Welcome to Broward County


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Living in Broward County


Broward County is a county located in Southeast Florida. It is the second-most populous county in the state of Florida and the 17th-most populous in the United States, with over 1.94 million inhabitants as of the 2020 census. Its county seat and largest city is Fort Lauderdale, which had over 180,000 people in 2020.

Broward County is one of the three counties that make up the Miami metropolitan area, which was home to 6.14 million people in 2020. It’s also one of the most ethnically diverse counties in the entire country.

The county has 31 municipalities (including 24 incorporated cities) and many unincorporated areas. It’s also Florida’s seventh-largest county in terms of land area, with 1,322.8 square miles (3,426 km2). Broward County’s urbanized area occupies 427.8 square miles of land. The largest portion of the county is the Conservation Area that extends to the county’s Western border. The conservation area is 796.9 square miles and consists of wetlands. At its widest points, the County stretches approximately 50.3 miles east to west and approximately 27.4 miles from north to south, averaging 5 to 25 feet in elevation.

Native people

The earliest evidence of Native American settlement in the Miami region came from about 12,000 years ago. The first inhabitants settled on the banks of the Miami River, with the main villages on the northern banks.

The inhabitants at the time of first European contact were the Tequesta people, who controlled much of southeastern Florida, including what is now Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and the southern part of Palm Beach County. The Tequesta Indians fished, hunted, and gathered the fruit and roots of plants for food, but did not practice any form of agriculture. They buried the small bones of the deceased with the rest of the body, and put the larger bones in a box for the village people to see. The Tequesta are credited with making the Miami Circle.

Founding of Broward

Broward County was founded on April 30, 1915. It was intended to be named Everglades County, but then-Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives Ion Farris amended the bill that established the county to name it in honor of Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, governor of Florida from 1905 to 1909. Throughout his term as governor, Broward championed Everglades drainage and was remembered for his campaign to turn the Everglades into “useful land”. This opened up much of today’s urban Broward County for development, first as agricultural land and later as residential. A year before Broward became governor, Dania became the first incorporated community of what is now Broward County, followed by Pompano in 1908, and Fort Lauderdale in 1911.

In 1915, Palm Beach County and Dade County contributed nearly equal portions of land to create Broward County. Dixie Highway was also completed through Broward County in 1915. In 1916, the settlement of “Zona” was renamed Davie in recognition of Robert P. Davie, a land developer who purchased a great deal of reclaimed Everglades land.

Broward County began a huge development boom after its incorporation, with the first “tourist hotel”, in Fort Lauderdale, opening in 1919. A year later, developers began dredging wetlands in the county to create island communities.

Land boom and rapid growth

The year 1925 was considered the peak of the Florida land boom with Davie, Deerfield, Floranada, and Hollywood all being incorporated. By 1925, the boom was considered to have reached its peak, but the 1926 Miami hurricane caused economic depression in the county. In 1926, the Hollywood Seminole Indian Reservation (formerly “Dania Reservation”) was opened. In 1927, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea was incorporated. In 1928, the Bay Mabel Harbor (now the Port Everglades channel) was opened. In 1929, Merle Fogg Airport (now site of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport) was dedicated. In 1939, Hillsboro Beach was incorporated. Gulfstream Park also opened in Hallandale in 1939.

The county saw another population and development boom post-World War II when the transformation from agricultural to urbanized residential area began. In 1947, Pompano merged with beach area to form the present day City of Pompano Beach.

There was another boom during the 1950s and the late 1960s. In 1953, Plantation, Lazy Lake, and Fern Crest Village were incorporated. In 1955, Margate and Miramar were incorporated. In 1956, Lighthouse Point was incorporated and the Florida Turnpike was completed through Broward County. In 1957, Pembroke Park was incorporated. In 1959, Cooper City, Lauderhill, and Sea Ranch Lakes were incorporated.

In 1946 Dr. Von D. Mizell and black business owners petitioned the County Commission to make a county beach available to African Americans; at the time the beaches in Broward County, as elsewhere in Florida, were for whites only. Eight years later a beach, today Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park, in Dania Beach, was made available, but there was no road to it until 1965. In the meantime, Mizell and Eula Johnson, with supporters, deliberately violated the law on July 4, 1961, by wading into the water on Ft. Lauderdale beach. The legal process set in motion by this incident resulted in the desegregation of Broward County beaches in 1962.

In 1960, the City of Pembroke Pines was incorporated. This same year marked the opening of Broward College (then Broward Community College).

In 1961, Lauderdale Lakes and Sunrise were incorporated. In 1963, the cities of Coral Springs, North Lauderdale, Parkland, and Tamarac were all incorporated. In 1967, Coconut Creek was incorporated.

The effects of a national recession hit the county in 1974 and the population growth finally slowed. This is from a peak growth percentage change of 297.9% which saw the population of Broward grow from 83,933 as of 1950 to 333,946 in 1960. The population subsequently experienced an 85.7% population growth which brought the population to a total of 620,100 in 1970.

Recent history

The structure of the Broward County government was signed into law in 1975 with the passage of the Broward County charter. In the same year, the Seminole Tribe of Florida incorporated as a governing entity and began organizing cigarette sales, bingo and land leases that will bring millions of dollars in annual revenue in later years. In 1976, Interstate 95 was completed through Broward County.

On January 19, 1977, snow fell in South Florida for the first time in recorded history. Snow was seen across all of South Florida as far south as Homestead and even on Miami Beach. Snow was officially reported by weather observers in West Palm Beach, LaBelle, Hollywood, and Royal Palm Ranger Station in southern Miami-Dade County.

In the year 1980, the US census reported over 1 million people living in Broward County.

On August 24, 1992, Hurricane Andrew passed through Miami-Dade County, causing $100 million in damage in Broward County and leaving at least a dozen residents homeless as a result of storm related fires. Broward became a base of operations to shuttle supplies to neighbors in devastated Dade County which suffered the brunt of the storm and caused over $25 billion in damage. Hurricane Andrew caused a massive exodus from South Dade to Broward County, filling Pembroke Pines and other Broward communities with tens of thousands of transplanted families.

In the year 2000, the US census reported a total population of 1,623,018. The town of South West Ranches was incorporated this year.

On March 1, 2005, West Park became Broward County’s 31st municipality to be incorporated.

On October 24, 2005, Hurricane Wilma hit South Florida leaving the entire area damaged and causing almost universal power outages. Wilma was the most damaging storm in Broward County since Hurricane King in 1950. Broward experienced wind speeds between 80 and 100 mph (130 and 160 km/h) which endured for about five hours.

In June 2020, following the George Floyd protests, some residents called for the county to be renamed due to Governor Broward’s support for segregation.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of 1,323 square miles (3,430 km2), of which 1,210 square miles (3,100 km2) is land and 113 square miles (290 km2) (8.5%) is water.

Broward County has an average elevation of six feet (1.8 m) above sea level. It is rather new geologically and at the eastern edge of the Florida Platform, a carbonate plateau created millions of years ago. Broward County is composed of Oolite limestone while western Broward is composed mostly of Bryozoa. Broward is among the last areas of Florida to be created and populated with fauna and flora, mostly in the Pleistocene.

Of developable land in Broward County, approximately 471 square miles (1,219.9 km2), the majority is built upon, as the urban area is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Everglades Wildlife Management Area to the west. Within developable land, Broward County has a population density of 3,740 per square mile (1,444 per square kilometer).

Broward approved the construction of Osborne Reef, an artificial reef made of tires off the Fort Lauderdale beach, but it has proven an environmental disaster.

Adjacent counties

  • Palm Beach County – north
  • Miami-Dade County – south
  • Collier County – west
  • Hendry County – northwest

Silver Airways has its headquarters on the property of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in an unincorporated area. Other companies with headquarters in unincorporated areas include Locair.

Spirit Airlines has its headquarters in Miramar.

When Chalk’s International Airlines existed, its headquarters was on the grounds of the airport in an unincorporated area. When Bimini Island Air existed, its headquarters were in an unincorporated area.

Primary and secondary schools

Broward County Schools has the sixth largest school district in the country and the second largest in the state after the Miami-Dade district.

Regionally accredited colleges and universities

  • Broward College
  • Florida Atlantic University (Branch campuses)
  • Nova Southeastern University
  • Keiser University

Other adult education providers

  • DeVry University
  • University of Phoenix
  • The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale
  • Florida Career College
  • Brown Mackie College
  • Atlantic Technical Center and Technical High School
  • McFatter Technical College and Technical High School
  • Sheridan Technical College and Technical High School

Public libraries

The Broward County Library is one of the largest public library systems in the country, comprising 38 branch locations. There are also five municipal public libraries in the county that are not part of the Broward County Library system: Ethel M. Gordon Oakland Park Library, Lighthouse Point Library, Helen B. Hoffman Plantation Library, Richard C. Sullivan Public Library of Wilton Manors, and Parkland Public Library.

Library Resources

Broward County libraries provide endless amount of resources to the public. For high-schoolers looking to prepare themselves for college, the library offers college readiness & SAT/ACT prep courses. For adults looking to learn computer skills, adult computer classes are also offered. These resources are free of cost, therefore, all it takes is registering to participate. In addition to the many resources offered at the library, bus passes are also sold at most Broward County libraries. If you want to enjoy some of these resources, you can simply download the app to utilize them on the go. There are nine apps available for download: Broward County Library (BCL WoW), Freegal Music, Hoopla, Overdrive, Libby, Axis 360, RBdigital Magazines, Rosetta Stone, and Brainfuse.

Museums and historical collections

  • African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, Fort Lauderdale
  • Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, Fort Lauderdale
  • Coral Springs Museum of Art, Coral Springs
  • Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum, Fort Lauderdale
  • Fort Lauderdale History Center, Fort Lauderdale
  • Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum, Fort Lauderdale
  • NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale
  • Plantation Historical Museum, Plantation
  • Stranahan House, Fort Lauderdale
  • The International Game Fish Association, including the Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum, Dania Beach
  • The International Swimming Hall of Fame, Fort Lauderdale
  • The Museum of Discovery and Science, Fort Lauderdale
  • Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts, Dania Beach
  • Young at Art Museum, Davie

Nature and wildlife areas

  • Anne Kolb Nature Center, Hollywood
  • Butterfly World, a botanical sanctuary in Coconut Creek
  • Everglades Holiday Park, featuring airboat rides and alligator shows
  • Fern Forest Nature Center, Coconut Creek
  • Flamingo Gardens, a botanical garden and wildlife sanctuary
  • Secret Woods Nature Center, Dania Beach
  • Sawgrass Recreation Park

Other areas and attractions

  • Beach Place, a strip of stores, restaurants, and bars across the street from the beach along the Atlantic coast, in Fort Lauderdale
  • Broward Center for the Performing Arts
  • Hollywood Beach Broadwalk
  • Florida Grand Opera
  • Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop (colloquially known to locals as simply the Swap Shop)
  • Sawgrass Mills, a large outlet shopping mall in Sunrise
  • FLA Live Arena in Sunrise, where the NHL’s Florida Panthers play their games
  • The Festival Flea Market Mall in Pompano Beach, America’s largest indoor flea market
  • Riverwalk (Fort Lauderdale)

Additionally, with 23 miles of beach, Broward County is a popular destination for scuba diving, snorkeling, and droves of young Spring break tourists from around the world.


  • Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport serves as the primary airport of the Broward County area. The airport is bounded by the cities Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Dania Beach, three miles (5 km) southwest of downtown Fort Lauderdale and 21 mi (34 km) north of Miami. The airport is near cruise line terminals at Port Everglades and is popular among tourists bound for the Caribbean. Since the late 1990s, FLL has become an intercontinental gateway, although Miami International Airport still handles most long-haul flights. FLL is ranked as the 19th busiest airport (in terms of passenger traffic) in the United States, as well as the nation’s 14th busiest international air gateway and one of the world’s 50 busiest airports. FLL is classified by the US Federal Aviation Administration as a “major hub” facility serving commercial air traffic. In 2017 the airport processed 32,511,053 passengers (11.3% more than 2016) including 7,183,275 international passengers (18.6% more than 2016).
  • North Perry Airport
  • Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport
  • Pompano Beach Airpark
  • Downtown Fort Lauderdale Heliport

Public transportation

  • Broward County Transit
  • Tri-Rail
  • Sun Trolley

Major expressways

  • Interstate 95
  • Interstate 75
  • Interstate 595 (Port Everglades Expressway)
  • Florida’s Turnpike (SR 91)
  • Homestead Extension (SR 821)
  • State Road 869 (Sawgrass Expressway)


Amtrak, Brightline and Tri-Rail run through Broward.

Street grid

A street grid stretches throughout Broward County. Most of this grid is loosely based on three primary eastern municipalities, (from South to North) Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, and Pompano Beach. Deerfield Beach—another primary eastern municipality—has its own street grid, as do two smaller municipalities—Dania and Hallandale.

Greenways System

Construction is underway on a network of recreational trails to connect cities and points of interest in the county.


  • Parkland
  • Coconut Creek
  • Deerfield Beach
  • Coral Springs
  • Margate
  • Pompano Beach
  • Lighthouse Point
  • Hillsboro Beach
  • Tamarac
  • North Lauderdale
  • Lauderdale-by-the-Sea
  • Sea Ranch Lakes
  • Oakland Park
  • Wilton Manors
  • Lazy Lake
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Lauderdale Lakes
  • Lauderhill
  • Sunrise
  • Plantation
  • Weston
  • Davie
  • Dania Beach
  • Hollywood
  • Southwest Ranches
  • Cooper City
  • Pembroke Pines
  • Miramar
  • West Park
  • Pembroke Park
  • Hallandale Beach

Former unincorporated neighborhoods

In the 1980s the Broward County Commission adopted a policy of having all populated places in the county be part of a municipality. Municipalities were often reluctant to annex neighborhoods which were not projected to yield enough tax revenue to cover the costs of providing services to those neighborhoods. In 2001 the Broward County Legislative Delegation adopted a policy encouraging the annexation of all unincorporated areas in Broward County into municipalities by October 1, 2005. Formerly unincorporated neighborhoods that have been annexed into existing municipalities or combined to form new municipalities as of 2018 include:

  • Bonnie Loch-Woodsetter North in Deerfield Beach.
  • Broadview-Pompano Park in North Lauderdale.
  • Broward Estates in Lauderhill.
  • Carver Ranches in West Park.
  • Chambers Estates in Dania Beach.
  • Chula Vista Isles in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Collier Manor-Cresthaven in Pompano Beach.
  • Country Estates in Southwest Ranches.
  • Crystal Lake in Deerfield Beach.
  • Edgewater in Dania Beach.
  • Estates of Fort Lauderdale in Dania Beach, and partially in Hollywood.
  • Godfrey Road in Parkland.
  • Golden Heights in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Green Meadow in Southwest Ranches.
  • Hacienda Village in Davie.
  • Ivanhoe Estates in Southwest Ranches.
  • Kendall Green in Pompano Beach.
  • Lake Forest in West Park.
  • Leisureville in Pompano Beach.
  • Loch Lomond in Pompano Beach.
  • Melrose Park in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Miami Gardens in West Park.
  • North Andrews Gardens in Oakland Park.
  • Oak Point in Hollywood.
  • Palm Aire in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Pine Island Ridge in Davie.
  • Pompano Beach Highlands in Pompano Beach.
  • Pompano Estates in Pompano Beach.
  • Ramblewood East in Coral Springs.
  • Ravenswood Estates in Dania Beach.
  • Riverland Village in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Rock Island in Fort Lauderdale.
  • Rolling Oaks in Southwest Ranches.
  • Royal Palm Ranches in Cooper City.
  • St. George in Lauderhill.
  • Sunshine Acres in Davie.
  • Sunshine Ranches in Southwest Ranches.
  • Tedder in Deerfield Beach.
  • Terra Mar in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, and partially in Pompano Beach.
  • Twin Lakes North of Prospect Road, in Fort Lauderdale. South of Prospect Road, in Oakland Park.
  • Utopia in West Park.
  • Village Park in North Lauderdale.
  • West Ken-Lark in Lauderhill.

Remaining unincorporated neighborhoods

By late in the first decade of the 21st century, annexation of remaining neighborhoods had stalled. As of 2018 the Broward County Municipal Services District serves seven unincorporated neighborhoods, including six census designated places (Boulevard Gardens, Broadview Park, Franklin Park, Hillsboro Pines, Roosevelt Gardens and Washington Park) and a parcel with a population of 72 in 2018, Hillsboro Ranches. Other areas in the developed part of the county that are not in municipalities include the Hollywood Seminole Indian Reservation, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, several landfills and resource recovery facilities, and other scattered small parcels with few or no residents.

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