother language. In total, 9.80% of the population spoke languages other than English as their primary language.
- Protestants 95,202
- Evangelical Protestant 59,301
- Mainline Protestant 35,901
- Catholics 79,847
- Orthodox Christians 2,804
- Other 8,663
- Unclaimed 289,714
Metropolitan Statistical Area
The United States Office of Management and Budget has designated Brevard County as the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area. The United States Census Bureau ranked the Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL Metropolitan Statistical Area as the 98th most populous metropolitan statistical area and the 96th most populous primary statistical area of the United States as of July 1, 2012.
Brevard county commissioners are elected by the public to establish ordinances and policies for the county. The Commission appoints a County Manager, who executes the will of the Commission. The county employed about 2,900 workers in 2009.
There are 16 autonomous municipal governments within the county. The various cities, towns and villages of Brevard have varying reliance on services provided by the Brevard County government. About 100,000 households are located outside organized municipalities, and their occupants are directly served by the county government.
A centrally located County Government Center in Viera was established to provide more accessible services to residents in the southern part of the county. It houses the various county government branches, including Housing and Human Services, Juvenile Justice, Public Safety, Public Works and Solid Waste Management.
The Brevard County government had annual expenditures just over $1 billion in the fiscal year 2009–2010, exclusive of the municipalities. In 2009, real estate taxes for homesteaded property averaged .83% of the value of the property. Real estate taxes are levied by each authority. They are collected by the County Tax Collector. The total taxable real estate base was $33.7 billion in 2009. County taxes rose 26.5% in total per capita revenue from 2002 to 2007, and 49.8% in property tax per capita in the same time frame. Delinquent taxes were $36 million in 2008.
- District 1 – Rita Pritchett
- District 2 – Bryan Lober, Vice Chair
- District 3 – John Tobia
- District 4 – Curt Smith
- District 5 – Kristine Isnardi, Chair
The following are considered state officials but are elected and paid by the county:
- Sheriff – Wayne Ivey
- Clerk of the Courts – Scott Ellis. The clerk's office had 323 workers, including subcontractors.
- Brevard Property Appraiser – Dana Blickley
- Tax Collector – Lisa Cullen
- Supervisor of Elections – Lori Scott
- State Attorney – Phil Archer
- Public Defender – Blaise Trettis
The county lies within two state senatorial districts:
- the 14th (covering the northern part of the county, held by Republican Tom A. Wright)
- the 17th (covering the southern part of the county, held by Republican Debbie Mayfield)
The county lies within four state representative districts:
- the 50th (covering the northwestern part of the county, held by Republican Rene Plasencia)
- the 51st (covering the northeastern part of the county, held by Republican Tyler Sirois)
- the 52nd (covering the central part of the county, held by Republican Thad Altman)
- the 53rd (covering the southern part of the county, held by Republican Randy Fine)
Prior to the creation of districts in 1967, state representatives were elected by county. This geographic representation resulted in a longstanding domination of the state legislature by rural interests, as it did not recognize changing patterns of settlement and business in the state.
The county has centralized most county and circuit courts in Viera which try a variety of cases including felonies, misdemeanors, traffic, and domestic. The courthouse in Titusville provides the venue for circuit and county cases arising in the north part of the county while the courthouse in Melbourne is the venue for county cases arising in the southern portion of the county. An elected State Attorney prosecutes criminal cases for the State of Florida. Indigent defendants can be represented by the office of the elected Public Defender. The 18th Circuit Court includes Seminole County as well as Brevard and covers not only the court itself but the State Attorney and the Public Defender. In 2008, the public defender had a staff of 45 lawyers in Brevard who handled about 24,000 cases annually.
The County elects a sheriff, directly responsible to the courts but also to the state for the enforcement of state laws. Police chiefs, appointed by their cities or towns, perform the same function locally. There is no overlap in jurisdictions. Some volunteers work alongside paid professionals.
Most municipalities are located on at least one waterway. This has resulted in the county and seven cities having a boat or access to one to aid boaters, or to enforce the law in the water in their jurisdiction.
The county jail is a 1976 facility which rapidly became overcrowded. Voters rejected expanding the jail on four occasions. The sheriff solved the problem by the construction of a large but less expensive "hardened tent" to house non-violent offenders. Crowding reached its peak in 2007 at 1,988 inmates, 300 over capacity. The budget for the facility was $42 million in 2010. There were 1,585 residents. Costs for feeding and housing was $72 per inmate daily. There were 475 staff members.
The county jail retains inmates awaiting trial or those who have been sentenced to a year or less. Longer sentences must be served in state prisons, such as the facility in Sharpes for young men.
The States Attorney's Office sponsors the Victim/Witness Services. This provides advocates to alleged victims of violent crime and their families. The advocate helps the family understand the legal system as they navigate through it. They also seek out financial assistance or counseling they might need. In 2005 they helped 8,448 alleged victims in Brevard County.
Public safety for unincorporated areas of the county is the responsibility of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. All but three of the 17 incorporated municipalities, Malabar, Cape Canaveral and Palm Shores, maintain their own law enforcement services. Those three contract that service to the Sheriff's Office.
In 2009, there were 1,200 law enforcement officers working in the county, of which 361 are sheriff's deputies. The number of Sheriff's deputies had risen to 843 in 2015. Of all crime that came to the attention of the sheriff's office in 2007, 80% was drug-related. From January to June 2009, the county reported a total of 10,037 crimes. Of these, a majority, 3.002, were under the jurisdiction of the sheriff's department. In 2009, the crime rate was 3,471.3 property-related crimes per 100,000 residents, slightly above the national average.
Public safety for Port Canaveral is under the direction of the Port Authority. Traditionally, emphasis was placed on monitoring the content of containerized cargo on incoming ships, as well as underwater inspection of arriving ships that could be carrying explosive devices. In 2008, the Canaveral Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved the creation of an independent police department.
In 2017, the Florida Highway Patrol had about 32 troopers working different shifts on the I-95 interstate, and the unincorporated parts of the county. Normally there were five or six officers per shift.
In 2017, the fatality rate for pedestrians was the second worst for metropolitan areas in the nation. In 2017, the most dangerous road for bicycles and pedestrians was on State Road A1A from Cocoa Beach to Cape Canaveral.
Three cities provide potable water and sewage for their cities and surrounding areas: Cocoa, Melbourne, and Titusville. Where available, residents were obligated to hook into the system. In 2012, there were 90,000 septic tanks.
More than 200 parks, and three campgrounds in the county are managed by local government agencies. Many of these are managed by the Brevard County Parks and Recreation, an agency within the Brevard County Government. There are 25 public golf courses and three private ones. Due to dwindling numbers of golfers, five courses closed from 2004 to 2017. In 2017, three public courses were being considered for closure.
In 11 sanctuaries that protect natural ecosystems, the county's Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program offers passive recreation opportunities such as hiking, wildlife viewing, biking and paddling. In 2013, there was a total of 24,000 acres (9,700 ha), with 62 miles (100 km) of trails and 120 miles (190 km) of fire lanes. The quantity of fire lanes was considered insufficient.
The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Canaveral National Seashore are two national wildlife refuges in the county that offer recreational pursuits such as hiking, wildlife viewing, paddling, and environmental education.
Brevard County tries to provide a number of services to help the aged, juveniles, the physically and mentally handicapped, and minorities.
According to the Secretary of State's office, Republicans are a plurality of registered voters in Brevard County.
|Brevard County Voter Registration & Party Enrollment as of August 31, 2017|
|Political Party||Total Voters||Percentage|
In 2010 and 2011, the Brookings Institution reported that Brevard ranked in the bottom fifth of the nation's top metro areas, based on unemployment, gross metropolitan product, housing prices and foreclosed properties. Foreclosures reached a monthly high of 963 in March 2009. The county reached an annual high foreclosure in 2009 of 9,772. In December 2010, Forbes magazine rated the area the worst place in America to find a job.
Though the area has a relatively small number of high technology companies, 736, a business journal ranked it eighth in the country as a high tech center in 2009. The area had 23,096 high-tech jobs with a ratio of 124 per 1,000 total jobs.
As of the census of 2000:
- Median income for a family – $47,571
- Median income for males – $36,542
- Median income for females – $24,632
- Per capita income – $21,484. The county has the 17th highest per capita income in the state (out of 67).
- Median income for a household – $40,099
- In 2005, the median income for a household had risen to $43,281
The county ranked 17th for per capita income, out of Florida's 67 counties.
The following were below the poverty line in 2000:
- Families – 6.80%
- Total population – 9.50%
- Under age 18 – 13.00%
- Age 65 or older – 6.50%
In 2012, 79,621 people in the county were receiving food stamps.
84,401 households in the county (38%) received social security payments in 2009 averaging $16,136 for a total of $1.7 billion annually. 53,717 (24%) received pension payments averaging $24,327 for a total of $1.3 billion annually.
In 2018, an official observed another possible housing bubble in the making. There were 250,000 housing units for a population of 580,000, ample for their needs. The population is not growing rapidly, new housing is being constructed. Nevertheless, prices are surging.
The taxable value of property went from $20 billion in 2002 to $40 billion in 2007. In 2009 the bubble burst and a rapid descent to $24 billion was experienced. in 2017, the value rose to $35 billion. The last figure includes new construction.
In 2011, the county was rated 6th worst in the country for foreclosures. There were 1,039 for the third quarter of 2010. Nearly half the homes in the county were worth less than their mortgages. The average home had dropped 53.4% since the peak of the boom. In 2012, the county was the highest in foreclosure rate in the nation. In 2013, the metro area was rated "best" in the country for buying, with a 34 months supply of houses, with a discount rate of 28%, according to RealtyTrac. It has since reduced its backlog.
Monthly foreclosures exceeded 746 from January 2009 through October. Maximum monthly home sales were less than 584 during that time frame, creating an accumulating backlog of unsold homes. In 2010, there were 15,000 more vacant homes than the economy could absorb; the population was not growing.
After various insurance companies pulled out of Florida after their losses from the 2004 hurricane season, property insurance became a major concern for many homeowners. As of 2011, 32,000 Brevard policyholders insure with the state-owned Citizens Property Insurance Corporation.
The average non-foreclosed house sold for $143,000 in 2010, down from $147,000 in 2009. The average foreclosed house sold for $70,000 down from $81,000 in 2009. 25% of the houses sold in 2010 had been foreclosed. Total foreclosures rose from 2,200 in 2009 to 4,100 in 2010.
In 2008 Brevard expected to have 100,000-300,000 more people by 2020, an increase of 60%.
In 2008, there were 1,550 permits for residential projects valued at $355.45 million. That is the lowest number of filings since 1975. The lowest number of building permits was in 2009, 937. The highest was in 2005, 8,663.
In 2010 Kiplinger.com rated the county one of five "best" places in America to retire. Factors evaluated included cost of living, weather, the number of doctors, taxes, crime rates and recreational opportunities.
The company developing West Viera gained state permission and county acquiescence to create a self-governing board that could raise taxes and sell bonds to pay for roads, water lines, pumping stations and other infrastructure needed to support the construction of 16,500 houses, apartments and condominiums. The company proved that development could fund itself.
The Brevard economy has been driven by Trade, Transportation and Utilities (18%), Professional and Business Services (17%), Total government (15%), Education and Health (14%), Manufacturing (12%), Leisure and hospitality (10%), Construction (6%), Financial (4%).
Port Canaveral is one of the world's busiest cruise port. There are seven cruise lines, with six major cruise terminals. There is 750,000 square feet (70,000 m2) of covered freight storage capacity. It handled 4,000,000 short tons (3,600,000 t) of cargo in 2004. The port has contributed $500 million annually to the county's economy.
American City Business Journals rated Brevard 7th for quality of life out of 67.
A concern has been the probable reassignment of thousands of Space Coast workers when the Space Shuttle is discontinued in 2010. In 2010, 9,000 jobs were expected to be lost from the shuttle and other programs. Each launch contributed $4 million to the county's economy. Annually,$78 million is spent at the Space Center Visitor's Complex, and $5.9 million from space business visitors.
L3Harris Technologies, headquartered in the county, has the most employees in the private sector, 6,700 in 2009.
Two locally headquartered builders, Mercedes Homes and Holiday, were among the top 30 in the nation. Mercedes had $1 billion in sales in 2004.
There are 15 Community Redevelopment agencies in the county. They are funded from real estate taxes in the affected area. Cocoa has three, and Eau Gallie, one.
Inc. magazine selected two local small companies as among the fastest growing in the country over the past three years – Applied Global Technology (nearly 100% annually) and Stops (nearly 200% annually).
Though the area has a relatively small number of high technology companies, 736, a business journal ranked it eighth in the country as a high tech center in 2009. The area had 23,096 high-tech jobs with a ratio of 124 per 1,000 total jobs.
The county had 1,050 restaurants in 2007 and nearly that many (1,040) in 2010. There were 22,600 leisure and hospitality workers in the county in 2006. This figure includes hotel workers. That figure had dropped 8.5% to 20,700 in 2010.
In the early 2010s, the Shiloh area was proposed by Space Florida as a potential location for the development of a commercial-only spaceport. Located immediately north of the U.S. Government's Kennedy Space Center, the open access to the flyover range on the open Atlantic Ocean to the east, and easy access to the tracking facilities of the Eastern Test Range make the location an attractive launch site. Among other potential users of the commercial spaceport facility, SpaceX was reported to be considering Shiloh as one of several potential locations for building a commercial launch facility.
Military installations in Brevard County include Patrick Air Force Base, near Satellite Beach, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), adjacent to the Kennedy Space Center, and the U.S. Air Force Malabar Test Facility on Minton Road in suburban Palm Bay. In 2009, they employed a total of 2,000 civilian federal workers.
The Navy maintains a Trident turning basin at Port Canaveral for ballistic missile submarines. The Naval Ordnance Test Unit (NOTU) tests weapons on these subs, which arrive at the rate of one a month. 160 ships visited their two piers in 2017. The 2005 base closures included realigning NOTU out of state. The community was successful in having this decision revoked. The unit employs 100 military personnel and 900 civilian contractors.
CCAFS houses the Air Force Space & Missile Museum as Launch Complex 26, where many unmanned rockets were launched early in the U.S. space program, including Explorer 1, the first US spacecraft placed in earth orbit.
Citrus growers include Victory Groves and Harvey's Indian River Groves.
The county ranked 21 out of 24 Florida counties in the shipment of gift fruit.
There are 40 4-H-related clubs in the county, including livestock- and pet-related and after-school clubs. As in all Cooperative extension service, a land grant college, the University of Florida, conducted over 60 courses in 2010 in aid of 4-H programs and other agricultural pursuits.
In February 2010, the USDA declared that Brevard, along with of 59 other Florida counties, was a "primary natural disaster area". This happened when the temperature falls below 28 °F (−2 °C)c degrees for 4 hours, where crops are being grown.
In 2016, tourism represents about 9% of the county's gross domestic product. The industry employs about 13% of the workforce.
In 2008, tourists spent $2.89 billion in the county. This is distributed in several categories: lodging $839 million, eating and drinking $509 million, Kennedy Space Center $597 million, retail sales $450 million, entertainment $120 million, and Port Canaveral $109 million. Brevard tourists come mainly from ten states: Florida itself is first, followed by Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Virginia, Wisconsin, Georgia, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. The five primary sources of foreign visitors are Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, China, and Italy.
In 2009, there were 2.4 million overnight visitors in the county. There were 1.2 million day visitors. In 2013, a city manager estimated that 20% of income from tourism comes during spring break.
Brevard competes with other Florida areas for tourists. A number of organizations help promote the area. The Space Coast Office of Tourism consists of county staff and the Brevard County Tourist Development Council (TDC). They attempt to attract tourists. The TDC serves as an advisory council to the county on the expenditures of revenues received from a tourist tax. This revenue is spent on beach improvements, visitor information centers and website, promotion and advertising, the Brevard Zoo, additional beach improvements and the Space Coast Stadium.
$97.7 million has been spent on beach replenishment in the county between 2000 and 2010. This was funded 58% by the federal government, 27% by the state and 15% by the county.
In 2008, the county had 11,000 hotel rooms available. In July 2007, there was a 66.1% occupancy rate. In 2008, the county had a nearly identical 81%+ occupancy rate in March and April. This fell to a seasonal low of 42.3% in September. In January 2010, the average hotel room rate was $88.25.
Cocoa Main Street, a member of the Florida and National Main Street Programs, works toward restoring business sites in the historic area known as "Cocoa Village". Cocoa Main Street has received six Florida Main Street Awards given by the Secretary of State. The restored area is a tourist attraction and an economic magnet. Melbourne Main Street is another historic business area and tourist attraction restored through the Main Street Programs.
Brevard has five judged art festivals annually attracting tens of thousands of people to art displays. Most festivals are held in the spring or fall when many tourists can attend. Many other annual festivals are held in parks and public sites throughout the year. The Brevard Cultural Alliance (BCA) maintains an event calendar and a map of sites of historic, cultural, and ecological interest.
The annual Florida Key Lime Pie Festival is held beach side every Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. In 2018 The Florida Key Lime Pie Company successfully made the World's largest key lime pie.
The annual Grant Seafood Festival attracts as many as 50,000 people for the two-day February event. It is the Southeast's largest and longest running seafood festival.
In 2010 a local group compared the county against four other "peer" cities: Austin, Texas, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Huntsville, Alabama, and Raleigh, North Carolina. It evaluated nine areas: business dynamism/vitality, competitiveness, education, economic growth, economic prosperity, livability, productivity/labor supply, technology and innovation/work force. While the county does well against national figures, and scored high in livability, it usually ranked last against these "peers" in the other eight areas.
In 2009, Forbes ranked the county 18th out of 100 MSAs and first out of 8 metros in Florida for affordable housing and short commute times, among others.
In May 2009, the Palm Bay-Melbourne area was ranked as the #8 tech center in the United States by Bizjournals. It overcame its low number of total high-tech companies and jobs by having a high number of jobs per high tech company (#4) and high tech jobs compared to total private-sector jobs (#2).
Forbes magazine ranked Melbourne 2nd out of 150 metropolitan areas in the US, for the percentage of the population that are engineers, 6.6%, just ahead of Silicon Valley.
In 2006, Forbes magazine named Harris Corporation, headquartered in Brevard, to its "Platinum 400" List.
The Technological Research and Development Authority, based on the Space Coast, delivers technologies to schools and small businesses throughout the state of Florida. They obtain this information through strategic alliances with NASA, the federal government, the aerospace industry and state partners. They also sponsor a business incubator at the Melbourne Airport.
Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is the largest employer in the county with 15,000 contractors and civil servants. While there is concern about the new generation of space vehicles requiring 1/3 fewer workers, about that number were eligible for retirement by 2011.
Brevard County Teachers are represented by the Brevard Federation of Teachers (AFT).
In 2009, average annual salaries in the county for engineers was $90,563; registered nurses $53,315; education $49,441; police officers $43,035; cooks $21,569; and cashiers $19,489. The average annual pay for all workers was then $42,411.
In 2005, the Next Generation Consulting for Leadership Brevard, a leadership development organization for local business and civic groups, and Brevard Tomorrow commissioned a survey of people 21-44. Basically, these people often found the area "boring", mainly because it is family-friendly at the expense of being singles-friendly. While this may have labor repercussions later, currently business is having no problems hiring.
The county had an unemployment rate of 12.7% in January 2010, a 20-year record high. In March 2010, there were 33, 500 people out of work. The county experienced a record low unemployment in 2005 of 2.8%. There were 32,608 people unemployed in the county in January 2011.
There were 168,500 private sector jobs in the county in 2009. The Bureau of Labor Statistics counted the following workers in Brevard along with average annual pay ($): Retail 25,900 ($23,361), Manufacturing 21,700 ($65,521), Local government 20,100 ($42,517) and Hospitality 19,600 ($15,857). The largest local employer is Brevard Public Schools with 9,500 of whom 5,000 are teachers.
In 2007, Space Coast Credit Union was the largest locally based financial institution in Brevard County and the third largest credit union in the state of Florida, with assets of over $3 billion.
In 2011, Wells Fargo, with $1.9 billion in local deposits, had 26% share of the business; SunTrust $1.3 billion, 17%; Bank of America $1.2 billion, 16%; Regions Bank $408 million, 5%; and JPMorgan Chase $379 million, 5%.
In 2011, the majority of groceries were sold in chain stores. Publix has 23 stores; Winn-Dixie has 10; Wal-Mart has 12 stores; the county has three warehouse clubs. 38% of groceries were purchased at Publix, 30% at Wal-Mart superstores, and 7% at Winn-Dixie.
Brevard was ranked 25th in the state, out of 67 counties, for health outcomes in 2014. 22% of residents smoke, 28% are obese, 25% are physically inactive, 20% drink in excess. The county ranked 13 in clinical care, 25th in societal factors (including air pollution and drinking water quality).
In 2013, the County Health Department Director issued a caution about the potential danger of flesh-eating bacteria that inhabit inland estuaries.
The Brevard Alzheimer's Foundation is unique for being a local organization only. It has three adult daycare service locations and often provides transportation and funding.
The Space Coast Early Intervention Center is a nationally recognized not-for-profit pre-school and therapeutic center that offers care and aids with the development of small children with special needs. Children are treated and educated with the specific goal of mainstreaming children diagnosed with the following into public school: Down syndrome, Williams syndrome, cerebral palsy, deletion syndrome, PDDs including Rett syndrome, autism, and Apert syndrome, as well as children with visual, speech and hearing delays.
Health Outreach Prevention & Education (HOPE) is a network of community partners working together to provide care for people without insurance, and for children with special needs. This network includes hospitals.
In 2005-2006, Brevard introduced a federally approved experimental Medicaid program which puts volunteering 60+-year-olds in an HMO-like organization in order to save money.
Dialing 2-1-1 in the county gives response to people in crisis and/or needing information about community resources.
Space Coast Center for Independent Living offers over-all services for individuals with all types of disabilities: peer support, advocacy, skills training, accessibility surveys, support groups, transportation, specialized equipment, sign language interpreter coordination services, and a program for high school students for career development.
Health First is the largest healthcare provider in the county, consisting of three not-for-profit hospitals—Cape Canaveral Hospital in Cocoa Beach, Holmes Regional Medical Center in Melbourne, and Palm Bay Community Hospital in Palm Bay. Besides hospitalization, services include outpatient centers; the county's only trauma center; home care; specialized programs for cancer, diabetes, heart, stroke, and rehabilitative services; central Brevard's largest medical group; three fitness centers; and Medicare Advantage, commercial POS, and commercial HMO health plans. Health First tries to integrate quality healthcare services with state-of-the-art technology.
Health care services tend to cost more in Brevard than Orlando or the statistical average in Florida. In 2009, a nursing home private room averaged $79,023 annually, semi-private $74,643, private one-bedroom assisted living $39,000. A home health aide, Medicare-certified, was $88,660, substantially higher than the Florida average of $51,480. Adult day care (44 hours) was cheaper at $12,870 annually, as was a home health aide "licensed-only" $38,896.
According to 2007 health risk data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Brevard County (Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville MSA) is tied for fourth highest among all Micro- and Metropolitan Statistical Areas in percentage of heavy drinkers.
Former place names
There are place names currently used, or used at one time by the USGS. Some are early developments, while others are former stations along the main line of the Florida East Coast Railway. Several of these disappeared when Kennedy Space Center took over their area.
Higher education is provided by Eastern Florida State College (EFSC) and Florida Institute of Technology. There are satellite campuses for the University of Central Florida, Barry University, Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University, Keiser University, and Webster University.
Elementary and secondary education is provided by the Brevard Public Schools and private schools.
The Brevard County Library System has 17 branches. Although the Merritt Island Public Library is counted as part of the Brevard County Public Library System, it is actually a special library district. In 2005, HB1079 was passed to codify all the special acts that the Merritt Island Public Library District exists under.
- Minor league baseball
In 2009, the Space Coast Surge, a member of the Florida Winter Baseball League, had the Cocoa Stadium as their home stadium.
- Major league baseball
The Washington Nationals held their spring training at Space Coast Stadium in Viera until 2016. They play about 14 games against other professional teams locally in March as part of the "Grapefruit" League.
- Professional basketball
The Brevard Blue Ducks, members of the United States Basketball League (USBL), played their home schedule at the Clemente Center at Florida Tech.
- Minor league football
The Brevard Rams and Space Coast Predators were scheduled to play as members of the Florida Football Alliance in 2010.
- Amateur sports
The county contains about 300 gasoline retail outlets.
- Arthur Dunn Airpark
- Melbourne International Airport
- Merritt Island Airport
- Space Coast Regional Airport
- Valkaria Airport
Public transportation is provided by Space Coast Area Transit.
Florida Power & Light maintains an oil-fired generating plant at Sharpes; it generates 800 megawatts (1,100,000 hp), supplying most of the requirements for the county. In 2008 the company announced plans to replace the plant with a more efficient natural gas-powered plant in 2013 with a 1,250 megawatt capacity, which can supply 250,000 homes or businesses. Near FPL's plant is the Indian River Power Plant; formerly owned by the Orlando Utilities Commission, it is now owned and operated by RRI Energy.
Florida City Gas furnishes natural gas to various areas of the county.
The area code for most of the county became "321" in 1999, as in the "3...2...1... lift-off!" countdown sequence. A small portion of the county along the southern border, including the communities of Micco and Barefoot Bay, share a 772 area code with Indian River County and St. Lucie County, Florida to the south.
The county government maintains various landfills for solid waste. Brevard County Central Disposal Facility is located in Cocoa, has a size 190-acre (77 ha) and receives annually around 275,000 tonnes of waste. In 2011, the average homeowner paid $57 annually to fund the maintenance of these sites. Municipalities and the county contract separately for the pickup and transportation of waste, for which businesses and homeowners pay a separate monthly fee.
In 2013, the county planned a new $100 million landfill, north of State Road 192, near the border with Osceola County, 8.5 miles (13.7 km) west of I-95. The county has awarded a $3.9 million contract for a wetlands mitigation for this new landfill.
In 2013, the county, for the first time, let a seven-year contract out for bids for solid waste. The resulting contract is expected to cost $1 billion over the lifetime of the contract, the county's largest single contract. This was the first time in 20 years, a bid was requested. In the past, Waste Management, Inc has performed the work, not only for the county but for 9 of 16 Brevard municipalities. Waste Pro has five of the remaining municipal contracts. Rockledge and Titusville maintain their own trash service. In 2013, the county directly contracts for solid waste pickup for 100,000 residences.
During one month in 2018, the recycling vendor processed 9,334 short tons (8,468 t) of glass, plastic, cardboard, paper and metal. 2,800 short tons (2,500 t), 38%, of this was polluted with non-recyclable material. It had to be separated and transported to the Central Disposal Facility in Cocoa. This cost the vendor $66,248 ($23.66/US ton) in landfill disposal fees plus $21,000 in transport fees.
In 2017, there were five municipal entities selling water (figures in parentheses are millions of gallons/day): Cocoa (22), Melbourne (19), Palm Bay (6), Titusville (2), and West Melbourne (1). The fifth, Brevard County (1), is low because county areas outside the preceding cities, purchase their water from those cities.
The county controls six Wastewater Treatment Facilities: Mims (900,000 US gallons (3,400,000 l; 750,000 imp gal)/day), Port St. John (500,000 US gallons (1,900,000 l; 420,000 imp gal)/day), South Central (Viera) (12,000,000 US gallons (45,000,000 l; 10,000,000 imp gal)/day), South Beaches, and Barefoot Bay area. Some cities have wastewater treatment plants, as well.
Florida Today is the major daily newspaper serving Melbourne, Brevard County and the Space Coast region of Florida. It is owned by the media conglomerate Gannett. A monthly newspaper, El Playero, serves the Spanish-speaking population of the Space Coast. The weeklies Space Coast Florida Weekly and Home Town News are free newspapers, supported by advertising, that have versions in other Florida counties. Both present local news.
The Brevard Technical Journal is the industry monthly newspaper for business management, engineering, purchasing, manufacturing, and staff. It features news and features about the business and the science of technology in Brevard County.
Local stations licensed to or located in Brevard County include:
Films and television
- Matinee (1993), filmed in Cocoa Village and Cocoa Playhouse
- Apollo 13 (1995), Contact (1997), Armageddon (1998) and Moonraker (1979) all utilized Cape Canaveral or Kennedy Space Center facilities.
- Marvin's Room (1996), filmed in Rockledge
- Nightmare (1981) horror film shot in Merritt Island, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach and Titusville
- A Night in Heaven (1983), filmed in Titusville
- Things Behind the Sun (2001), by independent filmmakers Allison Anders, raised in Cocoa Beach and Cape Canaveral, and Kurt Voss
- Space Cowboys (2000)
- Portions of Jaws 3-D (1983) were filmed on the Minutemen Causeway.
- The Number 23 (2007) shot scenes on the shore of Cocoa Beach.
- I'll Believe You (2007)
- The Manure Film Project: A Crappy Documentary with Absolutely No Budget (2018)
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon, directed by Michael Bay. Filmed in 2010 at Kennedy Space Center's Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB), orbiter processing facilities, and launch pad among other areas
Television series included:
Arts and culture
The Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts, seating 2000, features locally produced and former Broadway shows, ballet, and symphony. Several different performances are scheduled each week.
The Brevard Symphony Orchestra and the Space Coast Ballet offer shows performed by professionals. There is the professional Space Coast Symphony Orchestra. Community orchestras and bands include, but are not limited to, the Melbourne Community Orchestra, the Space Coast Pops and the Community Band of Brevard. Choral groups include the Brevard Community Chorus, the Indialantic Chamber Singers, and the Brevard Youth Chorus.
The Brevard Zoo is a 75 acres (30 ha) facility that contains more than 650 animals representing more than 165 species from Florida, South America, Africa, Asia and Australia. The Zoo offers animal experiences including giraffe and lorikeet feedings, African kayak tours, paddle boats in the wetlands and a train ride.
The Space Coast Ballet incorporates professional principal dancers and instructors together with many roles for local senior talent as well as roles for students. They annually stage The Nutcracker.
- Museums and attractions
The Space Coast has a number of museums from the rocket exhibitions at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex and the Air Force Space and Missile Museum, to local museums and others of unique character, such as the American Police Hall of Fame & Museum.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers an educational look at the accomplishments of America's space program. The Observation Gantry near Launch Complex 39 offers a view of the Space Shuttle launch pads (first built for the Apollo missions), the Vehicle Assembly Building, and the crawlerway over which rockets are taken to the pad. The Apollo/Saturn V Center displays an example of the largest rocket ever launched.
The US Space Walk of Fame in Titusville commemorates the manned space program's history with museum and monuments.
The Brevard Museum of History & Natural Science features the remains of the "Windover Man", the oldest human remains found on the North American continent, and a re-creation of the Windover Dig, a "wet" archaeological site. A visitor may see how Native Americans lived and Florida pioneers survived.
Honor America runs the Liberty Bell Memorial Museum. This houses a replica of the Liberty Bell, historical documents, and patriotic memorabilia. Items are permanent reminders of our nation's history, as well as a memorial to military veterans.
The Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park and Cultural Center features a museum with artifacts and time line of the civil rights movement and the story of Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore, civil rights leaders who were killed when their home was bombed.
During the December holiday season, each of four yacht club parades during the evening in the Indian River/Banana River with holiday lighting on each boat.
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- Melbourne Main Street
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- Eriksen, John (1994). Brevard County, Florida: A Short History to 1955. Melbourne, Florida: JohnEriksen.net/. ASIN B076H69FDW. – This is a documented history of Brevard County, from prehistoric to the space age. Documented with 320 end notes drawn from 1000 sources.
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Media related to Brevard County, Florida at Wikimedia Commons Brevard County travel guide from Wikivoyage Geographic data related to Brevard County, Florida at OpenStreetMap
- Government links and constitutional offices
- Brevard County Government / Board of County Commissioners
- Brevard County Supervisor of Elections
- Brevard County Property Appraiser
- Brevard County Sheriff's Office
- Brevard County Parks and Recreation
- South Central Regional Water Reclamation Facility
- Special districts
- Judicial branch
- Brevard County Clerk of Courts
- Brevard County Public Defender
- Office of the State Attorney, 18th Judicial Circuit serving Brevard and Seminole Counties
- Circuit and County Court for the 18th Judicial Circuit of Florida
- Local references
- Florida Today "Fact Book" on Brevard County
- USF Maps of Historical Brevard County
- Old Florida Map Collection
- North Brevard – Titusville, Florida – Community Directory
- Searchable Database of Brevard County Property Records
- Space Coast Wiki – a community wiki for Brevard County
- General business statistics
- Brevard County Collection on the RICHES Mosaic Interface