By CURTIS KRUEGER
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 13, 2001
For years the story of the Tampa Bay area's rapid-fire growth traced back to the Midwest, where shivering retirees decided to flock south.
Now, look to Mexico, Cambodia and Vietnam as well.
Florida's constant growth and the booming economy of the 1990s were magnets that brought people to the Tampa Bay area from India as well as Indiana. Local residents have been on the move too, creating swirls of change throughout the region.
These shifts have given many of our neighborhoods a different ethnic character. New census data show this, and so does simple observation. A decade ago, you couldn't buy tres leches cakes on Highland Avenue in Clearwater. And Bruce Holley wasn't the only white person on his block in Tampa.
Although changing ethnic patterns sometimes lead to friction between different groups, many people interviewed for these stories said they had not experienced difficulties. They were simply part of the year-to-year evolution of Tampa Bay neighborhoods.
Here is a sampling of some of the neighborhoods in the Tampa Bay area where census data show the most rapid changes in the ethnic background of residents.