Interesting Facts about Brevard County, Fl.
Interesting facts about Brevard County, Florida, air conditioning, heating, repair and service.
Brevard County is a county located in the U.S. state of Florida, along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. As of 2007 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the population is 536,521 making it the 10th most populous county in the state. Influenced by the presence of the John F. Kennedy Space Center, Brevard County is also known as the Space Coast. As such it was designated with the area code 321 as in 3-2-1 liftoff.
The official county seat has been located in Titusville since 1894, although most of the county`s administration is performed from Viera. Brevard County has more than one county courthouse and sheriff`s office because of its elongated north-south county lines. Hence, government services are not centralized in one location, as they are in many American counties.
The first Paleoindians arrived in the area near Brevard county between 12,000 and 10,000 years ago. The Paleoindians were semi-nomadic people who lived in smaller groups. At the time, the earth was going through its most recent ice age and the climate of the area was much different than it is now; it was similar to that of Great Britain today. The area which today is Brevard County was probably not coastal at this period in time. The coast of Florida was about 100 miles (160 km) wider and the Indian River was simply a lower point on dry land.
After a few thousand years, perhaps by around 3000 B.C. peninsular Florida resembled the land of today; in shape, climate, fauna, and flora. About this time, a new group of settlers appeared known as "the archaic people." These people were primarily fishermen, as opposed to the hunting and gathering way of life which characterized the Paleoindians. It is believed that these were the ancestors of the Native Americans who would come in contact with the Europeans when they arrived.
 From Spanish rule to statehood
The Ais and the Jaega were the dominant tribes in the area when Ponce De Leon arrived at the shores near Melbourne Beach in 1513. Heavy mosquito infestation and the threat of Indian attacks kept the area from having any permanent white settlements. The Spanish quickly left the area, but left a deadly reminder of their visit: European diseases. Within 200 years, almost the entire precolumbian population of Florida had died out. Creek Indians from the north quickly swept down from Georgia and the Carolinas to fill the void. These Indians became known as the Seminole. Their activity in Brevard County was intermittent and usually not permanent.
Throughout the 18th century, the great European powers Spain, Great Britain and France vied for power in Florida. Their interest in the peninsula was more strategic than for building any real settlements. In contrast to today, where living in Florida means comfort and the "good life" to many people, Florida in the 18th century was seen as a hostile place with dangerous fauna such as poisonous snakes, alligators and panthers. Death by malaria was a possibility and death at the hands of angry Indians seemed even more likely. After being under Spanish, French, British, and then Spanish rule again, Florida finally became a United States territory.
In 1837, Fort Ann was established on the eastern shore of the Indian River on a narrow strip of land on Merritt Island. During the construction of the Hernandez-Capron Trail, General Joseph Hernandez and his militiamen encamped near present day Mims. These settlements were short lived and were abandoned shortly thereafter.
 Statehood to 1900
Boathouse, Titusville, Florida 1885.
In 1845, Florida became the 27th state of the Union. How and when Brevard County was founded and its history in the 19th century is much more complicated. During the 19th century, the state of Florida was constantly changing the names and borders of counties. Indeed, St. Lucia County was split off from Mosquito (later Orange) County in 1844. St. Lucia County was renamed Brevard County in 1856, but this "Brevard County" contained very little of present day Brevard County. Most of present day Brevard north of Melbourne was part of either Volusia or Orange counties. Brevard County in 1856 extended as far west as Polk County and as far south as coastal Broward County. Complicating the discussion of Brevard County in the 19th century is that an early county seat was located at (Port) St. Lucie, which took its name from the original county name and was eventually split off from Brevard to form a new county, St. Lucie County in 1905. Gradually, the borders of Brevard County were shifted northward while the county got "pinched" eastward. The portions of Brevard County in present day Broward and Palm Beach counties were given to Dade County, western areas of the county were given to Polk and Osceola County, and parts of Volusia and Orange Counties were given to Brevard including the eventual county seat of Titusville. Later, the southern portion of the county was be cut off to form St. Lucie County (which later spawned Martin and Indian River counties).
The first permanent settlement in present day Brevard was, without a doubt, established near Cape Canaveral in 1848. After the establishment of a lighthouse, a few families moved in and a small, but stable settlement was born. Gradually, as the threat of Seminole Indian attacks was becoming increasingly unlikely, people began to move into the area around the Indian River. In the 1850s a small community developed at Sand Point which eventually became the city of Titusville. Unlike other areas of Florida, the American Civil War had little effect on Brevard County, other than perhaps slow the movement of settlers to the area.
By the 1880s, the cities along the Indian River included Melbourne, Eau Gallie, Titusville, Rockledge, and Cocoa. Unlike cities further inland in Florida, these cities did not have to rely as heavily on roads. The primary way of transversing the county was by water. In 1877 commercial steamboat transportation became a reality as the steamboat Pioneer was brought to the area.
The first real boom to the area occurred with the extension of Henry Flagler`s Florida East Coast Railroad into the area. The railroad reached Titusville in 1886 and Melbourne in 1894. With the railroad came increased settlement and the first tourists.
 20th century to present
Crane Creek, Melbourne circa 1900
The advent of the automobile age brought even more growth to Brevard County as resorts and hotels popped up all around the county. As the automobile became increasingly important as a means of transportation, roads connecting Brevard County to the rest of Florida and ultimately the rest of the nation were built.
The first major land boom began in the 1920s with the end of World War One. People flooded into the state of Florida as land prices soared, only to bust as the Great Depression temporarily stopped growth in Florida. Before the start of World War II, the largest industries in Brevard were commercial fishing, citrus, and tourism.
In 1940, the Naval Air Station Banana River (now Patrick Air Force Base) was built. This began a new era in the development of Brevard County. Later, in the late 50s, the Long Range Proving Ground was opened. This later became the Kennedy Space Center. This changed the entire complexion of the county; where Brevard had once been considered a "backwoods" area of Florida, it instantly became the launching pad into outer space. What had once been a primarily low-tech farmer/fisherman economy was transformed into a high-tech engineering and computer economy.
As a very long, but not very wide county, there had been a lot of complaints from people in the southern, more populous side of the county about being so distant from the county seat. A trip to conduct county business in Titusville was 50 miles (80 km) from the most populous city in the county, Palm Bay. There was talk of secession on the southern end of the county, and the county decided to build a new county administration complex at Viera near the geographical center of the county. This complex was started in 1989, and resulted in a counter-threat of secession from the Titusille end of the county. This proposal to form a new county, Playalinda County had some momentum in the early 90s. The county made a few concessions to the people in the northern part of the county, and agreed not to officially move the county seat. Viera; however, is for all intents and purposes the de facto seat of Brevard County.
Brevard county commissioners are elected by the public to establish ordinances and policies for the county. The Commission appoints a County Manager, who executes the will of the Commission. The county employed about 2,900 workers in 2009.
A centrally located County Government Center in Viera houses the various county government branches, including Housing and Human Services, Juvenile Justice, Public Safety, Public Works and Solid Waste Management. County and school board meetings are televised, and the public is present for all city and town council meetings.
The various cities, towns and villages of Brevard have varying reliance on services provided by the Brevard County government.
The Brevard County government had annual expenditures just over $1 billion in the fiscal year 2009-2010, exclusive of the municipalities. In 2009, real estate taxes for homesteaded property averaged .83% of the value of the property. Real estate taxes are levied by each authority. They are collected by the County Tax Collector. The money is disbursed (for a typical Palm Bay resident) as follows: School Board 41%, City (Palm Bay for this case) 31%, County Commission 26%, Water Management Districts 2% and Independent special districts 1%. Money was spent by the country as follows: Constitutional officers 50%, County Commission 42%, state mandates 6%, outside agencies 1% and court services 1%.
The total taxable real estate base was $33.7 billion in 2009. County taxes rose 26.5% in total per capita revenue from 2002–2007, and 49.8% in property tax per capita in the same time frame. Delinquent taxes were $36 million in 2008.
Solid waste management budgeted $33.4 million in fiscal year 2008/9 for county waste, not including municipalities which contract separately.
In 2010 municipalities and the county charged from $9.74 to $14.95 monthly for solid waste disposal. Most disposal was contracted out by the municipality to private vendors. Titusville and Rockledge each had a municipal operation.
Brevard County Cumulative Percent Growth since 1997
The ex officio Space Coast League of Cities suggests legislation to its representatives.
The Brevard Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is composed of senior locally elected municipal and county officials. This local multi-jurisdictional agency decides where federal and state road money will be used.
Various elected officials call unofficial "town meetings" to allow the public to express their concerns about issues that the officials should address.
The Brevard County Housing Authority acquires and leases housing projects; investigates housing conditions; determines where slums and unsafe housing exist and investigates conditions dangerous to the public. It is managed by citizens appointed by the county commission.
Brevard County has two unique election districts. One governs Port Canaveral; the other, the maintenance of the Sebastian Inlet.
The Canaveral Port Authority is an independent governmental agency created by the Florida Legislature. Five elected commissioners representing the five port regions are the governing body of Port Canaveral and have jurisdiction over all fiscal and regulatory policies and operations of the Port. The Authority sets policy and can levy taxes. They stopped levying an ad valorum tax on district residents, becoming only the second taxing authority in Florida to do so.
The county has hired a federal lobbyist to represent its interests.
Brevard expected to have 100,000-300,000 more people by 2020, an increase of 60%. This offers a challenge to local government to keep infrastructure ahead of growth, while preserving the environment.
Based on the mid-point of the growth estimates, if Brevard has 200,000 new residents by 2020, taxpayers will have to meet a list of new requirements, including: 400 more police officers and 362 more firefighters; 25 US gallons (95 l; 21 imp gal) million more per day of drinking water; 1,334 more teachers; 600 more jail beds. In 2009, the county expected to grow to 763,546 by 2030, a 42% increase.
The county got about $459 per resident in 2008 from the federal government. This ranks the metro among the bottom five metro areas that receive money based on population. This distribution is tied to income inequality.
 Elected officials
District 1 - Robin Fisher
District 2 - Chuck Nelson
District 3 - Trudie Infantini
District 4 - Mary Bolin
District 5 -Andy Anderson
County Manager - Howard Tipton
Robin Fisher was elected in 2007 as the first black commissioner in the county`s history. He became the first black chairman of the county commission in 2010. The chair normally rotates among the commissioners.
The following are considered state officials but are elected and paid by the county:
Sheriff - J.R. "Jack" Parker
Clerk of the Courts - Mitch Needelman
Property Appraiser - Jim Ford
Tax Collector - Lisa Cullen 
Supervisor of Elections - Lori Scott 
State Attorney - Norm Wolfinger
Public Defender - James F. Russo
In April 2007, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement seized documents from the office of the county appraiser in connection with an investigation into illegally re-appraising properties at lower values.
Brevard County lies within Florida`s 24th congressional district which seat is held by Sandy Adams and within Florida`s 15th congressional district which seat is held by Bill Posey.
 Justice system
Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Justice Center in Viera
The county has centralized most county and circuit courts in Viera which try a variety of cases including felonies, misdemeanors, traffic, and domestic. An elected State`s Attorney prosecutes cases for the public. Defendants can be represented through the auspices of the office of the elected Public Defender. The 18th Circuit Court includes Seminole as well as Brevard and covers not only the court itself but the prosecutor and the Public Defender.
The County elects a sheriff, immediately responsible to the courts but also to the state for the enforcement of state laws. Police chiefs, appointed by their cities or towns, perform the same function locally. There is no overlap in jurisdictions. Some volunteers work alongside paid professionals. Included are Citizens Offering Police Support (C.O.P.S.). C.O.P.S. volunteers work under the direction of the County Sheriff and play a part in the county`s policing operations.
Most municipalities are located on at least one waterway. This has resulted in the county and seven cities to have a boat or access to one to aid boaters, or enforce the law in the water in their jurisdiction.
The county jail is a 1976 facility which rapidly became overcrowded. When voters consistently turned down expanding the jail, the sheriff solved the problem by the construction of a large but less expensive "hardened tent" to house non-violent offenders.
The county jail retains prisoners who have been sentenced to a year or less. Longer sentences must be served in state prisons, such as the facility in Sharpes for young men.
The Coast Guard, homeported at Port Canaveral, plays a significant role in preventing illegal immigration, and is the major interdictor of drugs in the area.
Brevard has a Drug Court to reduce the prison population resulting from drug issues. Drug Court programs adjudicate cases in which offenders are chronic substance abusers through an extensive supervision and treatment regimen. Drug Courts require offenders to acknowledge their problems with substances and provide him/her with tools and mechanisms to deal with their addictions, in an effort to reduce or eliminate future criminal conduct. The Drug Court program utilizes a team approach to serve the offenders and the team consists of a judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, treatment specialists, supervision officers, law enforcement agencies, corrections officials, and others. In exchange for successfully completing this intensive program, the Court may dismiss the charge, reduce the sentence, or offer a combination of other incentives. The police have estimated that 85% of drug dealers and prostitutes are themselves under the influence of drugs or are users trying to get money to purchase drugs.
Melbourne led the nation in MDMA seizures in 2005.
Brevard Legal Aid provides general, civil and domestic violence legal services to low income persons. Providers consist of five staff attorneys, three paralegals and 300 volunteer attorneys who offer pro bono assistance to referred eligible clients. Victims of domestic violence receive immediate need legal assistance with injunctions for protection through a partnership project with the Women`s Center and the domestic violence shelters.
There is a local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). In May 2005, the ACLU accused local police and Sheriff`s offices of attempting to intimidate protests by conducting surveillance and filming them. As a result, authorities stopped the practice except for good cause.
The county justice system has faced criticism for its reliance on since-discredited dog handler John Preston as an expert witness in the 1980s. Brevard County paid Preston over $37,000 as a consultant in the first half of 1984.
The State`s Attorney`s Office sponsors the Victim/Witness Services. This provides advocates to victims of violent crime and their families. The advocate helps the family understand the legal system as they navigate through it. They also seek out financial assistance or counseling they might need. In 2005 they helped 8,448 victims in Brevard County.
 Juvenile justice
The Rainwater Center for Girls, a day program for girls ages 12–18 who are referred by the Department of Juvenile Justice, offers education, vocational training, counseling, life skills, cultural arts activities, recreation, and community service focused on the developmental needs of girls.
The Department of Juvenile Justice refers selected youths to the Space Coast Marine Institute (SCMI). The SCMI is a six to eight month moderate security residential facility for juvenile boys ages 14–18 who have committed around 4-12 crimes. The young men arrive at the institute with little or no self-esteem and have experienced minimal positive interaction with adults and peers. The mission of SCMI is to address their by providing a scheduled curriculum of academic, vocational and mental health awareness activities. In addition to a personalized academic education, the daily schedule includes programs that build self-confidence and a greater understanding of the world around us.
Juvenile delinquents are sometimes remanded to the Brevard Sheriff`s Ranch in Rockledge, a small ranch with buffalo and other animals requiring care.
Reentry Brevard contracts with a contractor, often non-profit, to provide halfway services to youth conditionally released from prison.
 Probation services
The county decided to privatize probation services in 2010, to save money. Savings are expected to exceed $211,000 annually. The department cost $2.86 million to operate in 2009. The former service employed 30 people. The new service, over 30, including most of the former employees.
 Public services
 Public safety
Public safety for unincorporated areas of the county is the responsibility of the Brevard County Sheriff`s Office. All but three of the 17 incorporated municipalities, Malabar,Cape Canaveral and Palm Shores, maintain their own law enforcement services. Those three contract that service to the Sheriff`s Office. Of the 14 remaining municipalities, the Melbourne Police Department and Palm Bay Police Department have historically been the largest in the county, often surpassing each other in numbers of sworn officers. Public safety for Port Canaveral is under the direction of the Port Authority. Traditionally, emphasis was placed on monitoring the content of containerized cargo on incoming ships, as well as underwater inspection of arriving ships that could be carrying explosive devices. In 2008, the Canaveral Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved the creation of an independent police department.
The Brevard Emergency Operations Center (EOC) provides Homeland Security for the Space Coast. The EOC coordinates information regarding the occurrence or threat of any disaster or emergency threatening the safety of the County residents. The EOC uses telephone, television, and the Emergency Services of the County Sheriff, the City Police and Fire Departments to provide coordinated management of all services for cataclysmic events such as Hurricanes, Floods and Terrorism. The EOC has successfully conducted mass evacuation and relief of hundreds of thousands of residents from hurricanes since 1999 including two in 2004. Residents living on the barrier island and in manufactured homes were ordered to evacuate.
A Coast Guard Cutter, home-ported at USCG Station Port Canaveral, Florida, stops potentially threatening commercial shipping prior to reaching the coast. In 2010, there were 36,922 boats registered in the area. This number has dropped annually for the past four years. A few of these are of continuing concern to CG authorities.
Evacuation routes were insufficient to handle the resulting heavy traffic westbound when an emergency was declared. A major westbound route (US 192) was expanded in 2008 to four lanes to accommodate the south Brevard population.
In 2004, hurricanes destroyed one in every hundred homes in the South County area. Within two blocks of the beach nearly every building sustained some damage. Barefoot Bay, a mobile housing development, was essentially destroyed. Winds tore off the roof of a shelter for special needs people in an elementary school. Emergency Workers were forced to evacuate these people at the peak of the storm.
In September 2005, 1,400 survivors of Hurricane Katrina took refuge in the county.
Experience with hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne in 2004 prompted the formation of the Brevard Long Term Recovery Coalition, consisting of United Way of America officials and other emergency-needs experts. They recorded the experiences Brevard had developed to restore services after the storms struck. In fall 2005, they passed information they had learned along to Gulf Coast planners attempting to recover from Katrina.
The media has estimated that 26,000 people who would need evacuation have not volunteered this information to Emergency Officials. In the past people have tended to postpone evacuation notification until after the causeways and bridges have been closed and no evacuation is possible.
The county posts lifeguards at 26 towers at various beach front parks during the peak season, five towers year around, four of the latter in Cocoa Beach. There are 17 lifeguards throughout the year; 100 seasonally, March through October; 46 at any one time. The county is 72 miles (116 km) long and most areas cannot be protected. The scope of responsibility for the lifeguards include accident and drowning prevention, public education, citizen assist, search and recovery of lost children, basic life support, and swimmer rescue. There have been 98 reported shark attacks in the county since 1882. The last fatality was in 1934. Ten drownings in 2007, prompted Forbes magazine to include the area in "World`s Most Dangerous Beaches." In turn, this resulted in the county commission starting year around lifeguarding.
There are two Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotillas which offer boating safety courses.
North Brevard stands second in the state and the nation with 22,000 lightning strikes annually. Every two years there is an average of one person killed and three people injured from lightning.
Highway fatalities have decreased nationally, but by 2001, had increased in Florida and locally. Officials were focused on setting and enforcing speed limits and widening the local turnpike. The flatness of the area prevented runoff during rainstorms and caused cars to hydroplane. The highway department has taken measures to re-engineer roads to avoid hydroplaning. Fatalities reached a high of 99 in 2007. In 2009 there were 51 fatalities.
There are 64 firestations in the county, 28 of which are run by various cities, and 33 by the county. There are 435 firefighters working for the county.
In 2009, there were 1,200 law enforcement officers working in the county, of which 361 are sheriff`s deputies. Of all crime that came to the attention of the sheriff`s office in 2007, 80% was drug-related. From January to June 2009, the county reported a total of 10,037 crimes. Of these, a majority, 3.002, were under the jurisdiction of the sheriff`s department.
In 2009, the crime rate was 3,471.3 property-related crimes per 100,000 residents, slightly above the national average.
Project Lifesaver can tag at-risk adults and children with locator devices. This allows guardians to track wandering people with Alzheimers, dementia, autism, etc.
 Public health
The state has three public health locations in the county which give immunization shots, provide health information, and track and report on serious diseases or conditions, like HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, encephalitis, and West Nile virus. There have been several cases of West Nile in the 21st century. All victims recovered.
The area was once named "Mosquito County." Mosquitos carry serious diseases, including encephalitis. Brevard County Mosquito Control reduces the mosquito population by many means including adulticiding, larviciding, source reduction, aquatic weed control, waste tire abatement, disease monitoring (of chickens and mosquito-susceptible animals,) environmental monitoring, and biological control of mosquitoes.
Brevard is among the top 100 counties in the US for asbestos-related deaths.
While no one has ever died from it in Brevard County, animal rabies is prevalent, often carried in this area by raccoons. Public announcements and public awareness appear to have prevented fatalities.
In 2005, a woman died from flesh-eating bacteria (Necrotizing fasciitis) that she contracted from the St. Johns River. Two or three cases are typically reported in the county each year.
An ocean condition known as "red tide" occasionally affects people beachside. This occurred in November–December 2007 and November–January 2002.
In 2010, there were 22 dentists out of 298 in the county that accepted Medicaid patients.
In 2010 there were 56,800 people on Medicaid; with 34,494 children that were eligible for Medicaid; in the county that were eligible for Medicaid..
In one study in 2010, the county was ranked 23 out of 67 Florida counties for health outcomes.
 Public recreation
Boardwalk over wetlands area at Chain of Lakes in Titusville
More than 200 parks, 3 campgrounds, and 6 public golf courses in the county are managed by local government agencies. Offering residents and visitors a range of leisure opportunities, the parks include athletic complexes, community centers, aquatic centers, nature centers, trails, conservation areas, beach parks, historic sites, and boating and fishing access to lakes, the Indian River Lagoon and the St. Johns River.
In 2000, Brevard County voters approved bond referendums that provided funding for construction or improvement of over 50 county parks in North Brevard, Merritt Island, and South Brevard. Citizen Committees and Advisory Boards identified community recreational needs. These projects were submitted by the Recreation Advisory Boards to the Board of County Commissioners to be included in the referendum. While some projects are as simple as improved playground equipment, other projects are of a regional nature requiring extensive community planning, permitting and land acquisition. In November 2006, the Board of County Commissioners provided taxpayers the opportunity to vote on issuing additional bonds. The voters approved the additional bonds and with no tax rate increase resulting, because the millage previously approved generates the revenue to repay both sets of bonds.
In 11 sanctuaries that protect natural ecosystems, the county`s Environmentally Endangered Lands (EEL) Program offers passive recreation opportunities such as hiking, wildlife viewing, biking and paddling.
In conservation areas managed by the St. Johns River Water Management District, recreational opportunities include hiking, bike and equestrian trails, camping, boating and fishing. Although the District`s main goal of buying land is to protect water resources, these lands protect plant and wildlife habitat and provide areas for public recreation and environmental education.
The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Canaveral National Seashore are 2 national wildlife refuges in the county that offer recreational pursuits such as hiking, wildlife viewing, paddling, and environmental education.
The county centrally controls all 17 libraries in the county. There are 900,000 volumes. One library card is valid at all locations, and materials are loaned between locations through a daily courier service and outside the library system via Inter-Library Loan. Periodical subscriptions stand at about 2,250. The libraries own over 18,000 videos and 21,000 sound recordings. Personal computers for public use are hooked up to broadband in all libraries.
In 2010, there were 207 full time workers. The operating budget was $16.4 million.
In 1989, the main library moved to a building contributed by Florida Today. It was the first in the county to discard the card catalog.
 Social services
Main article: Brevard County Social Services
Brevard County tries to provide a number of unique services to help the aged, juveniles, the physically and mentally handicapped, and minorities.
The Brevard Family of Housing uses federal money to help create and maintain affordable housing.
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Presidential elections results Year Republican Democratic Other
2008 54.5% 44.2% 1.3%
2004 57.7% 41.6% 0.8%
2000 52.8% 44.6% 1.8%
1996 45.1% 41.2% 13.6%
1992 43.2% 31.2% 25.6%
1988 70.3% 28.8% 0.9%
In 2010, there were 154,057 registered Republicans, 130,214 registered Democrats, and 73,549 other. Voter turnout in 2010 was 55.8%, the second lowest in 28 years.
 Municipal government
There are 16 autonomous municipal governments within the county. Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Indian Harbour Beach, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Rockledge, Satellite Beach, Titusville, and West Melbourne, all have city councils. Cocoa Beach has a city commission. Grant-Valkaria, Indialantic, Malabar, and Palm Shores have town councils. Melbourne Beach and Melbourne Village have town commissions. The municipal decision-making bodies have from 5 to 7 members. The terms of office vary from 2 years in Indialantic and Melbourne Village to 4 years. Cape Canaveral, Cocoa, Malabar, Melbourne, Melbourne Beach, Palm Bay and Satellite Beach have term limits. The remainder do not. Cocoa, Malabar, and Melbourne have geographic districts for council members. The remainder elect their members at-large.
 Geographic features
The Brevard-Volusia county-line
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,557 square miles (4,032.6 km2), of which 1,018 square miles (2,636.6 km2) is land and 539 square miles (1,396.0 km2) (34.60%) is water, primarily the Atlantic Ocean, the St. Johns River and the Indian River Lagoon. The county is larger in area than Samoa and nearly the same size, and population, as Cape Verde. It is one third of the size of Rhode Island.
Located half-way between Jacksonville, Florida and Miami, Brevard County is an extra-long county, extending over 70 miles (110 km) from north to south, but only a handful of miles inland from the seacoast at any point. In marshes in the western part of this county is the source of the St. Johns River.
The Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway along the eastern edge of Brevard County is the major waterway route in Brevard County. It includes the Indian River. Additional waterways include Lake Washington, Lake Poinsett, Lake Winder, Sawgrass Lake, St. Johns River, and the Banana River.
Brevard County is the sole county in the Palm Bay – Melbourne – Titusville, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area (formerly the Melbourne-Titusville-Cocoa, Florida Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area and Melbourne-Titusville-Palm Bay, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area).
There is no major urban center. The county is unofficially divided into three section, North County, comprising Titusville, Mims and Port St. John; Central Brevard, which includes Cocoa, Rockledge Merritt Island, and Cocoa Beach; and South County, which includes Melbourne, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and the South Beaches. The South Beaches is a term that measure direction south from the dividing line of Patrick Air Force Base, and includes South Patrick Shores, Satellite Beach, Indian Harbour Beach, Indialantic, and Melbourne Beach.
Additionally, the government has historically labeled the beach areas differently. These names are sometimes ambiguous with those in popular use. The North Reach includes 9.4 miles (15.1 km) in Cape Canaveral and Cocoa Beach. The Patrick Air Force Base beach is 4.1 miles (6.6 km). The Mid Reach includes the 7.6 miles (12.2 km) in Satellite Beach. The South Reach includes the 3.8 miles (6.1 km) in Indialantic and Melbourne Beach. The South Beaches includes 14.5 miles (23.3 km) south of Melbourne Beach to Sebastian.
There are 16 municipalities. The largest, by population is Palm Bay, the smallest Melbourne Village.
The county has seven canals for transportation and drainage:
* Canaveral Barge Canal, Courtenay - transportation
* Faulk Canal, Cocoa
* Grand Canal, Tropic
* Haulover Canal, Mims - transportation
* Melbourne Tillman Canal, Melbourne West - drainage
* Old Canal, Wilson
* C-54 Canal - on the south Brevard County Line - drainage
The county has a Koppen climate classification of Cf with a year-round distribution of rainfall. This means a humid subtropical climate with hot, humid summers. There are distinct wet and dry seasons. The dry lasts from December through May. The wet from June through November.
Temperature varies noticeably in this 72 miles (116 km) long, north-to-south, county, particularly in winter. In north county, northern (temperate climate) flora can thrive, like deciduous trees. In the south county, sub-tropical plants can grow, such as royal palm trees. Progressing from west to east, there is a moderating affect from the ocean and, to a lesser extent, from the Indian River; so eastern low temperatures are higher, and high temperatures are lower, than is measured further west.
January is the coldest month with an average low of 50.7 °F (10.4 °C); average high 71 °F (22 °C). The warmest months are July and August with average highs of 90 °F (32 °C); average lows 72.2. The driest month is April with 1.6 inches (4.1 cm) rainfall; the wettest September, 6.6 inches (17 cm).
Offshore ocean temperatures have averaged: January - 64 °F (18 °C), February - 62 °F (17 °C), March - 67 °F (19 °C) and April - 72 °F (22 °C).
Florida is a large subtropical state that experiences hurricanes. Although Brevard county is located along Florida`s eastern peninsula, it is less frequently impacted by direct hurricane landfalls than portions of the Panhandle or South Florida. There are two predominant reasons for this. First, westward moving tropical systems often reach an atmospheric ridge weakness in the Bermuda High by the time they approach Florida at a latitude as northerly as Brevard County. Combined with frontal systems that exit the United States` East Coast, many of these tropical systems are steered northwest and eventually curve northward offshore Florida`s East Central Coast. A second reason is that hurricanes landfalling along the Florida peninsular Gulf Coast often weaken to a tropical storm by the time they move northeast to affect Brevard County (with some exceptions, such as 2004`s Charley).
Although Brevardians may refer to past storms as "hurricanes", by the time they strike here, some of them may have subsided to tropical storms or depressions. Because of the threat of storm surge, the beach community on the barrier island is often required to evacuate well in advance of the storm. The possibility of storm surge is diminished when the storm comes across the state instead of from the Atlantic.
Tornados spinning off from even small storms can result in severe damage in small areas.
Five hurricanes have directly affected Brevard since 1950: David (September 3, 1979), Hurricane Erin (August 2, 1995) - made landfall near Sebastian Inlet and caused mostly minor wind damage and more extensive flooding countywide, Charley (August 13, 2004) - Caused damage in Titusville and North Brevard. Frances (September 3, 2004) - Struck neighboring Vero Beach, Indian River County directly and caused widespread wind damage throughout Brevard, Jeanne (September 26, 2004) - Struck Vero, directly, following very nearly the same path as Frances. The latter two storms caused widespread damage in South Brevard, and resulted in $2.8 billion in claim payments. Slightly more than half of one percent (0.6%) of houses were lost.
The following storms did not affect Brevard County with hurricane force winds: Floyd (September 15, 1999), and Irene (October 16, 1999).
Tropical Storm Fay dropped a record rainfall of 27.65 inches (70.2 cm) in 2008.
The winter of 2009-2010 was the coldest on record since 1937 when records were first kept. Planting season, which normally starts around February 14, came instead, six weeks later. Some flowers and herbs are planted as early as January. December 2010 was the coldest December on record.
Main article: Environmental issues in Brevard County
Pine flatwoods and sand pine scrub
Brevard works together with the federal and state government to control pollution and preserve wetlands and coastal areas through lands dedicated to conservation and wildlife protection. These lands include Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, the Canaveral National Seashore, the St. Johns National Wildlife Refuge, the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, several conservation areas managed by the St. Johns River Water Management District, Brevard County`s Environmentally Endangered Lands Program Sanctuaries, and lands dedicated by the State as conservation areas.
 Adjacent counties
* Volusia County, Florida - north
* Indian River County, Florida - south
* Osceola County, Florida - southwest
* Orange County, Florida - west
* Seminole County, Florida - northwest
Love bug season occurs twice annually in May and August–September. Motorists, usually, encounter swarms of these while driving during a four week period.
Yellow flies are particularly noticeable from April through June.
There were 596 manatees in Brevard in 2009, out of a total of 3,802 in the state. This is a decline from 2007 when there was a total of 859 out of a state total of 2,817.
Turkey vultures, a migrating species, are protected by federal law. They migrate north in the summer and return in September.
The county`s most common winter bird is the lesser scaup, a diving duck. In 2008, half a million were counted. In 2010, 15,000 were estimated. Local bird counts indicate that there are at least 163 species of birds in the county.
The poisonous brown recluse spider is not native to the area but has found the environment congenial.
The Florida Butterfly Monitoring Network has counted species of butterflies monthly for a year since 2007. In 2010, it counted 45 species.
The county Domestic Product was $14.5 billion in 2009.
In 2010, the Brookings Institution reported that Brevard ranked in the bottom fifth of the nation`s top metro areas, based on unemployment, gross metropolitan product, housing prices and foreclosed properties. Foreclosures reached a monthly high of 963 in March 2009.
Government purchasing contributed 12%-15% of the county`s gross domestic product from 2000 to 2010.
 Personal income
As of the census of 2000:
* Median income for a family - $47,571
* Median income for males - $36,542
* Median income for females - $24,632
* Per capita income - $21,484. The county has the 17th highest per capita income in the state (out of 67).
* Median income for a household - $40,099
* In 2005, the median income for a household had risen to $43,281
The county ranked 17th for per capita income, out of Florida`s 67 counties.
The following were below the poverty line in 2000:
* Families - 6.80%
* Total population - 9.50%
* Under age 18 - 13.00%
* Age 65 or older - 6.50%
In 2010, almost 60,000 people in the country were receiving food stamps.
There were 5,600 civilian government workers in the county. They earned an average of $74,000 each in 2009.
38% (84,401) households in the county received social security payments in 2009 averaging $16,136 for a total of $1.7 billion annually. 24% (53,717) received pension payments averaging $24,327 for a total of $1.3 billion annually.
Monthly foreclosures exceeded 746 from January 2009 through October. Maximum monthly home sales were less than 584 during that time frame, creating an accumulating backlog of unsold homes. In 2010, there were 15,000 more vacant homes than the economy could absorb; the population was not growing.
Nearly 44,943 new houses were built from 2000 through 2009. This was enough to house 112,000 people. However, only 60,000 people moved into the county, leaving the remaining homes vacant and helping to precipitate bursting the United States housing bubble. In 2000, there were 198,195 households in the county and 222,072 units for a occupancy rate of 89.1%. Between 2000 and 2009, more than twice as many houses were built than were needed. Nearly 47,000 houses were built, but the number of households increased by 22,000, dropping the occupancy rate to 81.9%.
Housing vacancy rate hit a high of 18.8% in 2007. The number of households renting hit a low of 48,528 in 2005. Median monthly rent hit a high of $907 in 2008. In 2009, 73% of Brevard households owned the house they lived in. The national rate was 65.9%.
The county`s median home price reached a high in August 2005 at $248,700. New home permits fell in 2007 to 1,894, the lowest since 1982. Sales of existing homes fell 19% in 2007 from the prior year to 373 monthly. The median drop in home prices was 50% from 2005 to 2008, from $248,700 to $125,200. However, when choices for smaller homes was eliminated, prices on individual homes fell 25%; down 33% for individual condos. In 2000, the median sale price of homes in Brevard was $100,000. With the collapse in the housing bubble, homes now are often about the same price, with median homes in 2009 selling for $89,400. In November 2010, the number of sales and prices of existing homes rose from the previous year. This was the first rise in 4 1/2 years.
In a separate study, a consulting firm determined that house prices in the county were 46.1% overvalued in 2005 at $212,000 average. The same firm determined that prices were 19.3% undervalued in 2008 at $129,400. The average price in December 2009, fell to a new recent low of $104,100. In January 2010, sales dropped to 434 monthly, also a recent low.
In 2008, a number of mortgage insurers blackmarked Brevard, along with a quarter of the total nations zip codes. This was intended to thwart potential buyers who wish to pay less than 20% down on a home.
In 2009 an economist said that the Brevard housing market will not recover until at least 2011. A later analysis in 2009 seemed to agree, saying that the market would fall 41.4% to bottom out by the end of 2010.
In 2008 Brevard expected to have 100,000-300,000 more people by 2020, an increase of 60%.
In 2008, there were 1,550 permits for residential projects valued at $355.45 million. That is the lowest number of filings since 1975. The lowest number of building permits was in 2009, 937. The highest was in 2005, 8,663.
Annual foreclosures rose from a low of 1,144 in 2005 to 9,228 in 2008. From 2007 to March 2010, there were 25,600 foreclosure filings. In 2010, it was found that 1/3 or more of real estate sales were due to foreclosures.
In 2010 Kiplinger.com rated the county one of five "best" places in America to retire. Factors evaluated included cost-of-living, weather, the number of doctors, taxes, crime rates and recreational opportunities.
Three communities have either decided or are considering placing electric lines most vulnerable to high winds, underground despite the high cost.
Cape Canaveral and Satellite Beach have declared a moratorium on converting commercially zoned areas to residential.
The company developing West Viera gained state permission and county acquiescence to create a self-governing board that could raise taxes and sell bonds to pay for roads, water lines, pumping stations and other infrastructure needed to support the construction of 16,500 houses, apartments and condominiums. The company proved that development could fund itself.
The Brevard economy has been driven by Trade, Transportation and Utilities (18%), Professional and Business Services (17%), Total government (15%), Education and Health (14%), Manufacturing (12%), Leisure and hospitality (10%), Construction (6%), Financial (4%).
In 2005, Inc. Magazine voted the Space Coast as the best place to do business in Florida and sixth in the country.
In 2004, Brevard County ranked 13th out of 318 largest counties in the US for increase in the number of jobs. The county moved from 70 to 31 out of the top 200 metropolitan areas "Best Performing." This improvement was driven mainly by job growth.
Port Canaveral is the world`s busiest cruise port. It is served by seven cruise lines. They have six major cruise terminals. There is 750,000 square feet (70,000 m2) of covered freight storage capacity. It handled 4,000,000 short tons (3,600,000 t) of cargo in 2004. The port has boosted Brevard`s economy by $500 million annually.
American City Business Journals rated Brevard 7th for quality of life out of 67.
Two hospitals were among the top five private employers in the county. Together employing 8,850 in 2009.
In 2008, 14,865 workers were employed at the NASA/Kennedy Space Center. The Center directly spent $1.82 billion in the county.
A concern has been the probable re-assignment of thousands of space coast workers when the shuttle is discontinued in 2010. In 2010, 9,000 jobs were expected to be lost from the shuttle and other programs. Each launch contributed $4 million to the county`s economy. Annually,$78 million is spent at the Space Center Visitor`s Complex, and $5.9 million from space business visitors.
Harris Corporation, headquarters in the county, has the most employees in the private sector, 6,700 in 209.
Two locally headquartered builders, Mercedes Homes and Holiday were among the top 30 in the nation. Mercedes had $1 billion in sales in 2004.
The Cocoa Redevelopment Center has worked on programs to improve housing in the city`s older areas.
Inc. magazine selected two local small companies as among the fastest growing in the country over the past 3 years - Applied Global Technology (nearly 100% annually) and Stops (nearly 200% annually).
Though the area has a relatively small number of high technology companies, 736, a business journal ranked it eighth in the country as a high tech center in 2009. The area had 23,096 high-tech jobs with a ratio of 124 per 1,000 total jobs.
The county had 1,050 restaurants in 2007 and nearly that many (1,040) in 2010. There were 22.600 leisure and hospitality workers in the county in 2006. This figures includes hotel workers. That figure had dropped 8.5% to 20,700 in 2010.
Military installations in Brevard County include Patrick Air Force Base, near Satellite Beach, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), adjacent to the Kennedy Space Center, and the U.S. Air Force Malabar Test Facility on Minton Road in suburban Palm Bay. In 2009, they employed a total of 2,000 civilian federal workers.
The Navy maintains a Trident turning basin at Port Canaveral for Ballistic Missile Submarines. The Naval Ordnance Test Unit (NOTU) tests weapons on these subs which arrive at the rate of one a month. The 2005 Base closures included realigning NOTU out of state. The community was successful in getting this decision revoked.
CCAFS houses the Air Force Space & Missile Museum as Launch Complex 26, where many unmanned rockets were launched early in the U.S. space program including Explorer 1, the first US spacecraft placed in earth orbit.
The Cape Canaveral Navy League council supports the Sea Services by adopting ships and units of the Navy and Coast Guard. It also provides a means for civilians to socialize with the officers and crew of allied Navies when they visit port.
Northrup Grumman develops the military JSTARS electronics surveillance system used in all major US conflicts since 1990.
The USS Brevard (AK-164) was a World War II Alamosa-class naval cargo ship that was decommissioned shortly after the war.
23% of Brevard County is agricultural-usable for citrus, raising cattle or horses. Cattle ranches include the Deseret and Duda Ranches; citrus growers include Victory Groves and Harvey`s Indian River Groves.
The county ranked 21 out of 24 Florida counties in the shipment of gift fruit.
In 2009, aquaculture was a $900,000 business in the county. The county produces more than 25% of all blue crabs along Florida`s East Coast.
There are 40 4-H related clubs in the county including livestock- and pet-related and after school clubs. As in all Cooperative extension service, a land grant college, the University of Florida, conducted over 60 courses in 2010 in aid of 4-H programs and other agricultural pursuits.
In February 2010, the USDA declared that Brevard, along with of 59 other Florida counties, was a "primary natural disaster area." This happened when the temperature falls below 28 degrees for 4 hours, where crops are being grown.
In 2008, tourists spent $2.89 billion in the county. This is distributed in several categories: lodging $839 million, eating and drinking $509 million, Kennedy Space Center $597 million, Retail sales $450 million, entertainment $120 million, and Port Canaveral $109 million. Brevard tourists come mainly from ten states: Florida itself is first, followed by Ohio, Illinois, Michigan, New York, Virginia, Wisconsin, Georgia, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania. The five primary sources of foreign visitors are: Canada, England, Germany, China and Italy.
1.6 million people visited the Space Center Visitor Complex in 2008.
In 2009, there were 2.4 million overnight visitors in the county. There were 1.2 million day visitors.
Brevard competes with other Florida areas for tourists. A number of organizations help promote the area.
The Space Coast Office of Tourism consists of county staff and the Brevard County Tourist Development Council (TDC). They attempt to attract tourists. The TDC serves as an advisory council to the county on the expenditures of revenues received from a tourist tax. This revenue is spent on beach improvements, visitor information centers and website, promotion and advertising, the Brevard Zoo, additional beach improvements and the Space Coast Stadium.
In 1964, the Colt 45s started spring training at Cocoa Stadium. The team later became the Houston Astros. The team left the county in 1985. They were succeeded by the Florida Marlins at Viera in 1993.
$97.7 million has been spent on beach replenishment in the county between 2000-2010. This was funded 58% by the federal government, 27% by the state and 15% by the county.
In 2008 monthly tourist tax revenue slumped from a high of $1,174,742 in March to a seasonal low in September of $432,145.
In 2004, Brevard experienced its best October and November tourism until then, despite widespread hurricane damage and loss of five beachside hotels. Four of these hotels were restored by 2006.
In 2008, the county had 11,000 hotel rooms available. In July 2007, there was a 66.1% occupancy rate. In 2008, the county had a nearly identical 81%+ occupancy rate in March and April. This fell to a seasonal low of 42.3% in September. In January 2010, the average hotel room rate was $88.25.
Cocoa Main Street, a member of the Florida and National Main Street Programs, works toward restoring business sites in the historic area known as "Cocoa Village." Cocoa Main Street has received six Florida Main Street Awards given by the Secretary of State. The restored area is a tourist attraction and an economic magnet. Melbourne Main Street is another historic business area and tourist attraction restored through the Main Street Programs.
Brevard has five judged art festivals annually attracting tens of thousands of people to art displays. Most festivals are held in the spring or fall when many tourists can attend. Many other annual festivals are held in parks and public sites throughout the year. The Brevard Cultural Alliance (BCA) maintains an event calendar and a map of sites of historic, cultural, and ecological interest.
For Brevard County businesses, fishing tournaments, such as the Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series tournament in August, bring more than $2.5 million a year in direct spending and more in indirect spending. Tournaments provide a revenue source for the county and local businesses.
The annual Grant Seafood Festival attracts as many as 50,000 people for the two day February event. It is the Southeast`s largest and longest running seafood festival.
The Globe Sebastian Inlet Pro surfing contest, on the county line, draws 16,000 visitors the second weekend in January.
An ice skating rink in Rockledge serves the county`s residents and visitors with hockey and figure skating events.
The largest home in Brevard is the 50-room 19,000 square feet (1,800 m2) mansion in Suntree built in 1991 and once owned by Cecil Fielder.
In 2009, recreational boat owners generated almost $51 million annually towards the county economy, ranking the industry fifth in the state.
In 2010 a local group compared the county against four other "peer" cities:Austin, Texas, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Huntsville, Alabama, and Raleigh, North Carolina. It evaluated nine areas: business dynamism/vitality, competitiveness, education, economic growth, economic prosperity, livability, productivity/labor supply, technology and innovation/work force. While the county does well against national figures, and scored high in livability, it usually ranked last against these "peers" in the other eight areas.
In 2009, the county had 13 patents per 1,000 workers, more than double the national average of 6.4 patents per 1,000.
In 2009, Forbes ranked the county 18th out of 100 MSAs and first out of 8 metros in Florida for affordable housing, and short commute times, among others.
In August 2009, Florida Trend rated two Brevard companies, Harris Corporation and Health First Health Plans, in their rankings of the best places to work in Florida.
In May 2009, the Palm Bay-Melbourne area was ranked as the #8 tech center in the United States by Bizjournals. It overcame its low number of total high-tech companies and jobs by having a high number of jobs per high tech company (#4) and high tech jobs compared to total private-sector jobs (#2).
The Milken institute ranked Brevard number one, out of 200 largest metropolitan areas, in overall job growth for 2005.
Forbes magazine ranked Melbourne 2nd out of 150 metropolitan areas in the US, for the percentage of the population that are engineers, 6.6%, just ahead of Silicon Valley.
Brevard County`s unemployment rate fell to a record low 2.8% in December 2005. It reached a maximum employment of254,514 in 2006.
In 2006, Forbes magazine named Harris Corporation, headquartered in Brevard, to its "Platinum 400" List.
The Technological Research and Development Authority, based on the Space Coast, delivers technologies to schools and small businesses throughout the State of Florida. They obtain this information through strategic alliances with NASA, the federal government, the aerospace industry and state partners. They also sponsor a business incubator at the Melbourne Airport.
The National Association of Realtors reported that existing homes prices in Brevard rose 33% annually the third quarter of 2005, the sixth highest metropolitan area in the nation (out of 147). There was a slight decrease in existing home prices the last quarter of 2005.
In January 2005, CNN/Money ranked the homes in "Palm Bay", perhaps referring to all of the Space Coast, as "49% overvalued" and within 10% of the most overvalued homes in the United States.
In 2005, the Sunrise Bank of Cocoa Beach became the first bank in the state to have a mobile branch.
The largest hotel in Brevard has 284 rooms and 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) of meeting space.
Kennedy Space Center (KSC) is the largest employer in the county with 15,000 contractors and civil servants. While there is concern about the new generation of space vehicles requiring 1/3 fewer workers, about that number are eligible for retirement by 2011.
Unions represented at KSC include American Federation of Government Employees, International Association of Machinists and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.
Brevard County Teachers are represented by the Brevard Federation of Teachers (AFT).
In 2009, average annual salaries in the county for engineers was $90,563; registered nurses $53,315; education $49,441; police officers $43,035; cooks $21,569; and cashiers $19,489. The average annual pay for all workers was then $42,411.
In 2005, the Next Generation Consulting for Leadership Brevard, a leadership development organization for local business and civic groups, and Brevard Tomorrow commissioned a survey of people 21-44. Basically, these people often found the area "boring", mainly because it is family-friendly at the expense of being singles-friendly. While this may have labor repercussions later, currently business is having no problems hiring.
The county had an unemployment rate of 12.7% in January 2010, a 20-year record high. In March 2010, there were 33, 500 people out of work. The county experienced a record low unemployment in 2005 of 2.8%.
In early 2005, Forbes ranked the area 27th in job growth out of 150 metropolitan areas in the country. The county ranked 18th in the nation for mid-sized areas in 2006.
Manpower Employment Outlook Survey said the hiring outlook in Brevard for the last quarter of 2005 was the 19th-best in the nation among the 470 communities participating in the survey.
2004 Hurricane recovery helped the area achieve high employment.
There were 168,500 private sector jobs in the county in 2009. The Bureau of Labor Statistics counted the following workers in Brevard along with average annual pay ($): Retail 25,900 ($23,361), Manufacturing 21,700 ($65,521), Local government 20,100 ($42,517) and Hospitality 19,600 ($15,857). The largest local employer is Brevard Public Schools with 9,500 of whom 5,000 are teachers.
The Space Coast Credit Union is the largest locally-based financial institution in Brevard and the largest credit union in the state with assets of $1.44 billion.
As of the census of 2000, there were in the county:
* People - 476,230 people
* Households - 198,195
* Families - 132,394
* population density - 181/km² (468/sq mi)
* Housing units - 222,072
* Average housing density - 84/km² (218/sq mi)
The population grew about 50,000 between 2000 and 2005. From 2005 to 2009, it grew by about 10,000. This helped lead the county to a housing bubble crisis since homes were built to accommodate a larger population. From 2007 through 2010, the population has been essentially static.
The county`s population is larger than that of the state of Wyoming.
The racial makeup of the county was:
* White - 84.81%
* Black or African American - 10.40%
* Hispanic or Latino - 4.61%
* two or more races - 1.77%
* Asian - 1.50%
* other races - 1.09%
* Native Ameri