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The Villages, Florida
—  CDP  —
Motto: Florida's Friendliest Hometown
Location of The Villages in Sumter County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: 28°56′16″N 81°58′16″W / 28.93778°N 81.97111°W / 28.93778; -81.97111
Country  United States
State  Florida
County  Sumter
 - Total 5.6 sq mi (14.4 km2)
 - Land 5.2 sq mi (13.4 km2)
 - Water 0.4 sq mi (1 km2)
Elevation 66 ft (20 m)
Population (2008)
 - Total approximately 75,000
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
FIPS code 12-71625[1]
GNIS feature ID 1828956[2]

The Villages is a census-designated place (CDP) in Sumter County, Florida, United States. The Villages had a population of 8,333 at the 2000 census. The CDP is part of a wider development, also called "The Villages," which is the largest residential development in central Florida.[3]

Most of the CDP consists of part of a large 55+ retirement community and Community Development District (CDD)[4] that includes parts of Lake and Marion counties, with some of the Lake County portion being under the jurisdiction of Lady Lake.[5] It lies in central Florida, approximately 20 miles south of Ocala and approximately 45 miles northwest of Orlando. It is the center of The Villages Micropolitan Statistical Area (μSA), which consists of all of Sumter County. The Villages earned the No. 1 ranking as the fastest growing micropolitan area in the United States according to a 2008 Census Bureau report.[6] The Villages on line social network is Talk of The Villages with over 11,000 resident members.



The Villages started the process of development around the 1960s.[7][8] Over time, a Declaration of Restrictions has been created for each individual neighborhood, which regulates such things as landscaping, repairs and maintenance, placement of satellite dishes, hedges, etc. All homes must be occupied by at least one person who is 55 years of age or older. Persons under the age of 19 years may visit for a maximum of 30 days per year, though some portions of the development are designated for families and, thus, not subject to this restriction.[9] An Architectural Review Committee was founded in 1994 in order to control the composition and consistency of the exterior of the residential properties within The Villages. The committee, which consists of Villages residents, is responsible for approving alterations and modifications to the properties and homes built by the developer. Committee members serve for three years and are selected by the sitting committee.[10]


Golf Cart Tossed Aside in the Village of Caroline during a 2007 tornado.

Considered a heavily Republican community, The Villages is a popular election stop[1] and platform for personalities such as former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin[2][3] , former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee [4] and talk show host/author Glenn Beck [5].

A gated community known for low crime rates, The Villages was featured extensively in the news after a resident was killed in her home during a hold-up in July, 2006, the first-ever murder in the retirement community.[11]

A tornado struck The Villages in February, 2007. Thirteen people in the town of Paisley and six more in Lady Lake (none in The Villages) lost their lives in the storm.
Within Lake County, one of the three counties that make up The Villages, a total of 21 fatalities occurred[12] and hundreds of homes were damaged.[13]


The Villages is located at 28°56′16″N 81°58′16″W / 28.93778°N 81.97111°W / 28.93778; -81.97111 (28.937803, -81.971220)[14].

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 5.6 mi² (14.5 km²). 5.2 mi² (13.4 km²) of it is land and 0.4 mi² (1.0 mi²) of it (6.99%) is water.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 8,333 people, 4,392 households, and 3,583 families residing in the CDP. A more recent survey indicates that The Villages passed 75,000 population in December 2007 and based on growth trends from 1990 forward, will double in population in the next 5 years[6]. A portion of this number are people who only reside part-time in The Villages and claim residency eleswhere. The population density was 1,605.5 people per square mile (619.9/km²²). There were 5,065 housing units at an average density of 975.9/mi (376.8/km²²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 98.42% White, 0.52% African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.06% from other races, and 0.37% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race made up 1.30% of the population.

There were 4,392 households, of which 0.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 80.1% were married couples living together, 1.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.4% were non-families. 15.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.89 and the average family size was 2.05.

Age ranges in the population were 0.3% under the age of 18, 0.3% from 18 to 24, 1.5% from 25 to 44, 40.4% from 45 to 64, and 57.5% 65 years of age or older. The median age was 66 years. For every 100 females there were 91.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.9 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $42,542, and the median income for a family was $45,078. Males had a median income of $58,173 versus $26,176 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $28,343. About 2.8% of families and 3.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including none of those under age 18 and 2.8% of those aged 65 or over.

Community Development District

The Villages is developed and maintained using Florida's special purpose local government known as the Community Development District (CDD).[15] Around 225 communities in Florida currently use this form of government.[15] In The Villages, there are two classes of CDDs. One class of CDD covers the areas where residents own homes. These CDDs provide and maintain the roads and transportation paths, storm water systems and structures, underground utilities, curbs and gutters, and street lights. The costs of building and maintaining this infrastructure are paid for by annual special assessments included in the property tax bill. Residents elect the members of the Board of Supervisors for the District in which they reside. There are currently 8 districts.

The other class of CDD is the special central Community Development Districts: the Village Center Community Development District (VCCDD) and the Sumter Landing Community Development District (SLCDD). Recreation centers and executive golf courses are owned by these districts. Residents pay monthly amenities fees to these districts in exchange for the use of these facilities. Even though the recreation centers and the executive golf courses may be located in the CDD in which residents live, the facilities are owned by the special central CDDs, and not the residents. After building the recreation centers and the executive golf courses, the developer transfers ownership of these facilities to the two special central CDDs at a price agreed upon by the developer and the developer-selected supervisors of the special CDDs. However, these special CDDs are not residential, and the developer retainss the majority of the votes. This means that the developer runs these special CDDs and the properties that they maintain.

A point of contention in The Villages is that the special CDDs pay the developer an inflated value for the recreation centers and the executive golf courses. Approximately 60% of the monthly amenity fees paid by the residents are used to fulfill the bond obligations issued by the two special central CDDs to pay the developer for these facilities. The argument in favor of this procedure is that the developer pays for, builds, and completely finishes these facilities before the houses in an area are constructed. This allows residents to begin using the recreation areas the day they move into their new neighborhood, unlike many other developments in the state that build homes first and then recreation centers, sometimes years afterwards.

Parks and recreation

The 18th green at Tierra Del Sol, one of the golf courses at The Villages

The Villages is a golf cart community, with special transportation trails built for golf carts. The development includes more than forty recreation centers, over twenty executive golf courses, eight championship golf courses with country clubs, a golf academy, a polo field, three fitness centers, a woodworking shop and community garden, an archery range, and two libraries.

A golf cart overpass was built across US 27/US 441 in the center of The Villages to connect the original neighborhood to new areas because a tunnel could not be constructed to provide safe passage across this major highway. Tunnels serve this purpose throughout the rest of the community where a highway must be crossed.


The Villages owns and operates The Villages Daily Sun newspaper and WVLG (AM-640) radio.

Government and infrastructure

Local government

There are two homeowners associations in The Villages: The Property Owners Association (POA) and The Villages Homeowners Association (VHA). Both are voluntary organizations that work to inform and serve the residents, and there are no mandatory dues for any homeowner.

County, state, and federal representation

Sumter County operates The Villages Annex at 8033 East County Road 466.[16] Areas of The Villages in Sumter County are divided between District 1, which takes areas east of Morse Boulevard, and District 3, which takes areas west of Morse Boulevard.[17][18] As of 2008 the districts are headed by Richard Hoffman and Michael E. Francis, respectively.[18][19]


Many residents in The Villages use golf carts to travel around the community. In December 2008 the residents had around 38,000 golf carts. [20]
The Villages operates a shuttle between the community and Orlando International Airport in Orlando. The shuttle stops at Lake Sumter Landing and Spanish Springs.[21]


Although The Villages is a 55 and over community with no full-time resident children under 18 allowed, there is a charter school within the community. The sole purpose is an incentive to attract businesses and workers to The Villages, who may elect to send their children to the highly acclaimed Villages Charter Schools. Students are drawn from a workplace boundary rather than the typical public school geographic boundary. For the most part, students reside in the counties of Lake, Marion, and Sumter (separate school districts) and are dropped off at school by their parents as they travel to work. This "closeness" has created a much greater sense of school/community ownership due to its proximity to the workplace[7]. Students and Residents interact in a number of community events to the benefit of both students and residents. It is among the few schools in Florida to receive a distinguished GreatSchools Rating of 9 out of 10. [8]. Federal and State eligibility rules apply.[9][22][23] Sumter County residents are in proximity to Wildwood High School in Wildwood. Residents of Lake County are zoned to Leesburg High School of the Lake County Board of Education.[24] Residents of Marion County are zoned to Lake Weir High School of Marion Public Schools.[25] The Villages Charter Schools is a PK-12 charter school in unincorporated Sumter County.[26] Children are eligible to attend the charter school if one or both of their parents work for, or have a business within The Villages.[27]

Sumter District Schools operates the Sumter County Adult Community Education Center in unincorporated Sumter County.[28] For residents of Lake and Sumter counties, Lake-Sumter Community College provides adult education at the South Lake Campus in City of Clermont and the Leesburg Campus in City of Leesburg in Lake County and the Sumter Campus in unincorporated Sumter County.[29] Central Florida Community College serves residents of Marion County,[30] operating the Ocala Campus and the Hampton Center in Ocala in Marion County and centers and campuses in adjacent counties.[31]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  3. ^ "One man's crusade." St. Petersburg Times. July 7, 2002.
  4. ^ For information about Florida's Uniform Community Development Districts see: Chapter 190: Community Development Districts. The 2007 Florida Statutes. The Florida Senate, State of Florida.
  5. ^ "Village Neighborhoods & the Units/Villas Within Them." The Villages. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.
  6. ^ The Villages Micropolitan Statistical Area ranks as fastest growing in the nation - accessed 28 August 2008
  7. ^ "Deed Restrictions and Covenants. (May 17, 2006) Village Center. Retrieved September 11, 2008.
  8. ^ Deed Restrictions and Covenants. Village Center. Retrieved November 4, 2007.
  9. ^ a b "Deed Compliance." The Villages. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.
  10. ^ Architectural Review. Village Center. Retrieved 4 November 2007.
  11. ^ Hudak, Stephen. Trial begins in killing of Villages woman. Orlando Sentinel, 28 October 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2007.
  12. ^ The Groundhog Day Tornado Outbreak February 2, 2007. National Weather Service, Melbourne Weather Forecast Office, 17 February 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2007.
  13. ^ Mitchell, Bill, George Horsford and Katie Derksen. Tornado photos. The Villages Daily Sun, 2 February 2007. Retrieved 4 November 2007.
  14. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  15. ^ a b Your Community District. The Village Center. Retrieved 4 November 2007.
  16. ^ "Support Services." Sumter County, Florida. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.
  17. ^ "District Map." Sumter County, Florida. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.
  18. ^ a b "District 3." Sumter County, Florida. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.
  19. ^ "District 1." Sumter County, Florida. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.
  20. ^ Holbrook, Tom. "'Manly Men Group decide auto makers fate'." Orlando Senior Examiner. December 6, 2008.
  21. ^ "Transportation Shuttle Schedule." The Villages. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.
  22. ^ Huber, Joseph H. "Age eligibility in high school athletics: when state laws and federal regulations clash." Palaestra. Summer 1991.
  23. ^ "6A-6.0331." Florida Department of Education. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.
  24. ^ "Lake County 2008-2009 Attendance Boundary Leesburg High School." Lake County Board of Education. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.
  25. ^ "School Zoning Boundaries Map Lake Weir High." Marion Public Schools. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.
  26. ^ "Welcome." The Villages Charter Schools. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.
  27. ^ "Charter-in-the-Workplace." The Villages Charter Schools. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.
  28. ^ "Sumter County Adult Community Education Center." Sumter District Schools. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.
  29. ^ Home page. Lake-Sumter Community College. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.
  30. ^ "Governor Appoints CFCC Trustees from Marion." Central Florida Community College. July 23, 2007.
  31. ^ "CFCC Campuses and Centers." Central Florida Community College. Retrieved on December 11, 2008.

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