Information about Lakeland
It's possible to enjoy a quiet pace of life in Lakeland, Florida, without sacrificing access to large city amenities. Situated halfway between Orlando and Tampa, Lakeland brings together a unique blend of business, culture and recreation. With a population of 112,136, based on 2019 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, Lakeland is the largest city in Polk County and the center of a larger metropolitan area of more than half a million people.
The city has a vibrant downtown area with an attractive antiques district surrounded by dozens of shops and galleries. Numerous festivals and fairs are offered throughout the year. Several major-league baseball teams also hold spring training in the area. But for many, Lakeland's greatest attractions are the many lakes that provide opportunities for swimming, boating, fishing and camping.
In 2020, U.S. News & World Report ranked Florida Southern College in Lakeland the 10th-best regional college in the South. Southeastern University, also located in the city, ranked 92nd on the same list. These private not-for-profit schools enrolled approximately 3,300 and 9,900 students, respectively, as of Fall 2018.
Lakeland also is home to a campus of the private Keiser University and the Traviss Career Center, a public school awarding undergraduate certificates in fields ranging from masonry and electrical technology to commercial and advertising art and optometric assisting.
Employment in Lakeland
As of March 2016, top employers in Lakeland include Publix Super Markets, Lakeland Regional Health and the GEICO auto insurance company. In the wider metropolitan area, phosphate mining is a large industry, with Polk County producing close to a quarter of all the agricultural phosphate in the world. Other major industries include chemical manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.