10 Sprawliest Cities in the United States

The Orlando skyline rises above the traffic on Interstate 4, a highway that runs east to west through central Florida. The area surrounding the highway is often referred to as the "I-4 Corridor." John Coletti/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images

There are plenty of reasons to live in Orlando, what with the sun, nearby beaches and relatively low cost of living. The steady migration of snowbirds, Mickey Mouse enthusiasts and other transplants to central Florida is at least 20 years in the making. And they aren't just moving in to Orlando, they're also moving around Orlando. The city itself grew by more than 21,000 residents in the '90s, while another 20,000 people moved to the surrounding suburbs, as developments popped up in rural areas that were once home to farmland and pine trees [source: American Homeowners Association].

By all accounts, the outward growth continues. Orlando's population jumped by 28 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to the latest Census figures, and the city is currently home to about 243,000 residents. Meanwhile, the exurbs have stretched as far as 30 miles (48 kilometers) to the north, where Deltona's population ballooned by 22 percent over the same period, making it the largest city in Volusia county. The emergence of this bedroom community appears to mean that more Orlando commuters are driving longer distances to get to their jobs. Area drivers lose about 38 hours a year to traffic congestion [sources: U.S. Census Bureau, American Homeowners Association, Texas A&M].