About This Place
The Villages is a master-planned age-restricted retirement community located mainly in Sumter County, Florida, United States, but also includes portions of Lake and Marion counties. The community is controlled by several Community Development Districts (CDD's), most of which are controlled by H. Gary Morse, the owner of the development company which created The Villages. The overall development lies in central Florida, approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of Ocala and approximately 45 miles (72 km) northwest of Orlando.
The Villages includes the census-designated place (CDP) located in Sumter County, also known as The Villages, which had a population of 8,333 at the 2000 census. The CDP is the center of The Villages Micropolitan Statistical Area (μSA), which consists of all of Sumter County but does not include the Lake or Marion County portions of The Villages (the Lake County portion is included in the Orlando-Kissimmee, Florida, Metropolitan Statistical Area; the Marion County portion is included in the Ocala, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area). The Villages earned the No. 1 ranking as the fastest growing micropolitan area in the United States according to a 2008 Census Bureau report.
Harold Schwartz, a Michigan businessman, began selling land tracts via mail order in The Villages area in the 1960s. Unfortunately for Schwartz and his business partner Al Tarrson, a Federal law in 1968 banned mail order sales of real estate.