Key West, Florida

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Key West, Florida

Introduction to Key West, Florida

Key West is the name of the city and the island it's situated on. It's located at the southern tip of the Florida Keys in Monroe County and is referred to as the "Southernmost City in the Continental United States." The island is a popular destination for cruise ships. "Old Town" attracts a vast number of tourists. Key West has a tropical climate. The well known Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams resided on the island.


The Calusa Indians were the original inhabitants. In 1521 Juan Ponce de Leon was the first European to arrive on the island. Florida was initially a Spanish colony. In 1763 the British were in charge of Florida and the Spaniards and the native Indians were relocated to Havana. Spain took back control approximately twenty years later, however the Spanish government did not exercise its control of the island. In 1815 the Spanish governor, residing in Havana, deeded the island to Juan Pablo Salas, an officer in the Royal Spanish Navy Artillery. In 1821 John W. Simonton, a businessman from the United States acquired the island from Salas.

After 1830 a vast number of immigrants, called Conchs, arrived from the Bahamas. In 1860 salvaging shipwrecks made Key West the most prosperous city in the state of Florida. Although Florida was part of the Confederacy during the Civil War, the island was still controlled by the Union, due to the Union's naval base. A vast number of Cubans relocated in Key West during the 1860's and the 1870's.


  • Old Town Key West.
  • Heritage House Museum & Robert Frost Cottage.
  • The Studios of Key West is a prominent artist community.
  • The Key West Botanical Forest and Garden.
  • The Shipwreck Museum provides a scenic view of the island.
  • The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory includes a glass domed tropical butterfly environment.
  • Southernmost Point.
  • Key West Cemetery.
  • The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum features treasures taken from shipwrecks from all over the world.
  • Key West Lighthouse and Keeper's Quarters Museum.
  • Ernest Hemingway's home is now a museum.
  • Key West Nature Preserve.
  • Key West Aquarium.
  • Curry Mansion Museum is a superb Victorian structure.
  • Harry S. Truman Little White House.

Entertainment and Nightlife

Duval Street is a very popular location for restaurants and bars including Rick's Cafe, Captain Tony's Saloon, Rick's/Dirty Harry's Entertainment, the Bull and Whistle, Sloppy Joe's and Irish Kevin's Bar. The Sunset Festival at Mallory Square begins a few hours before sunset and can be described as a street carnival. Tourists enjoy shopping and dining at the Key West Historic Seaport. The Tennessee Williams Theatre is utilized for the performing arts and community events. The Key West Literary Seminar features well known writers. Visitors enjoy the Trails of Margaritaville Tour and also Fantasy Fest.

Outdoor Activities

Swimming with dolphins for children is offered in the Key Largo/Key West Area. The popular Conch Tour Train takes passengers through the historic Old Town. Tourists enjoy glass bottom boat excursions. Excellent opportunities for diving and snorkeling are located along the reefs. The shoreline near Fort Jefferson is a popular destination. Tourists can take a ferry ride to the notable Dry Tortungas National Park. Sightseeing cruises are a great way to enjoy Key West and the beautiful clear waters. Fishing is a popular outdoor activity. Some of the best beaches are Rest Beach, Fort Zachary Taylor, South Beach and Higg's Beach.

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High Points

Key West strengths, compared to Peers (similar size places nationally) or State (other places in Florida):

Category Trophy
Walking and Biking to Work
(vs. Peers)
Top 1% trophy Key West Walking and Biking to Work
Short Commute Times
(vs. Peers)
Top 1% trophy Key West Short Commute Times
Well-Paid Single Men
(vs. Peers)
Top 15% Key West Well-Paid Single Men

Comparative Profile of Key West, Florida

Comparing Key West to similar size places nationwide (Peers) and to other places in Florida (State):

Ratings range from 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest).

The People

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Male Share of the Population 10 10
Well-Paid Single Men 9 9
Age of the Population 9 5
Racial Diversity 9 8
Senior Citizens 5 2
Well-Paid Single Women 5 7
Children Under 5 Years Old 1 3
Female Share of the Population 1 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Portion of People Married 2 2
Average Household Size 1 4


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
College Educated Adults 6 8
People in Middle Class or Better 5 7
People Above Poverty 5 6
Median Family Income 5 8

Commute & Sprawl

Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Walking and Biking to Work 10 10
Short Commute Times 10 10
Working at Home 10 9
Public Transportation Use 4 7


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Seasonal and Vacation Housing 10 8
Studio & One-Bedroom Rentals 10 10
People Living Alone 8 7
Affordability of Property Taxes 4 2
Housing Recently Built 3 1
Affordability of Rents 2 1


Characteristic Compared
to Peers
to State
Low Violent Crime 2 4
Low Property Crime 1 2

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Key West Almanac

Category Value
Nearest Medium City 120 miles SW of Kendall, Florida (center to center)
Nearest Large City 130 miles SW of Miami, Florida
County Monroe
Standard Zip Codes 33040
P.O. Box Zip Codes 33041, 33045
Phone Area Codes 305
Time Zone Eastern (-5 hours from GMT)
Daylight Savings The city observes Daylight Saving Time.
Latitude 24.555
Longitude -81.782

Key West Climate

Nearest Weather Stations

  • Temp ranges are avg daily min and max for the month
  • Precipitation is rainfall (and rainfall equiv of snowfall)
Distance 2.1 miles
Jan Temp 65 to 75 F
Apr Temp 72 to 82 F
Jul Temp 80 to 89 F
Oct Temp 76 to 85 F
Annual Precip 38.9 inches
Distance 6.6 miles
Jan Temp 65 to 75 F
Apr Temp 72 to 81 F
Jul Temp 79 to 89 F
Oct Temp 76 to 85 F
Annual Precip 42.7 inches
Distance 93.7 miles
Jan Temp 56 to 78 F
Apr Temp 62 to 85 F
Jul Temp 73 to 91 F
Oct Temp 70 to 87 F
Annual Precip 55.5 inches
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Key West Population (2000)

Category Count Percent
Total Population 25,478 100%
Male 14,017 55%
Female 11,461 45%
Under 18 4,072 16%
18+ 21,406 84%
65+ 2,990 11.7%
Median Age 38.9
Average Family Size 2.84
White 21,642 84.9%
African-American 2,365 9.3%
Asian 329 1.3%
American Indian & Alaskan 99 0.4%
Other 474 1.9%
Mixed Race 555 2.2%
Hispanic (included in categories above) 4,215 16.5%

Estimated Key West Population Growth 2000-2005

Category Value
Est. 2005 Population 23,935
Growth -1,543
Growth % -6.1%

Key West Ancestry

(From 2000 Census, as reported by individuals)

Note: This is national, not racial, ancestry, so, e.g., the Census doesn't have categories for Hispanic and African-American people. CityTownInfo is currently gathering additional ancestry data for this site.
Ancestry Percent
Other (often includes Hispanic and African American) 29.4%
English 10.5%
German 10.3%
Irish 9.4%
US/American 7.3%
Italian 6.8%
French (except Basque) 2.8%
Polish 2.6%
Scottish 1.8%
Scotch-Irish 1.7%
Swedish 1.4%
French Canadian 1.4%
Russian 1.1%
Greek 0.9%
European 0.9%
Norwegian 0.8%
Dutch 0.7%
Czech 0.6%
Haitian 0.6%
Slovak 0.6%
Jamaican 0.5%
Ukrainian 0.5%
Czechoslovakian 0.4%
British 0.4%
Austrian 0.4%
Welsh 0.4%
Armenian 0.4%
Lithuanian 0.3%
Portuguese 0.3%
Lebanese 0.3%
African 0.3%
Hungarian 0.3%
Swiss 0.3%
Israeli 0.2%
Pennsylvania German 0.2%
Canadian 0.2%
West Indian 0.2%
Danish 0.2%
Northern European 0.2%
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Neighborhood and Nearby Area Names

According to the US Postal Service, Key West, its neighborhoods, and/or surrounding areas are also referred to as:

East Rockland Key (33040)
Fort Jefferson National Mon (33040)
Key West Nas (33040)
Munson Island (33040)
Raccoon Key (33040)

Note that not all alternate names are acceptable for use in US Post Office addresses.

Key West Public Libraries

Monroe County Public Library System
Key West, Florida
(305) 292-3595

library logo

More Information for Librarians

Key West Hospitals

(305) 294-5531
Emergency Service: Yes

Starbucks in Key West

(As of 2005)
Crowne Plaza-La Concha
430 Duval Street
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Key West High Schools (2004)

(Sorted by Number of Students)

Title I eligible, not participating.
Serves 1,380 students.
Student/teacher ratio: 20

Serves 25 students.

Key West Colleges

Click school name for a detailed profile.

Florida Keys Community College

(List of Florida Colleges)

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City, State Similarity   1 Person Houses 65+ College Grads Commute Minutes Family Income Kids 0-4 Non White Pop. Poverty Prop. Crime Seasonal Housing Viol. Crime
      loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose loose
1. Monterey, California 90.3   36.8% 14.9% 46.2% 16 $58,757 5% 19.2% 29,674 7.8% 44 2.7% 6.3
2. Newport, Rhode Island 88.2   39.4% 12.9% 41.5% 18 $54,116 5.8% 15.9% 26,475 14.4% 47 6.5% 5.6
3. Santa Fe, New Mexico 86.6   36.9% 13.9% 40% 18 $49,705 5.4% 23.7% 62,203 12.3% 69.4 5.2% 5.6
4. Mammoth Lakes, California 86.2   28.5% 4.3% 34% 12 $52,561 5.7% 16.8% 7,093 14.4% 64.9 57.5% 4.9
5. Portland, Maine 85.9   40.1% 13.9% 36.4% 19 $48,763 5.1% 8.7% 64,249 14.1% 46.9 3% 4
6. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 85.7   33.3% 15% 22.9% 19 $43,900 5.1% 18.8% 22,759 12% 242.9 17.6% 20.3
7. Jackson, Wyoming 85   28.7% 5.8% 36.7% 13 $53,915 5.4% 10.6% 8,647 6.8% 44.1 3% 3.4
8. Aspen, Colorado 84.1   43.8% 7.4% 60.6% 14 $70,300 3.8% 5.1% 5,914 8.2% 70.3 25.7% 3.4
9. Panama City, Florida 79.2   32.1% 15.9% 18.9% 19 $40,890 6.1% 26.4% 36,417 17.2% 64 0.9% 9.2
10. Hanahan, South Carolina 78.6   28% 11.5% 20.3% 21 $45,246 5.3% 18.4% 12,937 7.4% 46.3 0.8% 5
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Historic Key West


Residence in palm grove c1900.

Select a photo to view (Source):

Residence in palm grove c1900.

View from hotel c1900.

Rubber tree in U.S. barracks between 1890 and 1901

Additional Resources

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