Hillsborough County, Florida

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Hillsborough County, Florida
Courthouse & Confederate Memorial-Hillsborough County, Florida.jpg
The Hillsborough County courthouse, in May 2010.
Flag of Hillsborough County, Florida
Logo of Hillsborough County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Hillsborough County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
FoundedJanuary 25, 1834
Named forWills Hill, Earl of Hillsborough
Largest cityTampa
 • Total1,266.22 sq mi (3,279 km2)
 • Land1,050.91 sq mi (2,722 km2)
 • Water215.31 sq mi (558 km2), 17.00%
Population (Est.)
 • (2013)1,291,578
 • Density1,170/sq mi (451.6/km²)
Congressional districts12th, 14th, 15th, 17th
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5/-4
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Hillsborough County, Florida
Courthouse & Confederate Memorial-Hillsborough County, Florida.jpg
The Hillsborough County courthouse, in May 2010.
Flag of Hillsborough County, Florida
Logo of Hillsborough County, Florida
Map of Florida highlighting Hillsborough County
Location in the state of Florida
Map of the United States highlighting Florida
Florida's location in the U.S.
FoundedJanuary 25, 1834
Named forWills Hill, Earl of Hillsborough
Largest cityTampa
 • Total1,266.22 sq mi (3,279 km2)
 • Land1,050.91 sq mi (2,722 km2)
 • Water215.31 sq mi (558 km2), 17.00%
Population (Est.)
 • (2013)1,291,578
 • Density1,170/sq mi (451.6/km²)
Congressional districts12th, 14th, 15th, 17th
Time zoneEastern: UTC-5/-4

Hillsborough County is a county located in the State of Florida. Its 2010 population was 1,229,226.[1] Its county seat and largest city is Tampa.[2]

Hillsborough, together with Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties comprise the Tampa-St.Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area, and along with various combinations of Manatee and Sarasota counties to the south, Citrus County to the north, and Polk County to the east is often referred to as the Tampa Bay Area. Hillsborough is the largest county in the metropolitan area, with Tampa forming the region's hub, and the fourth most populous county in Florida.


Hillsborough County was created on January 25, 1834 from Alachua and Monroe counties.[3] It was named for Wills Hill, the Earl of Hillsborough and British Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1768–1772. The county's original boundaries in 1834 were much larger and included 8 other present-day counties: Charlotte County, DeSoto, Hardee, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sarasota County.[4] The last significant change in Hillsborough County's borders was the separation of its western section to create Pinellas County in 1911. On New Year's Day in 1914 the St. Petersburg-Tampa Airboat Line initiated the first scheduled commercial airline service in history, from St Petersburg to Tampa.[5]


According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 1,266.22 square miles (3,279.5 km2), of which 1,050.91 square miles (2,721.8 km2) (or 83.00%) is land and 215.31 square miles (557.7 km2) (or 17.00%) is water.[6] There is approximately 158.27 miles (254.71 km) of shoreline on Tampa Bay.

The county's unincorporated area approximately 888 square miles (2,300 km2), or more than 84 percent of the total land area. Municipalities account for 163 square miles (420 km2). The modern boundaries of the county place it midway along the west coast of Florida.

A narrow strip of Hillsborough County extends to the west to the Gulf of Mexico roughly along the Tampa Port Shipping Channel. This has the effect of keeping Hillsborough County from being landlocked. The central portion of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is in Hillsborough County as is Egmont Key at the entrance to Tampa Bay. This narrow strip of land effectively separates Pinellas County from Manatee County.

Hillsborough is home to Alafia River State Park and Hillsborough River State Parks, as well as the C. W. Bill Young Regional Reservoir and Lithia Springs, the largest natural spring in Florida.

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Est. 20131,291,5785.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
2012 Estimate[8]

As of the census of 2000, there were 998,948 people, 391,357 households, and 255,164 families residing in the county. The population density was 951 people per square mile (367/km²). There were 425,962 housing units at an average density of 405 per square mile (156/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 75.17% White, 14.96% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 2.20% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 4.66% from other races, and a 2.56% from two or more races. 17.99% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The county is the thirty-second most populous county in the nation.

There were 391,357 households out of which 31.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.70% were married couples living together, 13.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.80% were non-families. 26.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.07.

The age distribution was as follows: 25.30% were under the age of 18, 9.30% from 18 to 24, 31.70% from 25 to 44, 21.70% from 45 to 64, and 12.00% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 95.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $40,663, and the median income for a family was $48,223. Males had a median income of $34,111 versus $26,962 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,812. About 9.10% of families and 12.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.20% of those under age 18 and 10.00% of those age 65 or over.

Level of Education
LevelHillsborough Co.FloridaU.S.

College/Associate Degree29.0%28.8%27.4%
Bachelor's Degree16.7%14.3%15.5%
Master's or Ph. D.8.4%8.1%8.9%

Source: U.S. Census[9]

Politics and government[edit]

Hillsborough County has voted for the Republican candidate in most presidential elections for the past four decades. However, In 2008, Barack Obama won the county by seven points, the first Democrat to capture the county since Bill Clinton's reelection victory in 1996.[10] Obama won Hillsborough again in 2012 over Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney by roughly the same margin.

Presidential Election Results 1960-2012
201252.71% 286,46746.04% 250,186
200853.05% 272,96345.94% 236,355
200446.23% 214,13253.01% 245,576
200047.06% 169,57650.17% 180,794
199646.80% 144,26644.33% 136,656
199237.13% 115,28242.07% 130,643
198839.49% 99,01459.89% 150,151
198435.31% 86,23064.67% 157,926
198042.99% 88,27151.71% 106,160
197654.01% 94,58944.82% 78,504
197229.71% 45,30570.13% 106,956
196832.24% 45,84834.77% 49,441
196458.48% 71,28941.52% 50,616
196056.01% 62,24043.99% 48,887

A Home Rule Charter for Hillsborough County was approved by voters in a county-wide referendum held in September 1983, and the first County Commissioners elected under this new charter took office on May 28, 1985.

The Home Rule Charter divides the power of county government between legislative and executive branches. The Board of County Commissioners, which composes the legislative branch, sets overall policy by means of ordinances, resolutions and motions.

The executive powers of county government are vested in the County Administrator, appointed by County Commissioners and charged by the charter to faithfully implement the powers of the Board. The charter provides for a County Attorney, to be hired by the County Administrator with the advice and consent of the County Commissioners. The charter contains a provision for a Charter Review Board appointed by County Commissioners every five years to conduct a study of county government and propose amendments to the charter. These amendments must be presented to voters for approval.One amendment was approved in November 2002, adding the position of County Internal Performance Auditor to the government structure. This position reports directly to the County Commission.

There are seven members of the Board of County Commissioners for Hillsborough County. Four are elected from single-member districts, and three are elected county wide. The Board approves the County's operating and capital budgets and the County's capital improvement program. It may take action on any programs for the improvement of the county and the welfare of its residents.

Under a Charter Ordinance that went into effect May 1985, County Commissioners are directed to perform legislative functions of government by developing policy for the management of Hillsborough County. The County Administrator, a professional appointed by the Board, and the administrative staff are responsible for the implementation of these policies.

The Board also serves as the Environmental Protection Commission. Individual Board members serve on various other boards, authorities, and commissions such as the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, Tampa Bay Water, Aviation Authority, Expressway Authority, Sports Authority, Port Authority, Arts Council of Hillsborough County, Children's Board, Metropolitan Planning Organization and the Council of Governments.

Hillsborough County charges a discretionary sales tax of 1% on top of Florida's 6%. It is only collected on the first $5000 of any large purchase.


In the early 20th century Hillsborough's economy was predominantly based on cigar making and agriculture. In 2012, Hillsborough had the second largest agricultural output among Florida's Counties. As of 2010, the average annual employment in Hillsborough County was 563,292. The percentages of total employment by industry was:



In 2011, sales of all agricultural commodities produced in Hillsborough County were over 832,410,300 dollars. The largest crop by value was strawberries at over 388 million dollars.[12] Values of various crops included:

Hillsborough County Agricultural Production 2011
CropSales in DollarsAcreage
Ornamental Plants$139,232,4073,977
Beef Cattle/Pasture$18,934,20791,904

List of companies with headquarters in Hillsborough County[edit]



County subdivisions in Hillsborough County. Incorporated cities in bold; unincorporated CDPs in small font.

Hillsborough County has only three incorporated places, all which are chartered as cities under Florida law:

  1. City of Plant City
  2. City of Tampa
  3. City of Temple Terrace

Unincorporated census designated places[edit]

Despite its large population most of the area of the county is unincorporated and falls under the jurisdiction of the Hillsborough county board of Commissioners.[14]

Unincorporated communities not census designated places[edit]

Historic towns[edit]

  • Bullfrog Corner
  • Bone Valley
  • Branchton
  • Callsville
  • Chataocolea
  • Chicora
  • Clarkwild
  • Coronet
  • Cork (Now Dover, not to be confused with two other Cork's)
  • Cork (Now Plant City)
  • Cosme
  • Dillon
  • Diston
  • Drew Park, absorbed by Tampa
  • East Cove
  • Edeson
  • Flora
  • Fort Brooke
  • Fort Foster
  • Fort Sullivan
  • Gardenville
  • Gary
  • Gulf City
  • Harney
  • Hillsboro
  • Ichipucksassa, aka Ichepucksassa, Hitchipucksassa (now Plant City)
  • Idlewild Park
  • Jackson Springs
  • Keystone Park
  • Knights Station (absorbed by Plant City)
  • Knowles
  • Lake Fern
  • Lighthall
  • Littlebridge aka Lilliebridge, Lillibridge
  • Magdalene
  • Magnolia
  • Mangrove Point
  • Manhattan (absorbed by Tampa)
  • Marvinia
  • Midway
  • Mullins City
  • Nicholls
  • Oliphant
  • Orient
  • Peck
  • Pelot
  • Peru
  • Prairie
  • Riverhead
  • Rocky Point
  • Sparkman
  • Stemper
  • St Helena
  • Trapnell (absorbed by Plant City)
  • Welcome
  • Weldon
  • Willow
  • Youmans



Hillsborough County Public Schools operates public schools in the county. Hillsborough County has the eighth largest school district in the United States consisting of 206 schools (133 elementary schools, 42 middle schools, 2 K-8 schools, 27 traditional high schools and 4 career centers; 73 additional schools including charter, ESE, etc.).[18] In 2013, twelve out of Hillsborough County's 27 public high schools were ranked in Newsweek's list of America's Best High Schools.[19] In 2012 and 2013, all 27 public high schools were included on the Washington Post's list of the 2000 most challenging schools in America.[20]

School enrollment[edit]

source Tampa Tribune

Museums and libraries[edit]

These libraries are part of the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative:

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue[edit]

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue services the unincorporated areas of Hillsborough County. Fire service began in the 1950s as an all volunteer force consisting of about a dozen loosely associated community based organizations. The first full-time career firefighters were hired in 1973. The department now has 980 career uniformed and support personnel which continue to set the pace in Fire and Emergency Medical Response. Since the 1997 consolidation of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and Emergency Medical Services (EMS), the department has placed paramedics on each career, front-line apparatus: 25 Rescues, 42 Engines, 4 Ladder Trucks and 2 Special Operations Units. As nearly 85% of the department's more than 80,000 emergency responses require some level medical care, having paramedics assigned to each unit assures that the citizens of Hillsborough County are receiving rapid Advanced Life Support care.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and the Board of County Commissioners has implemented a plan to continue placing new fire rescue stations in areas where growth is occurring or gaps in coverage may exist. Fire Chief Ron Rogers leads a Senior Staff of two Deputy Chiefs (Operations and Administrative branches), the Fire Marshal and the Director of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM). All fiscal functions, facilities maintenance and supply, apparatus/equipment procurement, EDC Manager, Personnel Chief, and Rescue Chief are under the direction of the Deputy Chief of Administration. The three Shift Commanders, as well as the Training Chief and the Special Operations Chief, report directly to the Deputy Chief of Operations. The Ops Chief is responsible for the overall response readiness of all front line personnel. The Director of OEM oversees all emergency Management planning and operations of the EOC.[21]

Law Enforcement[edit]

Several law enforcement agencies operate within Hillsborough County, Florida. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is headquartered in the Ybor City District of Tampa and is responsible for Law Enforcement services in the unincorporated areas of the county as well as operation of two jail facilities and courthouse security for the 13th Judicial Circuit. Each of the three incorporated places has its own police agency (Tampa Police Department, Plant City Police Department, and the Temple Terrace Police Department respectively). Tampa International Airport and the University of South Florida also have police departments.

Hillsborough County Fire Rescue Office of Emergency Management[edit]

The Office of Emergency Management is a division of Hillsborough County Fire Rescue that is directly responsible for planning and coordinating the evacuation and sheltering of all county residents in the event of a natural or manmade disaster. This agency is also responsible for planning, orchestrating and coordinating response actions and continuity of government in the aftermath of a major disaster. Preston Cook has been the division's director since 2011

The Hurricane Evacuation Assessment Tool (HEAT)has been created to assist residents of Hillsborough County by providing evacuation and sheltering information in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster. This interactive program was designed to assist the public in easily determining if they are in one of the five evacuation zones. It also provides information on shelters, hospitals, fire stations and sandbag locations.

The Office of Emergency Management also provides information to the public on the following: Hurricane Information, Procedures for Hazardous Materials Spills, Flooding Preparedness, Tornado Preparedness, Wildfire Preparedness, and Terrorism Preparedness.

Transportation infrastructure[edit]

The Sunshine Skyway (I-275), which connects Pinellas to Manatee counties. The middle span is in Hillsborough County.

Major interstates and other highways[edit]

Public Transportation[edit]

Hillsborough County is served by Hillsborough Area Rapid Transit buses.


The county's primary commercial aviation airport is Tampa International Airport in Tampa. Other important airports include the Tampa Executive Airport near Brandon, Peter O. Knight Airport near Downtown Tampa, and the Plant City Airport near Plant City.

National protected area[edit]


  • Alafia River Corridor Preserve
  • Alafia River North Prong Reserve
  • Alafia Scrub Preserve
  • Alderman's Ford Regional Park
  • Alexander Park
  • Apollo Beach Nature Preserve
  • Balm Boyette Scrub Preserve
  • Bell Creek Preserve
  • Lithia Springs Regional Park

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Government links[edit]

Special districts[edit]

Judicial branch[edit]

Hillsborough County Cooperative Extension[edit]

Tourism links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°55′N 82°21′W / 27.91°N 82.35°W / 27.91; -82.35