Orlando is a major city in central Florida, USA and is the county seat of Orange County, Florida. It is also the principal city of Greater Orlando. The Orlando-Kissimmee MSA is Florida's third-largest metropolitan area, behind Miami and Tampa. Orlando is also home to the University of Central Florida, which is the second largest university in Florida in student enrollment and has the 6th largest enrollment in the nation.
The city is well known for the many tourist attractions in the area, in particular the nearby Walt Disney World Resort, which is located in Lake Buena Vista about south of Orlando city limits via Interstate 4. Other notable area attractions include SeaWorld and Universal Orlando Resort. The region sees an estimated 52 million tourists a year. Orlando has the second largest number of hotel rooms in the country (after Las Vegas, Nevada), and is one of the busiest American cities for conferences and conventions with the Orange County Convention Center, the country's second largest in square footage. It is also known for its wide array of golf courses, with numerous courses available for any level of golfer. Despite being several miles away from the main tourist attractions, Downtown Orlando is undergoing major redevelopment with a number of residential projects, commercial towers, and major public works projects including the Orlando Events Center and the Dr. P. Phillips Orlando Performing Arts Center.
Historians date Orlando's name to around 1837, when a soldier named Orlando Reeves allegedly died in the area during the Second Seminole War. It seems, however, that Orlando Reeves (sometimes Rees) operated a sugar mill and plantation about 30 miles (50 km) to the north at Spring Garden in Volusia County, and pioneer settlers simply found his name carved into a tree and assumed it was a marker for his grave site. They then referred to the area as "Orlando's grave" and later simply Orlando. A memorial beside Lake Eola designates the spot where the city's namesake fell.
Prior to being known as its current name, Orlando was known as Jernigan, after the first permanent settler, cattleman Aaron Jernigan, who acquired land along Lake Holden by the terms of the Armed Occupation Act of 1842. But most pioneers did not arrive until after the Third Seminole War in the 1850s. Most of the early residents made their living by cattle ranching.
Orlando became the county seat of Orange County in 1856. It remained a rural backwater during the Civil War, and suffered greatly during the Union blockade. The Reconstruction Era brought a population explosion, which led to Orlando's incorporation as a town on July 31, 1875, and as a city in 1885.
The period from 1875 to 1895 is remembered as Orlando's Golden Era, when it became the hub of Florida's citrus industry. But the Great Freeze in 1894-1895 forced many owners to give up their independent groves, thus consolidating holdings in the hands of a few "citrus barons" who shifted operations south, primarily around Lake Wales in Polk County.
There were a couple of notable homesteaders in the area, including the Curry family. Through their property in east Orlando flowed the Econlockhatchee River, which travelers crossed by fording. This would be commemorated by the street's name, Curry Ford Road. Also, just south of the airport in the Boggy Creek area was of property homesteaded in the late 1800s by the Ward family. This property is still owned by the Ward family, and can be seen from flights out of MCO southbound immediately on the south side of SR-417.
Orlando, as Florida's largest inland city, became a popular resort during the years between the Spanish-American War and World War I. The city was also host to several SKEET, which serves as the basis for its hospitals today.
In the 1920s, Orlando experienced extensive housing development during the Florida Land Boom. Land prices soared. During this period several neighborhoods in downtown were constructed, endowing it with many bungalows. The boom ended when several hurricanes hit Florida in the late 20s and by the Great Depression.
During World War II, a number of Army personnel were stationed at the Orlando Army Air Base and nearby Pinecastle Army Air Field. Some of these servicemen stayed in Orlando to settle and raise families. In 1956 the aerospace/defense company Martin Marietta (now Lockheed Martin) established a plant in the city. Orlando AAB and Pinecastle AAF were transferred to the United States Air Force in 1947 when it became a separate service and were redesignated as Air Force Bases (AFB). In 1958, Pinecastle AFB was renamed McCoy Air Force Base after Colonel Michael N.W. McCoy, a former commander of the 320th Bombardment Wing at the installation, killed in the crash of a B-47 Stratojet bomber north of Orlando. In the 1960s, the base subsequently became home to the 306th Bombardment Wing of the Strategic Air Command (SAC), operating B-52 Stratofortress and KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft, in addition to detachment operations by EC-121 and U-2 aircraft.
Orlando is close enough to Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and Kennedy Space Center for residents to commute to work from the city's suburbs. It also allows easy access to Port Canaveral, an important cruise ship terminal. Because of its proximity to the Space Coast near the Kennedy Space Center, many high-tech companies have shifted to the Orlando area.
Perhaps the most critical event for Orlando's economy occurred in 1965 when Walt Disney announced plans to build Walt Disney World. Although Disney had considered the regions of Miami and Tampa for his park, one of the major reasons behind his decision not to locate there was due to hurricanes— Orlando's inland location, although not free from hurricane damage, exposed it to less threat than coastal regions. The famous vacation resort opened in October 1971, ushering in an explosive population and economic growth for the Orlando metropolitan area, which now encompasses Orange, Seminole, Osceola, and Lake counties. As a result, tourism became the centerpiece of the area's economy. Orlando is consistently ranked as one of the top vacation destinations in the world, and now boasts more theme parks and entertainment attractions than anywhere else in the world.
Another major factor in Orlando's growth occurred in 1962, when the new Orlando Jetport, the precursor of the present day Orlando International Airport, was built from a portion of the McCoy Air Force Base. By 1970, four major airlines (Delta Air Lines, National Airlines, Eastern Airlines and Southern Airways) were providing scheduled flights. McCoy Air Force Base officially closed in 1975, and most of it is now part of the airport. The airport still retains the former Air Force Base airport code (MCO).
In addition to McCoy Air Force Base, Orlando also had a naval presence with the establishment of Naval Training Center Orlando on the former Orlando AFB in 1968. The newest of three Naval Training Centers in the United States providing training to recruits, as well as being a base for selected post basic training programs for enlisted personnel, NTC Orlando also conducted nuclear power training for commissioned officers and the base had a prominent presence in the area. In 1993, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission ordered that NTC Orlando be closed, along with a companion installation, NTC San Diego. NTC Orlando continued in a diminished capacity until the base closed for good in 1999 with the last graduates of the base's Naval Nuclear Power School leaving in December 1998. The former base has been developed into tracts for upscale housing called Baldwin Park. Other than Reserve and National Guard activities, the Orlando area's remaining military presence is the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division/Naval Support Activity Orlando, located just east of the city limits in the Central Florida Research Park. The U.S. Army's Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training and Instrumentation (PEO-STRI), the U.S. Marine Corps' Program Manager for Training Systems (PMTRASYS) and the U.S. Air Force's Agency for Modeling and Simulation are also collocated at that location.
The SunTrust Center, the tallest building in Orlando at 441 ft (134 m), was built in 1988. The next tallest buildings are the Orange County Courthouse (1997, ./127 m), the Bank of America Center (Formerly Barnett Plaza, 1988, ./123 m), Solaire at the Plaza (2006, ./109 m) and the Orlando International Airport ATC Tower (2002, ./105 m). The VUE at Lake Eola, currently under construction, will become the second-tallest building in Orlando upon completion at 426 ft (130 m) tall, but with 35 stories it will have more stories than the SunTrust Center. The SeaWorld SkyTower, at 400 ft (122 m) tall, is the tallest tower in Orange County outside Orlando proper. There are also several tall transmission towers in Orange County, the tallest of which is the WFTV transmission tower in Christmas at 1,617 ft (491.6 m) tall.
During the height of Orlando's very humid summer season, temperatures rarely fall below 70 °F (21 °C), and daytime highs average in the 90s (32-37 °C). Although the city rarely records temperatures over 100 °F (38 °C), extreme humidity can push the heat index to over 110 °F (45 °C). The city's highest recorded temperature is 101 °F (39 °C), set July 2, 1998. During these months, strong afternoon thunderstorms occur almost daily. These storms are caused by air masses from the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean colliding over Central Florida. They are highlighted by spectacular lightning and can also bring heavy rainfall (sometimes several inches per hour) and powerful winds as well as occasional damaging hail.
During the coooler seasons, humidity is lower and temperatures are more moderate, and can fluctuate more readily. Average nighttime lows in January are around 48 °F (10 °C), and average daytime highs are about 72 °F (22 °C). Temperatures rarely reach below 32 °F (0 °C), though the city can drop below freezing once or twice a year. Because the winter season is dry and most freezing temperatures occur after cold fronts (and their accompanying precipitation) have passed, Orlando experiences no significant snowfall (only once has measurable snow accumulated since recording began at the airport in 1948). Very rarely the ingredients come together for flurries to occur, commonly ocean effect snow. The area around Orlando recorded up to 6" in 1977 during a snowstorm(which partly contributed to the idea of Disney's blizzard Beach Water Park 20 years later). Reports of flurries in the Central Florida area include December 23, 1989, January 24, 2003, November 24th, 2007, and January 3ed, 2008.
The average annual rainfall in Orlando is 50.1 in. (128 cm), most of it occurring in the period from June to September. The months of October through May are Orlando's driest season. During this period (especially in its later months), there is often a wildfire hazard. During some years, fires have been severe. In 1998, an El Niño condition caused a usually wet January and February, followed by drought throughout the spring and early summer, causing a record wildfire season that created numerous air quality alerts in Orlando.
Orlando has a considerable hurricane risk, although it is not as high as it is in South Florida's urban corridor or other coastal regions. Since the city is located 42 miles (68 km) inland from the Atlantic and 77 miles (124 km) inland from the Gulf of Mexico, hurricanes usually weaken before arriving. Storm surges are not a concern since the region is 100 ft (30 m) above sea level. Despite its location, the city does see strong hurricanes. During the notorious 2004 hurricane season, Orlando was hit by three hurricanes that caused significant damage, with Hurricane Charley the worst of these. The city also experienced widespread damage during Hurricane Donna in 1960.
Orlando metro area has an African-American population numbering 342,166 in 2007 (more than 45,000 are of Afro-Caribbean decent). The city is located within six miles (10 km) of the suburb Eatonville, Florida, the first all-black town to be incorporated in the United States. Since 1990, the number of neighborhoods in Metro Orlando without black homeowners has dropped from 48 percent to 7 percent. In Seminole, the most affluent county in Central Florida, only one of the county's neighborhoods had no black homeowners in 2000. Since 2000, the array of organizations (The Young Professionals, Metropolitan Orlando Urban League, The Circle of Friends, The Social Black Women and The Orlando Minority Professionals Network) for black professionals has expanded as the number of college-educated, middle-class blacks in Metro Orlando grew by 29 percent. Black households making more than $100,000 a year nearly doubled since 1999, according to the latest census figures.
A thriving Vietnamese quarter called "Little Vietnam" or "Little Saigon" exists in the Colonialtown district of Orlando. The neighborhood has become a landmark in the city of Orlando and consists of numerous restaurants, groceries, and merchants offering imports from across Asia such as music, videos, collectibles, et al. The heart of the district is the intersection of East Colonial Drive/HWY50 and Mills Ave, also known as the "Vi-Mi" district. The Orlando Vietnamese community has its roots in war refugees seeking a new life in America after the fall of Saigon. Notable pro-democracy activists, such as Thuong Nguyen Cuc Foshee, who was just recently released from prison in Vietnam, call Orlando their home. The Vietnamese Community in Orlando, along with institutions like Long Van Temple, St. Philip Phan Van Minh Church, Vietnamese Baptist Church, and groups such as The Vietnamese Association of Central Florida, strive to maintain their heritage as well as share their culture with the rest of Orlando. Annual events, such as the numerous Tet New Year Celebrations at the Central Florida Fairgrounds and across the city, help spread Vietnamese culture and promote diversity throughout Orlando.
Until recently, Walt Disney Feature Animation operated a studio out of Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort. Feature Animation-Florida was primarily responsible for the films Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, and the early stages of Brother Bear and contributed on various other projects. Universal Studios's Soundstage 21 is home to The TNA Impact Zone, but Nickelodeon Studios, which through the 90s produced hundreds of hours of GAK-filled game shows targeted at children, no longer operates out of Universal Studios Florida. The Florida Film Festival in nearby Maitland is one of the most respected regional film festivals in the country and attracts budding filmmakers from around the world. In addition, the implosion of Orlando's previous City Hall was filmed for the movie Lethal Weapon 3. Orlando's indie film scene has been picking back up since Haxan Film's The Blair Witch Project (1999) and a few years later with Charlize Theron winning her Academy Award for Monster (2003). A Florida state film incentive has also helped increase the amount of films being produced in Orlando and the rest of the state.
The Orlando Metropolitan Area is also home to a substantial theatre population. Several professional and semi-professional houses and many community theaters dot the area including Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Orlando Repertory Theatre (Central Florida's only Professional Theatre for Young Audiences), Orlando Theatre Project, Starlight Dinner Theatre, Mad Cow Theatre, Theatre Downtown, The Osceola Center for the Arts, Winter Park Playhouse, Theatre Winter Haven, IceHouse Theatre, and Seaside Music Theatre. Orlando also hosts the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival every summer. Disney also a cast theater company known as S.T.A.G.E. as well as Encore, a cast choir and orchestra whose annual charity concerts have raised thousands of dollars.
In addition, the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre brings national tours through town on a regular basis. This venue, built in 1926, will be replaced by the Dr. P. Phillips Orlando Performing Arts Center in 2012.
Each spring, local theaters and downtown venues play host to the Orlando International Fringe Festival, which draws touring companies from all around the world as well as readings and fully staged productions of new and unknown plays by local artists. Also in the spring, Darden Restaurants sponsors a Festival of New Plays, hosted by Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival.
Orlando's Culture Coast consists of Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach and includes many cultural attractions including the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Southeast Museum of Photography, Ormond Beach Art Museum, plus numerous galleries and shops located in the quaint downtown districts of Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach and New Smyrna Beach. This area really is like Orlando's cultural district on the beach
Pro baseball has been played in Orlando since 1919, primarily in the Class A Florida State League, until the Orlando Twins joined the AA Southern League in 1973. Tinker Field, named for baseball hall-of-famer Joe Tinker, is a historic baseball stadium next to the Citrus Bowl, currently out of use. It was formerly the spring training home of the Minnesota Twins (and the Washington Senators before the relocated to Minneapolis) and the AA Southern League affiliates of the Twins, Chicago Cubs and Tampa Bay Devil Rays. In 2000, the Orlando Rays moved from Tinker Field to Cracker Jack Stadium at the Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex. Despite having a beautiful new ballpark (which also serves as spring training home of the Atlanta Braves), the Rays drew poorly at Disney and moved to Montgomery, Alabama for the 2004 season. The stadium has been mostly empty ever since, although it did play host to first-round (Pool D) games in the 2006 World Baseball Classic and a three-game series between the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the Texas Rangers in 2007. Orlando is currently the largest metropolitan area in the United States without a pro baseball team.
The Citrus Bowl is the home of the Capital One Bowl (formerly the Florida Citrus Bowl) and the Champs Sports Bowl (formerly the Tangerine Bowl). It also hosts regular-season football games for Jones High School, as well as the annual Florida Classic played between the NCAA Division I-AA Football teams from Florida A&M University and Bethune-Cookman University. The University of Central Florida (NCAA Division I-A) played its regular season games at the Citrus Bowl through the 2006 season, until the construction of a new stadium on the UCF campus, Bright House Networks Stadium. UCF plays college sports at the highest level.
Professional football in Orlando in goes back to the 1960s, when the Orlando Panthers played in the minor-league Continental Football League. The Panthers won two CPFL titles in 1967 and 1968, but folded with the league after the 1969 season. In 1974, the World Football League was formed, and a franchise originally planned for Boston, then moved to the Washington, D.C. area, wound up in Orlando as the Florida Blazers. Despite playing before sparse crowds at the Citrus Bowl and not getting paid for weeks at a time, the Blazers won their division with a 14-6 record and qualified for the first (and only) WFL championship game, losing to the Birmingham Americans, 22-21. The franchise was relocated to San Antonio for the 1975 season, then quietly expired with the league in October of that year.
Since then, Orlando has hosted several pro teams in short-lived leagues. In 1985, the USFL's Washington Federals shifted to the Citrus Bowl and were re-named the Orlando Renegades. Despite a 5-13 record, the Renegades were one of the eight teams that stayed in the USFL for its projected fall season in 1986, but the league folded before any games were played that year. Next came the Orlando Thunder, a charter team in the World League of American Football in 1991 and 1992. They lost the World Bowl to the Sacramento Surge in 1992. Like all of the other the American-based teams, the franchise was dropped in the World League reorganization of 1995. Then came the Orlando Rage, a member of the infamous XFL who, like the other teams, played at the Citrus Bowl. The Rage had the XFL's best record at 8-2, but were upset in the playoffs, and the XFL folded. (The Orlando Rage name has since been revived in the semi-pro Southern States Football League). The Citrus Bowl was originally slated to host some of the games for the Florida team in the All American Football League beginning in 2008, but Team Florida will play their games in Gainesville, Tampa and Jacksonville instead.
The Citrus Bowl also hosted an NFL team -- a fictional one, the Orlando Breakers, who were featured in the last two seasons of the television sitcom Coach. The team was a plot device to reflect the 1995 addition of the Jacksonville Jaguars to the real-life NFL.
In arena football, the Orlando Predators have been one of the Arena Football League's flagship franchises since entering the league in 1991. Playing at Amway Arena, the Predators have won seven divisional titles and two Arena Bowls, in 1998 and 2000. In the 1990s, ice hockey became popular in Orlando, perhaps due to large influx of northerners to the city. In the 1993-94 NHL season, the Tampa Bay Lightning played four "home" games at the Orlando Arena, with a 1-2-1 record. The Orlando Solar Bears, of the now-defunct International Hockey League, were formed in 1995 and were very successful, making the playoffs in each of its six seasons and qualifying for Turner Cup Finals twice (losing both times) before finally taking the title in 2001. Unfortunately, that was the IHL's final season, and the Solar Bears folded. In 2002, the Atlantic Coast Hockey League was formed with Orlando hosting one of the charter franchises, the Orlando Seals, which won their Commissioner's Cup in 2003; this made Orlando the only Florida city with two hockey championships. The Seals moved to the World Hockey Association 2 in 2003, then the Southern Professional Hockey League in 2004. The City of Orlando revoked their lease for the present Amway Arena, however, forcing them to sit out the 2004-05 season. They moved to Kissimmee and became the Florida Seals in November 2004. The team resumed play in the 2005-2006 season, playing home games at the Silver Spurs Arena, making it to the President's Cup Finals before losing to Knoxville. Then on January 4, 2007, the Silver Spurs Arena abruptly booted the Seals due to unpaid rent, forcing the franchise to fold. There will be no pro hockey in Orlando in 2007-08.
In soccer, the Citrus Bowl hosted games for the FIFA World Cup '94 and the 1996 Summer Olympics. The Orlando Lions were a member of the third incarnation of the American Soccer League in the late 1980s/early 1990s. The Orlando Sundogs were a minor-league soccer team in the A-League that played in the Citrus Bowl, disbanding after their season in 1997. Presently, the Premier Development League's (PDL) Central Florida Kraze call Orlando home. The Kraze won the PDL Championship in 2004 and have appeared in the playoffs in five of the past six years. Indoors, Orlando gained an expansion franchise in the Major Indoor Soccer League, the Orlando Sharks, who began play in the 2007-08 season.
Orlando is also the home to the NBA Pre-Draft camp, the MLB Draft, the MLB Winter Meetings, and the NFL Annual Meeting, and since 2005, the PSP World Cup paintball tournament.
A large part of the Orlando area economy is involved in the tourist industry. Over 48 million visitors came to the Orlando region in 2004. The convention industry is also critical to the region's economy. The Orange County Convention Center, expanded in 2004 to over two million square feet (200,000 m²) of exhibition space, is now the second-largest convention complex in terms of space in the United States, trailing only McCormick Place in Chicago. The city vies with Chicago and Las Vegas for hosting the most convention attendees in the United States.
Lockheed-Martin has a large manufacturing facility for missile systems, aeronautical craft and related high tech research. Other notable engineering firms have offices or labs in the Central Florida area: KDF, General Dynamics, Harris, Westinghouse, Siemens, Veritas/Seagate, multiple USAF facilities, Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD), Delta Connection Academy, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, GE, Air Force Agency for Modeling and Simulation (AFAMS), Army Simulation Training and Instrumentation Command (STRICOM), U.S. Army Program Executive Office for Simulation, Training, and Instrumentation (PEO STRI), AT&T, Boeing, CAE Systems Flight & Simulation Training, HP, Institute for Simulation and Training, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon Systems. The Naval Training Center until a few years ago was one of the two places where nuclear engineers were trained for the US Navy. Now the land has been converted into the Baldwin Park development.
Another developing sector is the film, television, and electronic gaming industries, aided by the presence of Universal Studios, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Full Sail School, the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, and other entertainment companies and schools. Numerous office complexes for large corporations have popped up along the Interstate 4 corridor north of Orlando, especially in Maitland, Lake Mary and Heathrow. The U.S. modeling, simulation, and training (MS&T) industry is centered around the Orlando region as well, with a particularly strong presence in the Central Florida Research Park adjacent to UCF.
Orlando is the home base of Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Red Lobster and Olive Garden and the largest operator of restaurants in the world by revenue. They are building a new world headquarters and central distribution facility on John Young Parkway.
Nearby Maitland is the home of Tiburon, a division of the video game company Electronic Arts. Originally Tiburon Entertainment, it was acquired by EA in 1998 after years of partnership, particularly in the famous Madden NFL series and NCAA Football series of video games.
Orlando has two non-profit hospital systems: Orlando Health and Florida Hospital. Orlando Health's Orlando Regional Medical Center is home to Central Florida's only Level I trauma center, and the adjacent Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies has the area's only Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit. Florida Hospital's main campus is ranked as one of the best hospitals in the nation, and has a renowned brain attack facility. Orlando's medical leadership will be further advanced with the completion of UCF's College of Medicine and a new VA Hospital, both of which will be located in a new medical district in the Lake Nona area of the city.
There is a very low unemployment rate in Greater Orlando, 3.1% as of March 2007. The result is growth that has led to urban sprawl in the surrounding area and, in combination with the 2007 Subprime mortgage financial crisis, to the rising cost of home prices. Housing prices in Greater Orlando went up 34% in one year, from an average of $182,000 in August 2004 to $245,000 in August 2005, and eventually to a record $255,000 in February 2007. They are tapering off, however, down to $211,000 in April 2008.
Orlando has many neighborhoods within city limits:
When Combined Statistical Areas were instituted in 2000, Orlando was initially joined together with The Villages, Florida, Micropolitan Statistical Area, to form the Orlando-The Villages, Florida, Combined Statistical Area. In 2006, the metropolitan areas of Deltona (Volusia County) and Palm Coast (Flagler County) were added to create the Orlando-Deltona-Daytona Beach, Florida, Combined Statistical Area. This new larger CSA carries a total population (as of 2007) of 2,693,552. , and carries three of the 25 fastest-growing counties in the nation--Flagler ranks 1st; Osceola, 17th; and Lake, 23rd.
|Northwest: Apopka, Mount Dora, Eustis, Tavares, Leesburg, The Villages||North: Eatonville, Maitland, Winter Park, Altamonte Springs, Sanford, Deltona, Longwood, Bunnell, Lake Mary||Northeast: Casselberry, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach, Palm Coast, Deltona, Deland, Debary|
|West: Ocoee, Winter Garden, Gotha, Windermere, Clermont, Oakland, Bushnell||ORLANDO||East: Bithlo, Union Park, Chuluota, Christmas, Wedgefield, Eastwood, Avalon Park|
|Southwest: Lake Buena Vista, Celebration, Citrus Ridge , Doctor Phillips||South: Edgewood, Belle Isle, Kissimmee, Poinciana, Meadow Woods||Southeast: Saint Cloud, Harmony, Holopaw, Yeehaw Junction|
As of the census of 2000, there were 185,951 people (2007 estimate counted 227,907 people), 80,883 households, and 42,382 families residing in the city. The population density was 767.9/km² (1,988.9/mi²). There were 188,486 housing units at an average density of 365.4/km² (946.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 61.10% White, 26.70% African American, 1.43% Asian, 0.34% Native American, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 5.41% from other races, and 2.54% from two or more races. 17.79% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race. Non-Hispanic Whites made up 50.8% of the population.
There were 80,883 households out of which 24.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.4% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 47.6% were non-families. 35.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.25 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the city the population was spread out with 22.0% under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 37.3% from 25 to 44, 18.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 94.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.3 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $35,732, and the median income for a family was $40,648. Males had a median income of $30,866 versus $25,267 for females. The per capita income for the city was $21,216. About 13.3% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.0% of those under age 18 and 12.6% of those age 65 or over.
Orlando is also home to one of the nation's highest population percentage of LGBT people. According to a study by UCLA, 7.7% of Orlando's population is gay, lesbian, or bisexual and with 5.7% of the entire metropolitan population, it ranks 9th in the nation.
The following major railroad stations have existed in Orlando:
Additionally Greyhound Lines offers intercity bus service from Orlando to multiple locations across the country. The Orlando Greyhound Station is located west of Downtown Orlando.
Several attempts have been made to bring a light rail system to Orlando, but each one has met with failure due to a perceived lack of public interest and various conflicts over a potential route. Another attempted route was a rail going between Tampa, Orlando, and Miami.
Many residents who have lived in Orlando for many years believe that a light rail system should be added to the city's growing economy to help cure the metropolitan area's difficult traffic problems. However several residents who move to the Central Florida area from other communities (specifically larger metropolitan cities) find it too industrializing for the city whose "quiet charm" would like to remain established. This creates a conflict between new residents and those who have been born and raised in the Orlando metropolitan area and other Central Florida cities.
Crime is being attacked by Orlando authorities with the installation of security cameras in Orlando. Traffic lights are merged with cameras cabable of detecting out of ordinary activity. Once a smart camera detects this activity it will zoom in on people of interest in an effort to identify them. It can also zoom in on a license plate.