The thrust of this report is to identify the direct economic impact of natural springs in particular areas. It is important to look at the economic setting in which springs exists. We have gathered such data available from the U.S. Department of Commerce (2002).
Consider Table 5.1. Volusia County in which Blue Spring State Park exists has experienced an 18.9% growth in population over the 1990-2000 period, which is slower than that for the State of Florida as a whole. This county’s population is the 10th largest in the State of Florida. So the percentage growth may be, in part, a function of the relatively large population base in 1990. Today, nearly one-half million people live in Volusia County. Aggregate personal income changes with the number receiving income and the amount of income per person. Usually, over time, aggregate personal income increases because of growth in population and per capita income that will be discussed below. Total personal income in Volusia County increased by 61.5% over the 1990-2000, which was behind the growth of Florida as a whole.
Of special interest, the growth of income per capita over the 1990-2000 period in Volusia County was nearly 40% which is comparable to the growth in this indicator for the entire State of Florida. Thus, the level of affluence or per capita income has risen in Volusia County at about the state average. However, the level of per capita income in this county still remained nearly 23% below that of the State of Florida. As the state has grown on the shoulders of many high tech industries, Volusia County has relied more on retirement and tourism. Although still very important, such industries have not grown as rapidly as other sectors based on improvements in technology during the last decade. Finally, jobs in Volusia County have grown at about the rate of growth in population, but trailed the rate of growth for the state (19.9% versus 30.4%). Earnings per job in Volusia County has remained below the state average and grew at a slower pace than that in the State of Florida as shown in Table 5.1. The measured unemployment rate is comparable to that of the State of Florida. Of particular significance, the participation rate or the percent of the population potentially able to work is much lower for Volusia County than the state average.