Sebring, Florida

Sebring (/ˈsbrɪŋ/ SEE-bring) is a city in Highlands County, Florida, United States, nicknamed "The City on the Circle", in reference to Circle Drive, the center of the Sebring Downtown Historic District.[7] As of the 2010 census the population was 10,491.[3] It is the county seat of Highlands County,[8] and is the principal city of the Sebring Metropolitan Statistical Area.[9]

Sebring, Florida
The City on the Circle
Location in Highlands County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 27°29′44″N 81°26′40″W
CountryUnited States
Incorporated (city)1913
  MayorJohn Shoop
  Total15.96 sq mi (41.34 km2)
  Land10.11 sq mi (26.18 km2)
  Water5.85 sq mi (15.16 km2)  37.8%
Elevation139 ft (41 m)
  Density1,052.54/sq mi (406.38/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
  Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
33870-33872, 33875-33876
Area code(s)863
FIPS code12-64875[5]
GNIS feature ID0290806[6]

Sebring is the home of the Sebring International Raceway, created on a former airbase, first used in 1950. It hosted the 1959 Formula One United States Grand Prix, but is currently best known as the host of the 12 Hours of Sebring, an annual WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race. Nearby Highlands Hammock State Park is a popular attraction. Additionally, the house where novelist Rex Beach committed suicide is located on one of Sebring's main lakes, Lake Jackson.


Sebring was founded in 1912. It was named after George E. Sebring, a pottery manufacturer from Ohio who developed the city. He had a circular plan as the focal point for the city.[10] It was chartered by the state of Florida in 1913, and was selected as the county seat of Highlands County when the county was created in 1921.[11] The village of Sebring, Ohio, is also named for George E. Sebring (1859–1927) and his family.[12]

On January 23, 2019, a SunTrust Bank branch in Sebring was the site of a mass shooting allegedly perpetrated by Zephen Xaver, a 21-year-old Sebring resident and former correctional officer trainee. Five people were killed by Xaver; four employees of the bank and one customer. [13][14]

Geography and climate

Sebring is located in northwestern Highlands County at 27°29′44″N 81°26′40″W.[15] According to the Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.0 square miles (41.5 km2), 10.0 square miles (25.8 km2) of which are land and 6.1 square miles (15.7 km2) of which are water. Water comprises 37.8% of the city's total area.[3]

The city's geography is dominated by 9,212-acre (37 km2) Lake Jackson, but 420-acre (1.7 km2) Dinner Lake and 137-acre (0.6 km2) Little Lake Jackson are also within the city limits. Highlands County has more than 84 lakes,[16] most of which are located in unincorporated areas of the county. Sebring lies on the southern end of the Lake Wales Ridge, a chain of ancient islands that is the native habitat for many rare plants and animals.[17] Most of the area is rural and part of the Florida scrub ecosystem, with smaller areas of hammocks and cypress swamps, similar to those found at Highlands Hammock State Park, 4 miles (6 km) west of Sebring.[18]

Sebring's climate is a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa), with hot, humid summers and mild, dry winters. Unlike most places with a similar climate classification, Sebring's rainfall is clearly seasonal, with approximately 57 percent of the total rainfall occurring in the June–September summer period. However, the variation between the wettest and driest months does not reach the threshold required for climate classification Cwa, which requires the wettest month to have ten times the precipitation of the driest month.[19]

Climate data for Sebring, Florida
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 90
Average high °F (°C) 73
Average low °F (°C) 48
Record low °F (°C) 18
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.48
Source: The Weather Channel [20]


Historical population
Est. 201810,937[4]4.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[21]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 9,667 people, 3,969 households, and 2,305 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,883.7 per square mile (727.6/km²). There were 5,024 housing units at an average density of 979.0 per square mile (378.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.81% White, 15.69% African American, 0.57% Native American, 0.74% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 5.06% from other races, and 2.02% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.00% of the population.

There were 3,969 households out of which 23.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.0% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.9% were non-families. 36.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the city, the population was spread out with 22.1% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 22.8% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 27.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,555, and the median income for a family was $29,915. Males had a median income of $21,799 versus $19,167 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,125. About 17.4% of families and 23.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 36.0% of those under age 18 and 12.0% of those age 65 or over.

As of 2000, speakers of English as a first language accounted for 89.39% of residents. Other languages in the city included Spanish, spoken by 10.18% of the city's residents, and French, spoken by 0.42%.[22]


According to the 2000 American Community Survey (conducted by the US Census Bureau), 13.8% of all adults over the age of 25 in Sebring have obtained a bachelor's degree, as compared to a national average of 24.4% of adults over 25, and 64.0% of Sebring residents over the age of 25 have earned a high school diploma, as compared to the national average of 80.4%.[23] This is the lowest rate of any metro area in the United States.[24] The School Board of Highlands County operates eight public schools drawing from the city of Sebring with a combined enrollment of approximately 6200 students; one kindergarten center, four elementary schools (Woodlawn Elementary, Fred Wild Elementary, Cracker Trail Elementary, and Sun 'n Lake Elementary, serving students in 1st through 5th grades), two middle schools (Sebring Middle School, and Hill-Gustat Middle School, serving students in 6th through 8th grades), and one high school (Sebring High School).[25] One of the elementary schools (Cracker Trail Elementary) received an "A" grade under Florida's A+ school grading plan; two of the elementary schools (Woodlawn and Fred Wild elementary schools) received a "D" grade. Sebring Middle School received a "B",[26] based on pupil results on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Sebring High School, home of the county's sole International Baccalaureate program, received a "B" grade.[27]

The county's graduation rate of 62.1% is below the state average of 74.5%, and the dropout rate of 14.8% is above the state average of 4.9%.[28]

During segregation time, E.O. Douglas High School, Home of the Mighty Tigers, was located in this city for blacks throughout Highlands County. The last graduating class from this school was in 1967. After desegregation, students from E.O. Douglas transferred to schools which were formerly whites-only. The E.O. Douglas campus now houses the headquarters of the School Board of Highlands County.[29]


Sebring has no interstate highways or other limited access roads. U.S. Route 27 (cosigned with U.S. Route 98 in Sebring) is the major artery providing access to the rest of the state. State Road 17 begins in Sebring and heads north to its terminus in Haines City. State Road 64 (to the north) and State Road 66 (to the south) are important secondary roads. Several of Sebring's streets are named after automobile manufacturers or their models, as is evident in Peugeot Street, Ferrari Drive, Porsche Avenue, Vantage Terrace, Corvette Avenue, and Thunderbird Road, to name a few.

Sebring Regional Airport is located a few miles southeast of the city and provides general aviation facilities for Sebring. The airport is also the home of the Sebring International Raceway, the host of the 12 Hours of Sebring, second round of WeatherTech SportsCar Championship automobile race series, held annually in March. The airport has also hosted the annual US Sport Aviation Expo for eight years. The nearest regularly scheduled passenger service is provided at Orlando International Airport, 86 miles (138 km) by road to the north.

The city is served by Amtrak from the Sebring station, a depot built in 1924 by the Seaboard Air Line and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Amtrak's daily service to Sebring consists of two trains each from the Silver Meteor and Silver Star, heading south to Miami and north to Tampa, Orlando and New York City. CSX Transportation owns the track over which Amtrak operates. The South Central Florida Express railroad connects to the CSX line in Sebring, allowing transportation of sugar from Clewiston to the rest of the country.



Sebring is located in a fringe viewing area of the Tampa-St. Petersburg television market (DMA). In addition to the primary Tampa-market television signals, local services offer signals from WFTV, the ABC affiliate in Orlando and WINK, the CBS affiliate in Fort Myers/Naples.


Sebring is the largest city in the Sebring radio market, which is ranked as the 288th largest in the United States by Arbitron.[30] Radio stations broadcasting from Sebring include WFHT (1390AM), WGSE (95.7FM/Religious), WWLL (105.7FM/Adult Contemporary), WITS (1340AM/Religion ), and WJCM (1050AM/ESPN). The latter three are co-owned with WWOJ (99.1FM/Country), licensed to neighboring Avon Park and WWTK (730AM/News-Talk), licensed to Lake Placid, to the south. The five stations together operate from studios in Sebring on Highway 27 near the town's northern city limit.

Notable people


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  2. "Sebring, Florida (33870)". Weather Underground. Retrieved July 20, 2007.
  3. "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Sebring city, Florida". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
  4. "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved August 14, 2019.
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  7. "Sebring, Florida History". Sebring Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved August 14, 2007.
  8. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  9. "OMB Bulletin No. 13-01: Revised Delineations of Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Micropolitan Statistical Areas, and Combined Statistical Areas, and Guidance on Uses of the Delineations of These Areas" (PDF). United States Office of Management and Budget. February 28, 2013. Retrieved April 15, 2013.
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  14. "Zephen Xaver: Suspected Sebring bank shooter was a former prison guard trainee". WFTS. January 24, 2019. Retrieved January 24, 2019.
  15. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
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  17. "Lake Wales Ridge". The Nature Conservancy. Archived from the original on July 3, 2007. Retrieved July 20, 2007.
  18. "Highlands Hammock State Park" (PDF) (Press release). Florida Park System. January 2005. Retrieved July 20, 2007.
  19. "Brief Guide to Koeppen Climate Classification System". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved August 27, 2007.
  20. "Monthly Averages for Sebring, FL". The Weather Channel. Retrieved July 28, 2007.
  21. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  22. "MLA Data Center Results for Sebring, Florida". Modern Language Association. Retrieved October 14, 2007.
  23. "Sebring city, Florida – Fact Sheet". US Census Bureau. Retrieved September 13, 2007.
  24. "Cities where the fewest people graduate high school". USA Today. Retrieved August 21, 2018.
  25. "Schools". School Board of Highlands County. Archived from the original on August 1, 2009. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  26. "2012-13 School Grades for Elementary, Middle, and Elementary/Middle Combination Schools" (PDF). Florida Department of Education. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  27. "Detailed Information on High Schools" (XLS). Florida Department of Education. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
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  30. "Ratings–Sebring Market". Arbitron. Archived from the original on April 8, 2008. Retrieved August 13, 2007.
  31. 'Former Justice Parker Lee McDonald dies at 93,' Tallahassee Democrat, Craig Walters, June 24, 2017
  32. "Thomas McGuire: Full Medal of Honor citation". Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Retrieved October 24, 2008.
  33. "Frankie Neal". Retrieved November 9, 2010.
  34. "Player File:Gabe White". Major League Baseball.

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