(Census Bureau) The city is located in Central Florida. Orlando city is 67.3 square miles with the metropolitan area stretching into three counties. Orlando s world renowned tourism sites Walt Disney World, Sea World, Epcot Center, and Universal Studios boost the economy and stimulate growth. Orlando annually makes magazine and research- driven publications top ten city lists.
Orlando s diverse economy makes it an ideal city for job seekers entering the market. It has gained an average of twenty-five hundred upper level management jobs every year since 1980 (Cities of the U.S. 109). Each year there have been at least ten thousand new businesses in the Orlando area. Orlando s economy continues to grow with the influx of technology-based companies, new small businesses, and tourism. More than 13.6 million tourists visited Orlando in 1990, generating about 4.6 billion into the economy (Cities of the U.S. 109).
Orlando s labor growth expands across all business sectors. Disney adds new hotels and attractions yearly; the amusement’s industry employment grows 3.3% annually (Metro Insights 313). The high technology industries grew 100% over the last ten years
(Cities of the U.S. 109). Orlando s employment growth ranks first in the state and in the top 50 nationally. The last ten years Orlando s wage salaries increased 7.1% (Metro Insights 313)
Orlando s low cost of living makes it an attractive city in which to live.
* Cost Of Living Index = 99.4 (U.S. average = 100.0)
* Average House Price = $107,514 (U.S. average = 109,720)
* No State Tax Rate
* No Local Income Tax Rate
(Cities of the U.S. 111)
The rising wage salaries and the low cost of living allow for high disposable income. The high disposable income and rapid flow of tourist dollars propels the retail market. The low cost of living increases buying power that allows retailers to earn higher profits as their volumes increase. (Metro Insights 306)
GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
Located approximately 150 miles from the Florida/Georgia border, Orlando is centrally located in Florida. The Atlantic Ocean lies 50 miles to the east, the Gulf Coast lies 75 miles to the west, and the Florida keys lies 350 miles away. Abundant sunshine and warm temperatures are the norm. The average number of days below 32 degrees is only 3.3 days. Approximately 240 days a year the sky is either clear or partly cloudy (America s Top Rated Cities 219).
Orlando s public school district is the eighteenth largest in the nation, offering pre-kindergarten to advance placement in high school. The district offers programs for the emotionally handicapped, learning disabled, speech for hearing impaired, autistic, or visually impaired. Gifted education programs are offered on every grade level. The per pupil expenditure rate is $3,918 (Cities of the U.S. 112). The colleges are funded amply, the state appropriated $1.1 million to Florida colleges in 1994 (SRI).
The Orlando area also contains three four-year colleges. They offer undergraduate, graduate and professional programs in business, education, engineering, health sciences, and nursing (Cities of the U.S. 112). There are also two community colleges in the Orlando area. The Orange County public library and the college libraries offer a vast amount of books and research data.
Orlando has six major medical/surgical hospitals and one specializing in psychiatric treatment. The hospitals feature specialty centers for trauma, orthopedics, burn care, cardiology, and surgery. There are advanced services in cancer treatment, laser surgery, neonatal care, and industrial medicine (Cities of the U.S. 113).
Orlando s theme parks attract people from around the world. The parks Walt Disney World, Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Disney-MGM studio, Wet n Wild and Sea World offer numerous activities. The parks add new projects annually produce a steady flow of tourists. Orlando offers five museums, three symphony orchestras, and numerous cinemas for entertainment. The Civic Theater offers six major mainstage activities of major musical stars. The Orlando Magic NBA franchise plays home games in Orlando. The Orlando Thunder professional soccer team plays in the Orlando area. Orlando has 2,800 acres of park land and the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic ocean are only an hour away (Cities of the U.S. 115).