Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
AI Image of "Growing Tampa"

A few weeks ago I jumped into my car around 10am on a Saturday to run an errand. The traffic to get where I was going rivaled the weekday drive to work. Once done with errands the drive home was even worse - people were everywhere.

On that same thought process I went downtown to Ulele, a little restaurant on the water. A few years ago Ulele was about the only restaurant in that little corner, but not anymore. This new expansion created this huge Armature Works, which is an amazing little development full of different shops and food places.

Armature Works, Water Works & Ulele.

As the image shows above with those little shaded regions - they had to build some serious parking lots to support this expansion. Back in the day you fought for parallel parking on Henderson Ave to visit Ulele - now you can pay $5-$15 (depending on the day) for a parking spot to the entire riverfront.

It's worth it, but boy there are people everywhere. You wander around from shop to shop with lines everywhere and struggle to find a place to sit when you walk around with your food. Tampa is getting warm again so this might explain how everyone had the same idea to visit the waterfront.

As night falls the early birds shift out for the night owls - they are just starting their night as others are turning in. A drive back home once again rivals work week traffic - it doesn't matter if its 8pm or 11pm the highway will be packed.

Perhaps for others this is normal, but I remember living in Kansas hitting curfew at midnight and driving home. On some nights I may only see a car or two on the 10 minute drive home - I would listen to the 10 minute 30 second version of Strobe by deadmau5 which was such a calming song to fill up nearly the entire drive time.

A drive home from downtown Tampa is a 30 minute endeavor back to my place in Temple Terrace and that drive is just the opposite. Its full of sirens, horns and requires laser focus with the hectic drivers that await on the I-4/I-275 highways. Obviously comparing Kansas to Tampa isn't fair, but it seems I'm preferring a more quiet and less busy atmosphere.

So I got curious - is Tampa actually growing or is this just how all cities tend to be? I researched around for U.S Census numbers and found a graphic/article that leveraged that data.

How many people moved to Florida this past year?

This was an interesting graphic to see as it called out Florida as the top state for migration between July 2021 & July 2022. We get roughly 444,000~ people a year moving in. So perhaps I'm not going crazy - Florida is growing faster than any other state. Looks like based on the graphic that California, New York and Illinois are bleeding the most residents which may be moving to Florida.

This makes perfect sense, because you can tell immediately who you've run into when you meet a new Tampa resident.

  • California - Buys largely over asking, says everything is cheap here.
  • New York - Has a weird accent.
  • Illinois - Complains our public transportation sucks.

Maybe this graphic isn't truly accurate as its too close to COVID-19. We all know how Florida treated COVID, which may explain a large boom of incoming residents.

However, if we ignore states outside of Florida the data also tells a story that folks are leaving other counties to come towards Hillsborough (Tampa).

Tampa EDC ArcGIS

So we have people leaving other Florida counties to come to Hillsborough and basically half a million a year from around the states as well. I feel validated that Tampa is growing by the facts of the numbers and my odd personal experiences.

Can we continue to expand roads and build to support this growth? Will housing stabilize or do we still look at homes that gained $200,000 value in under a year? Can I drive through town without getting stressed?

I don't know what the future holds - at the moment I'm happy to be in Tampa, but some days it drives me up the wall with how busy it is. My little break is my calm weekend park visit to workout - nice and early before the city wakes up.

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