Lehigh Acres was the first post World War II Florida retirement community to be built, and now 40 years later it is still growing.
Lehigh Acres got its start in the mid 1950s when Chicago businessman Lee Ratner needed a tax shelter. He had sold his pest control business, and he faced the possibility of losing most of his earnings to the high capital gains tax of that era.
Ratner heard that cattle was a good investment for people in his predicament, and he bought 20,000 acres (80 km²) of land in eastern Lee County and named it the Lucky Lee Ranch.
After ranching for a while, Ratner envisioned this as a new community. It is due to his foresight that Lehigh Acres has become the well balanced, thriving community it is today.
Since the days of Lucky Lee, the boundaries of Lehigh Acres have stretched to cover 100 square miles (260 km²) and the pasture land where Ratner's cattle roamed has been divided into quarter and half-acre (1,000 and 2,000 m²) lots for housing with larger tracts along major thoroughfares, such as Homestead Road And Lee Boulevard, set aside for stores and business. Now Lehigh Acres has over 152,000 lots.
As of the censusGR2 of 2000, there were 33,430 people, 12,707 households, and 9,250 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 136.0/km² (352.3/mi²). There were 14,486 housing units at an average density of 58.9/km² (152.7/mi²).
There were 12,707 households out of which 32.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.4% were married couples living together, 10.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.2% were non-families. 22.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.62 and the average family size was 3.03.
In the CDP the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 19.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 94.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.5 males.
The median income for a household in the CDP was $38,517, and the median income for a family was $42,492. Males had a median income of $30,202 versus $21,935 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $17,186. About 5.8% of families and 7.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.5% of those under age 18 and 7.6% of those age 65 or over.