Northwest Florida, also known as the Florida Panhandle, is a 16-county region that extends along the Gulf of Mexico from Pensacola, on the western border of Florida, to just east of Tallahassee. The region occupies a unique geography in Florida, abutting the southern borders of both Georgia and Alabama, as well as the northwestern boundary of the Florida peninsula. The 16-county region includes nearly one-quarter of Florida’s 67 counties and approximately 20% of the state’s land mass.
The sixteen counties of Northwest Florida include: Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Wakulla, Walton, and Washington. The region also includes four Metropolitan Statistical Areas:
Northwest Florida includes a permanent population of 1.4 million and a workforce exceeding 700,000. In addition, the region attracts millions of visitors annually, due in large part to the extensive coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, where the beautiful white sand beaches are consistently rated among the best in the world.
Due to its unique location within the State of Florida, Northwest Florida is proximate to all Southeast U.S. markets. The region is attractive for all types of economic development projects, including those requiring access to deep water or barge facilities. The region’s higher education institutions, including three research universities - Florida State University, Florida A&M University, and the University of West Florida provide cutting-edge research across a wide range of disciplines, and the region’s military installations support a broad range of companies and provide a continually renewing source of skilled and dedicated workers.
As a result of these regional assets, Florida’s Great Northwest, the regional economic development organization, has identified the following key target industries that are thriving in Northwest Florida:
Throughout Northwest Florida, relocating and/or expanding businesses will find an exceptional quality of life, quality educational institutions, diverse transportation assets, and a pro-business leadership that realizes the importance of growing and diversifying the regional economy.
"The natural beauty of Northwest Florida is obvious to anyone visiting or living in the area. The hidden beauty – apparent from a business perspective - is in the business & government partnerships, availability of a capable workforce, and solid infrastructure that fosters growth and success."