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. A 2008 Census Bureau report ranked The Villages the No. 1 fastest-growing micropolitan area in the United States. In 2014, Forbes magazine ranked The Villages as the number one fastest-growing small city in the United States.
The Villages is controlled by several quasi-governmental Community Development Districts (CDD's), in turn controlled by the development company which created The Villages. H. Gary Morse, who owned the company for many years, 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 south of Ocala and approximately 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 Micropolitan Statistical Area (μSA), 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.