by Jony Mozen
Many people think of Florida as a place of alligator-infested swamps, retirement homes, Disney World and Miami. However, there is much more to the Sunshine State. For one, it has several sophisticated cities where people live, work and raise their children while enjoying a high quality of life and great weather. This is certainly the case for those who call Boca Raton home.
The city’s name means ‘mouse’s mouth’, which actually refers to a nearby inlet with a rocky bottom. Spanish mariners used to have the same word for these rocks as they used for a mouse. Boca itself is located on the eastern coast of South Florida, in Palm Beach County, and falls within the Miami metropolitan area. Miami’s city center lies about 40 miles to the south.
Eight decades ago, fewer than 500 people called Boca’s nearly 30 square miles home. Today things are a little different. The current population is about 85,000 and there are around 2,600 people living in every square mile. The population keeps growing too, with a change of nearly 12 percent since the beginning of the millennium.
The sophisticated seaside city is known for the fact that it has quite a high average income. In fact, the annual per capita income here is in the region of 45,000 dollars and most people earn their money from white-collar jobs. About 12 percent of residents have an income of over 200,000 dollars per year and among them are well-known names in sports and entertainment. Many of the wealthy residents live in gated communities that count among the most expensive in America. In contrast, only 6 percent or so of residents earn less than 10,000 dollars in a year.
Most people who live in Boca are couples who are married. However, families are quite small, with the average size less than three people. There are fewer than 16,000 households that have children but the city has fantastic schools where these young ones can get an education. Parents can enroll their kids in one of several private schools or in the public schools such as the four high schools located here.
Of course the Sunshine State is a haven for snowbirds and the City for All Seasons has its fair share of retirees too. Nearly 20 percent of the residents are 65 years or older and a little more than half of them are women. Around 17 percent of residents live on their retirement income. There are several facilities for seniors, including healthcare and assisted living.
The vast majority, in fact about 80 percent of the people speak English as first language. Most were born in other US states. Spanish is the first language of around 9 percent of the residents. Other significant linguistic communities include those who speak Portuguese, French or Italian at home. More than half the people are Christian and most of these attend the Catholic Church. About a quarter of Boca’s residents belong to the city’s substantial Jewish community and there is a small Muslim community too.
The seaside city is the perfect place to live. In general, it’s quite safe, with low levels of violent crime. Amenities abound and there is no shortage of things to do, especially for those who love being outside. The climate is tropical and even in winter, the mercury rarely drops to below 55 degrees or so.
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