Hardee County Courthouse
Location within the U.S. state of Florida
Florida's location within the U.S.
|Founded||April 23, 1921|
|Named for||Cary A. Hardee|
|o Total||638 sq mi (1,650 km2)|
|o Land||638 sq mi (1,650 km2)|
|o Water||0.6 sq mi (2 km2) 0.1%%|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||43/sq mi (17/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
Hardee County comprises the Wauchula, FL Micropolitan Statistical Area.
On August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley went directly through Hardee County. Maximum sustained winds in downtown Wauchula were clocked at 149 mph (240 km/h) with higher gusts. Most buildings in the county sustained damage, and many were totally destroyed.
Hardee County is located in what is known as the "Bone Valley" which contains most of North America's phosphate deposits and a large portion of the world's deposits. Phosphate is mined in large open pit mines with massive settling ponds that contain many harmful byproducts of the mining process and its disposal and use are restricted thus leaving the settling ponds in place indefinitely and rendering the land unfit for agriculture The Mosaic company currently owns all mining land in Hardee County with around 10,000 acres near Fort Green and is proposing an expansion of around 27,000 acres in a new mine near Ona, FL. There is much controversy over the mining practice, the rezoning and conversion of agricultural land into open pit mines. Land is "reclaimed" after mining but leaves areas of mostly artificially created lakes and wetlands in addition to the slightly poisonous and radioactive settling ponds. The proposed Ona mine would surround Horse Creek, a tributary to the Peace River, thus threatening the very pristine and largely untouched natural waterway as well as the Peace River watershed.
As of the census of 2000, there were 26,938 people, 8,166 households, and 6,255 families residing in the county. The population density was 42 people per square mile (16/km2). There were 9,820 housing units at an average density of 15 per square mile (6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 70.66% White, 8.33% Black or African American, 0.68% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 17.99% from other races, and 1.97% from two or more races. 35.68% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
According to 2005 Census Estimates the county's population was 50.6% non-Hispanic white, 39.8% Latino, 9.0% African-American and 1.3% Native American. (source=https://www.webcitation.org/606449Yjg?url=http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/12/12049.html
In 2000 there were 8,166 households, out of which 34.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.00% were married couples living together, 11.10% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.40% were non-families. 18.00% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.06 and the average family size was 3.40.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 27.60% under the age of 18, 11.00% from 18 to 24, 28.30% from 25 to 44, 19.20% from 45 to 64, and 13.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 119.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 123.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $30,183, and the median income for a family was $32,487. Males had a median income of $23,793 versus $18,823 for females. The per capita income for the county was $12,445. About 17.00% of families and 24.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.20% of those under age 18 and 16.10% of those age 65 or over.
Hardee County is part of the Heartland Library Cooperative which has 7 branches that serve Hardee County and some of the surrounding counties in the Florida Heartland, including Glades, Highlands, DeSoto, and Okeechobee.
The Hardee County School District has one high school, one junior high, and five elementary schools. Hardee Senior High and Hardee Junior High are in Wauchula. The elementary schools are Bowling Green, Hilltop, North Wauchula, Wauchula, and Zolfo Springs.
South Florida State College is a public college serving Hardee, Highlands and DeSoto Counties. Its Hardee campus is in Bowling Green.