How Dense Are We on Sanibel?

Many of you know that over 60% of Sanibel is pristine conservation land, and that no high-rise condos are allowed on our island. These protections keep us surrounded by natural beauty, and forever preserve Sanibel’s small town character.


In fact the population density on Sanibel is 456 people per square mile. That number comes from dividing the Census Bureau’s estimated population of Sanibel in 2016, which was 7,351, by the square miles of land on Sanibel, which is 16.12 sqmi.

I can say that the island likely has 7,000+ people here during peak season, however, the remaining months have significantly fewer residents on island. Even still, this 456 people per square mile is far fewer than other beach towns in Florida!

Take a peek at the charts below to see how Sanibel compares to beach towns such as St. Pete Beach, Venice, St. Augustine, Naples and more.

Total Population Counts

Population Counts – 20-Year Trend

As you can see, Sanibel’s population counts are much lower than surrounding beach towns. And while the number has increased over the years, we haven’t seen a dramatic increase overtime. In fact, most of the beach town’s here in Florida have a steady trend of growth as the second chart shows.

What About Population Density?

Below you’ll see the full density report for each of the beach towns compared above. Keep in mind that these numbers can fluctuate seasonly just as I explained for Sanibel’s population up-tick during the winter months. However, it provides a good comparison of just how populated other beach towns are compared to little ol’ Sanibel – and frankly, we like it that way.


Towns like St. Augustine, Marco, Naples, and Venice are 3x more densely populated than Sanibel. And it gets worse from there… Jacksonville Beach and Sarasota are 8x more dense, and St. Pete Beach and Fort Lauderdale are 10x more dense than Sanibel.

Jim McCallion About Jim McCallion

Meet the "Marketing Megaphone" and Webmaster behind McCallion & McCallion. After selling his software company, Jim, Susan and kids moved to Sanibel in 2008. With his tech experience, he and Susan bring a fresh approach to island real estate.