Lakeland is a city in Polk County, Florida, along Interstate 4 east of Tampa. The westernmost city in Polk County, it is part of the Tampa Bay Area. According to the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau estimate, the city had a population of 100,710. Lakeland is a principal city of the Lakeland–Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area (coterminous with Polk County), which had an estimated population of 623,009 in July 2013 based on data from the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research. It is twinned with Richmond Hill, Ontario; Imabari, Ehime, Japan; Bălți, Moldova; Portmore, Jamaica; and Chongming County, Shanghai, China through the Lakeland chapter of Sister Cities International.
Native Americans began to live in the area 12,000 years ago. European settlers arrived in Lakeland in the 1870s and the city expanded in the 1880s with the arrival of rail service. Lakeland is home to the 1,267-acre Circle B Bar Reserve.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has an area of 67 sq mi (173.5 km²), of which 45.84 sq mi (118.7 km²) is land and 5.61 sq mi (14.5 km²) (10.90%) is covered by water. Lakeland is within the Central Florida Highlands area of the Atlantic coastal plain, with a terrain consisting of flatland interspersed with gently rolling hills.
As of 2010, 48,218 households were in the city, with 15.5% being vacant. As of 2000, 23.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39% were individuals and nontraditional families. About 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.82.
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