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 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 south of Ocala and approximately northwest of Orlando.
The Villages proper had a population of 8,333 at the 2000 census. By the 2010 census, its population had increased increased 517.33% to 51,442. It is the center of The Villages Micropolitan Statistical Area (μSA), which consists of all of Sumter County; Lake County is included in the Orlando-Kissimmee, Florida, Metropolitan Statistical Area, and Marion County is included in the Ocala, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area).
The Villages consistently ranks as a very high growth area. A 2008 Census Bureau report ranked The Villages the No. 1 fastest-growing micropolitan area in the United States. In 2012, Forbes magazine ranked The Villages as the No. 1 fastest-growing small town.