TO: Local Planning Agency

FROM: Bill Spikowski

DATE: January 13, 1997

SUBJECT: LPA Meeting of January 21, 1997


The following back-up material is being submitted to you in preparation for the comprehensive planning portion of your meeting of January 21st, which will be held at 12:00 P.M. at Town Hall:

  1. Carol Cunningham's review of previous community design studies for Fort Myers Beach.
  2. Some demographic data for Fort Myers Beach, extracted from the 1990 Census.

Regarding the demographic data, it is somewhat dated at this point but the 1990 Census remains the most definitive source of population and housing data. (I have previously supplied you with estimates of growth since 1990 based on building permit activity.) Census data is based on a complete count of every housing unit within what has become the Town's boundaries, including mobile homes and RVs. Only hotels and motels were not counted.

At our previous meeting, we discussed the difficulties in determining the peak population in a resort community. The Census counts people at their place of usual residence. At Fort Myers Beach, this results in 62% of all housing units being classified as vacant, either because their owners are counted elsewhere, or because the units are rented out to a succession of non-residents.

Despite the Census system of counting only permanent residents, the Census can still be helpful in estimating the peak population. This is because all "vacant" housing units are counted, and most are occupied during the peak season. We would be left with the task of determining their average number of occupants per unit during peak season and their vacancy rate at that time.

A formula for calculating peak population (not including day visitors) would therefore include the following components:

Permanent Residents (1990 Census, plus residents in new homes)


Vacant Housing Units multiplied by Average Unit Occupancy

multiplied by Occupancy Rate in the Peak Period


Occupants of Hotels and Motels in the Peak Period


Guests in Homes of Permanent Residents in the Peak Period

The most difficult number to estimate would be "guests in homes of permanent residents." Occupancy rates for "vacant housing units" could be based on occupancy rates in permanent housing units (but this may be inaccurate if the average "vacant" housing unit accommodates more people than the average "permanent" housing unit).

Of course the number of day visitors is even more difficult to determine. Some useful data has been developed by Florida Transportation Engineering in its December 1992 origin-and-destination survey of motorists entering Estero Island. That study estimated that 65% of all vehicles were driven by persons not living on Estero Island either full or part time, and only a small percentage of those did not stop on the island. These figures and recent traffic counts could be used to produce a rough estimate of day visitors, although it would not show the highest number of those visitors at any one time.

These complexities are the reason that unsubstantiated peak population figures are so often accepted without question.


Under 5 years161
5 to 17 years355
18 to 20 years101
21 to 24 years180
25 to 44 years1,355
45 to 54 years681
55 to 59 years425
60 to 64 years590
65 to 74 years1,213
75 to 84 years615
85 years and over136
Median age55.6
Under 18 years516
__Percent of total population8.9%
65 years and over1,964
__Percent of total population33.8%
Total households2,833
__Family households (families)1,857
____Married-couple families1,657
______Percent of total households58.5%
____Other family, male householder56
____Other family, female householder144
__Nonfamily households1,253
______Percent of total households44.2%
____Householder living alone765
______Householder 65 years and over399
__Persons living in households5,756
__Persons per household2.03
Persons living in group quarters56
__Institutionalized persons0
__Other persons in group quarters56
__Percent of total population0.1%
American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut8
__Percent of total population0.1%
Asian or Pacific Islander7
__Percent of total population0.1%
Other race5
Hispanic origin (of any race)82
__Percent of total population1.4%


Occupied housing units2,833
__Owner occupied2,094
____Percent owner occupied73.9%
__Renter occupied739
Vacant housing units4,587
__For seasonal, recreational, or occasional use2,918
Homeowner vacancy rate (percent)5.3%
Rental vacancy rate (percent)64.0%
Persons per owner-occupied unit2.04
Persons per renter-occupied unit2.01
Units with over 1 person per room41
1-unit, detached2,247
1-unit, attached133
2 to 4 units731
5 to 9 units128
10 or more units3,925
Mobile home, trailer, other256
Specified owner-occupied units1,166
__Less than $50,00016
__$50,000 to $99,000324
__$100,000 to $149,000360
__$150,000 to $199,999214
__$200,000 to $299,999163
__$300,000 or more89
__Median (dollars)~$133,500
Specified renter-occupied units paying cash rent667
Less than $2508
$250 to $499327
$500 to $749256
$750 to $99930
$1,000 or more46
Median (dollars)~$501
Occupied housing units2,833
____Percent of occupied units0.0%
__American Indian, Eskimo, or Aleut5
____Percent of occupied units0.2%
__Asian or Pacific Islander2
____Percent of occupied units0.1%
__Other race2
__Hispanic origin (of any race)26
____Percent of occupied units 0.9%