Population and Social Characteristics

Florida's Best Counties to Live In

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Every year in the United States, tens of millions of Americans move to a new home. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the bulk of these moves are motivated by personal circumstances, often relating to housing, family, or employment. But when it comes to deciding on a place to live, it can also be helpful to weigh other, less subjective factors.

As a means of gauging and comparing degrees of development between countries — beyond standard measures like gross domestic product and economic growth — the United Nations created the Human Development Index. By accounting for factors related to health and well-being, educational attainment, and standards of living, the HDI offers an assessment of overall quality of life at the individual level within a given geography.

When applied to communities within the United States, the core principles of the HDI reveal that some parts of the country are far better places to live than others.

Using an index inspired by the HDI, 24/7 Wall St. identified the best counties in Florida to live in. Counties are ranked on a combination of three measures – average life expectancy at birth, the share of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher, and the poverty rate. Of the 67 counties in Florida, we ranked the 30 with the highest HDI score.

Across all of Florida, average life expectancy at birth is 79.7 years. Additionally, 12.9% of the population live below the poverty line and 32.3% of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher. Of the 30 counties on this list, 11 compare favorably to the state as a whole in each of these metrics.

Among these 30 Florida counties, average life expectancy at birth ranges from 77.3 years to 86.1 years. Meanwhile, poverty rates vary between 6.8% and 20.2%, and bachelor’s degree attainment rates range from 25% to over 45%.

Data used to calculate rankings are from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey and County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, a joint program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. All ACS data are five-year averages.

Why It Matters

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Many of the most commonly cited economic indicators — including unemployment, GDP, and industrial output — are useful gauges of prosperity and productive capacity in a given area. But when it comes to measuring overall quality of life, any single metric inevitably falls short. To address these shortcomings, the HDI combines three key social and economic measures into a single index score, allowing for objective comparisons between communities across the United States.

30. Osceola County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 79.3 years
  • Poverty rate: 13.4%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 26.5%
  • Median household income: $64,312
  • Population: 393,745

29. Pasco County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.4 years
  • Poverty rate: 11.8%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 27.1%
  • Median household income: $63,187
  • Population: 569,211

28. St. Lucie County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 80.0 years
  • Poverty rate: 12.5%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 25.0%
  • Median household income: $66,154
  • Population: 334,682

27. Lake County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 78.6 years
  • Poverty rate: 9.7%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 25.7%
  • Median household income: $66,239
  • Population: 386,829

26. Clay County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.5 years
  • Poverty rate: 9.4%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 27.6%
  • Median household income: $82,242
  • Population: 219,650

25. Charlotte County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 80.8 years
  • Poverty rate: 10.5%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 25.1%
  • Median household income: $62,164
  • Population: 189,900

24. Flagler County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 79.1 years
  • Poverty rate: 9.8%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 28.4%
  • Median household income: $69,251
  • Population: 117,515

23. Santa Rosa County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.3 years
  • Poverty rate: 8.9%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 29.9%
  • Median household income: $84,715
  • Population: 188,994

22. Miami-Dade County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 81.6 years
  • Poverty rate: 15.3%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 32.5%
  • Median household income: $64,215
  • Population: 2,688,237

21. Brevard County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.5 years
  • Poverty rate: 10.1%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 32.9%
  • Median household income: $71,308
  • Population: 610,723

20. Okaloosa County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.4 years
  • Poverty rate: 10.2%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 33.3%
  • Median household income: $73,988
  • Population: 212,021

19. Nassau County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 77.6 years
  • Poverty rate: 9.2%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 32.0%
  • Median household income: $84,085
  • Population: 91,538

18. Hillsborough County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 79.1 years
  • Poverty rate: 13.7%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 36.2%
  • Median household income: $70,612
  • Population: 1,468,560

17. Walton County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 78.4 years
  • Poverty rate: 10.5%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 33.1%
  • Median household income: $74,832
  • Population: 76,618

16. Alachua County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 78.6 years
  • Poverty rate: 20.2%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 46.7%
  • Median household income: $57,566
  • Population: 279,729

15. Lee County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 82.4 years
  • Poverty rate: 11.7%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 30.1%
  • Median household income: $69,368
  • Population: 772,902

14. Pinellas County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 78.8 years
  • Poverty rate: 11.5%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 35.1%
  • Median household income: $66,406
  • Population: 959,918

13. Indian River County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 80.7 years
  • Poverty rate: 11.4%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 32.7%
  • Median household income: $67,543
  • Population: 160,986

12. Leon County

  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 78.7 years
  • Poverty rate: 19.4%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 47.5%
  • Median household income: $61,317
  • Population: 294,128

11. Orange County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 80.2 years
  • Poverty rate: 13.5%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 37.4%
  • Median household income: $72,629
  • Population: 1,427,403

10. Broward County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 80.9 years
  • Poverty rate: 12.4%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 34.9%
  • Median household income: $70,331
  • Population: 1,940,907

9. Manatee County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 81.3 years
  • Poverty rate: 10.2%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 32.8%
  • Median household income: $71,385
  • Population: 405,069

8. Sumter County

  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 80.2 years
  • Poverty rate: 9.3%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 33.7%
  • Median household income: $70,105
  • Population: 131,832

7. Monroe County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 81.5 years
  • Poverty rate: 11.7%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 36.3%
  • Median household income: $80,111
  • Population: 82,044

6. Martin County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 81.8 years
  • Poverty rate: 10.5%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 35.1%
  • Median household income: $77,894
  • Population: 159,399

5. Palm Beach County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 82.2 years
  • Poverty rate: 11.4%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 38.8%
  • Median household income: $76,066
  • Population: 1,494,805

4. Sarasota County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 81.5 years
  • Poverty rate: 8.1%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 38.3%
  • Median household income: $77,213
  • Population: 439,392

3. Seminole County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 80.5 years
  • Poverty rate: 9.6%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 41.7%
  • Median household income: $79,490
  • Population: 471,321

2. Collier County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 86.1 years
  • Poverty rate: 10.4%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 38.7%
  • Median household income: $82,011
  • Population: 380,221

1. St. Johns County

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  • Avg. life expectancy at birth: 81.9 years
  • Poverty rate: 6.8%
  • Adults with a bachelor’s degree: 47.4%
  • Median household income: $100,020
  • Population: 278,722
Rank County Avg. life expectancy at birth (yrs.) Adults with a bachelor’s degree (%) Poverty rate (%) Population
1 St. Johns, Florida 81.9 47.4 6.8 278,722
2 Collier, Florida 86.1 38.7 10.4 380,221
3 Seminole, Florida 80.5 41.7 9.6 471,321
4 Sarasota, Florida 81.5 38.3 8.1 439,392
5 Palm Beach, Florida 82.2 38.8 11.4 1,494,805
6 Martin, Florida 81.8 35.1 10.5 159,399
7 Monroe, Florida 81.5 36.3 11.7 82,044
8 Sumter, Florida 80.2 33.7 9.3 131,832
9 Manatee, Florida 81.3 32.8 10.2 405,069
10 Broward, Florida 80.9 34.9 12.4 1,940,907
11 Orange, Florida 80.2 37.4 13.5 1,427,403
12 Leon, Florida 78.7 47.5 19.4 294,128
13 Indian River, Florida 80.7 32.7 11.4 160,986
14 Pinellas, Florida 78.8 35.1 11.5 959,918
15 Lee, Florida 82.4 30.1 11.7 772,902
16 Alachua, Florida 78.6 46.7 20.2 279,729
17 Walton, Florida 78.4 33.1 10.5 76,618
18 Hillsborough, Florida 79.1 36.2 13.7 1,468,560
19 Nassau, Florida 77.6 32.0 9.2 91,538
20 Okaloosa, Florida 77.4 33.3 10.2 212,021
21 Brevard, Florida 77.5 32.9 10.1 610,723
22 Miami-Dade, Florida 81.6 32.5 15.3 2,688,237
23 Santa Rosa, Florida 77.3 29.9 8.9 188,994
24 Flagler, Florida 79.1 28.4 9.8 117,515
25 Charlotte, Florida 80.8 25.1 10.5 189,900
26 Clay, Florida 77.5 27.6 9.4 219,650
27 Lake, Florida 78.6 25.7 9.7 386,829
28 St. Lucie, Florida 80.0 25.0 12.5 334,682
29 Pasco, Florida 77.4 27.1 11.8 569,211
30 Osceola, Florida 79.3 26.5 13.4 393,745

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