Census: Every 3 1/2 hours, a person moved to Boca Raton last year

(Courtesy of City of Boca Raton)

BOCA RATON — Nearly 2,600 people moved to Boca Raton last year. That breaks down to about seven people per day, according to recently released census data.

Estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau suggest the city’s population grew more than 2.5 percent in 2016, one of the largest percent increases of Palm Beach County’s cities. There’s an estimated 96,000 people living in Boca Raton.

That growth appears to be consistent with new developments in Boca Raton, including about 1,200 units built downtown and 1,000 units built in the northeast end, said Mayor Susan Haynie.

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In the past year, Boca Raton has also created and retained 9,600 jobs, Haynie said.

“With those jobs come families that move to Boca Raton, which probably accounts for some of that growth,” she said.

The growth of Florida Atlantic University, Haynie added, has also contributed to the city’s overall growth.

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Boca added the highest number of new residents, apart from unincorporated Palm Beach County. The city added more people than the county’s 30 slowest-growing cities combined.

The growth is taken into consideration with some new projects, called Planned Mobility Developments, that encourage alternative forms of transportation to alleviate traffic in the city. The new units in the northeast end of Boca Raton, on Broken Sound Boulevard, were built into an office-retail complex to encourage short commutes.

Several traffic projects are underway, including a new Interstate 95 interchange at Spanish River Boulevard.

Nearby south county communities Boynton Beach and Delray Beach also added thousands,  according to the census data.

And growth — long a key to Florida’s economy — was seen in every Palm Beach County city.