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Florida - Overview

florida sunshine

Florida is a Southern state in the United States. It is known as the Sunshine State, reflects the importance of climate to its visitors. "Florida" is a Spanish adjective which means "flowery." It was discovered by Ponce de Leon on Easter Sunday, which is called Pascua Florida in Spanish. The U.S. Postal abbreviation is" FL".Florida is a flat sandy land about 100 miles wide by 400 miles with many hundred miles of white sand beaches. Its climate is warm. Florida was the 27th state in the USA; it was admitted on March 3, 1845.

Florida is the premiere attraction state with more large parks, entertainment centers, history museums, resorts, sports venues and tourist destinations. Florida is delightful and magical land of disparity and diversity and it is a land of fascination and excitement. For many, it is a tropical ecstasy with turquoise and emerald waters that wash on sandy white beaches sheltered by palm trees that influence the warm sea breeze. For others, it is a land of charming theme parks and attractions. However it is a city with exciting cultural diversity. Some seek Florida for its natural beauty - its diverse terrain of hardwood, pine and cypress forests, swamps, rivers, springs and mangrove waterways where within live hundreds of species of fish, birds, unique plants and interesting animals.

Florida is the fourth most populous state in USA. The 65,758 square miles is the area of Florida. The capital of Florida is Tallahassee and the largest city in Florida is Jacksonville. Florida shares a border with Alabama and Georgia.

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Boundaries :

The boundary line of the state starts at the Atlantic, traveling west, south, and north up the thalweg of the Saint Mary's River. At the origin of that river, it then follows a straight line nearly due-west and slightly north, to the point where the convergence of the Flint River (from Georgia) and the Chattahoochee River (down the Alabama/Georgia line) used to form Florida's Apalachicola River. (This point is now under Lake Seminole since Woodruff Dam was built.) The boundary with Georgia continues north through the lake for a short distance up the former thalweg of the Chattahoochee, then with Alabama runs due west along latitude 31°N to the Perdido River, then south along its thalweg to the Gulf via Perdido Bay.

Law And Government :

The Florida constitution establishes basic law of the state and guarantees various rights and freedoms of the people and also defines the basic structure, duties, function, and operations of their Government. The judicial, executive and legislative are the three separate branches of the state government. The Florida Legislature enacts legislation, such as those in the Florida Statutes, which are signed into law by the Governor of Florida.

Jeb Bush is the current governor of Florida; he is a brother of President George W. Bush and son of former President George H. W. Bush. The Florida Legislature has a Senate of 40 members and a House of 120 members. Though Florida has traditionally been a Democratic state, in recent years explosive population growth has brought with it many Republicans, leaving the state approximately evenly split between the two parties. Despite this demographic parity, Republicans control the governorship and most other statewide elected offices, both houses of the state legislature, 18 of the state's 25 seats in the House of Representatives, and one of the state's two Senate seats

Taxation :

Florida is one of the nine states which do not impose a personal income tax.
Major taxes collected in Florida include sales and use tax, intangible tax and corporate income taxes. The state sales tax rate is 6.5 percent. Local governments may charge an additional local option sales tax of up to 1.0 percent. A locale's use tax rate is the same as its sales tax rate, including local options if any. Use taxes are payable for purchases made out of state and brought into Florida within 6 months of the purchase date.

Economy :

The gross state product of Florida in 2003 was $550 billion. The per capita personal income was $30,098, ranking 26th in the nation.

The tourism industry has a great economic impact on Florida’s economy.It is a thriving vacation spot for travelers around the world. The main reasons which influence the travelers are its warm weather most of the year and hundreds of miles of beach .The large Walt Disney World Resort with four theme parks and over twenty hotels plus countless water parks, shopping centers and other facilities, located in Lake Buena Vista drives the economy of that area, along with more recent entries into the theme park arena such as the Universal Orlando Resort. The great amount of sales and tourist tax revenue is what allows the state to be one of the few to not levy a personal income tax.

Other major industries include citrus fruit and juice production, banking, and phosphate mining within the Bone Valley region. With the arrival of the space program at Kennedy Space Center in the 1960s, Florida has fascinated a large number of aerospace and military industries to the state. Florida did not have any state minimum wage laws until November 2, 2004, when voters passed a Constitutional Amendment requiring inflationary increases to the minimum wage every six months.

Earlier days, Florida's economy was based upon cattle farming and agriculture (particularly sugar cane, citrus, tomatoes, and strawberries). As land speculators discovered Florida in the early 1900's, and when Plant and Flagler developed the railway systems, more people moved in, drawn by the usually good weather. After that, tourism boomed, fueling a cycle of development and tourism that overwhelmed a great deal of farmland. Other key industries, commercial fishing and water-based tourist activities (sports fishing and diving) are threatened by severe Red Tide outbreaks in 2004 and 2005 off the west coast.

Languages :

The languages spoke mostly in Florida is English.As of 2000, 76.9% of Florida residents age 5 and older speak English at home and 16.5% speak Spanish. French is the third most spoken language at 2.2%, followed by German at 0.6% and Italian at 0.4%.The Florida Constitution provides that "English is the official language of the State of Florida."

Religion :

Florida is mostly Protestant, but with a growing Roman Catholic community due to immigration. There is also a sizable Jewish community in some parts of Florida which makes Florida unique among Southern states. Florida's current religious affiliations are shown in the table below :

  • Christian – 82%
  • Protestant – 54%
  • Baptist – 19%
  • Methodist – 6%
  • Presbyterian – 4%
  • Episcopal – 3%
  • Lutheran – 3%
  • Pentecostal – 3%
  • Other Protestant – 16%
  • Roman Catholic – 26%
  • Other Christian – 2%
  • Jewish – 4%
  • Other Religions – 1%
  • Non-Religious – 13%

Climate :
florida climate

Florida is known around the world for its balmy weather. Florida’s climate has been called the state’s most valuable natural resource. Most of the state has a humid subtropical type of climate, but the southern tip of the peninsula has a more tropical climate. The climate attracts millions of tourists and permanent residents who seek sunshine and warmth all year, but mainly in winter. It is also important to growers of crops that are easily damaged by frost, such as citrus fruit and sugarcane. Summers can be long and hot with showers providing much appreciated relief during the rainy season.