The Villages is a census-designated place (CDP) in Sumter County, Florida, United States. It shares its name with a broader master-planned age-restricted community that spreads into portions of Lake and Marion counties. The Villages consistently ranks as a very high growth area. The US Census ranked The Villages as the fastest-growing U.S. city for the second year in a row (during the 12 months ended July 2014); The Villages has more than doubled in size since 2010: about 114,350 people now live in the community. Now in April 2016 the total population of "The Villages" has reached 157,000 people due to new areas stretching from Fruitland Park to South SR 44.
The Villages is controlled by several quasi-governmental Community Development Districts (CDD), which are, in turn, controlled by the development company which created The Villages. H. Gary Morse, the son of the original owner and who was responsible for turning The Villages into one of the most well-known and fastest-growing retirement communities, transferred most direct ownership in the company to his three children in 2006; Morse died in 2014. The overall development lies in central Florida, approximately 20 miles (32 km) south of Ocala and approximately 45 miles (72 km) northwest of Orlando.
As of the 2010 United States Census, The Villages had a population of 51,442, reflecting an increase of 43,109 (517.33%) from the 8,333 counted in the 2000 Census. It is the center of The Villages Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), which consists of all of Sumter County; Lake County is included in the Orlando–Kissimmee–Sanford, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area; and Marion County is included in the Ocala, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.