Established in 1861, Polk County was named in honor of our 11th president, James Knox Polk. Most of the recent population growth in the county has been situated along I-4 with Tampa to the west and Orlando to the northeast. Polk County’s economic base is supported mainly by phosphate mining (for fertilizer production), agriculture (citrus), and tourism. Polk County has a total area of 2,010 square miles of which 6.75% is water.
As of 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau recorded the total population as 483,924 with 226,376 housing units. The U.S. Census Bureau’s annual estimate of the population for 2008 is 580,594 with an estimated 280,609 housing units. This is showing an increase of 10% in the population in 8 years.