Estero is a village in Lee County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 22,612, at which time Estero was an unincorporated community, or census-designated place. In 2018 the village's estimated population was 33,474. It is part of the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. Estero is the home of Hertz Arena, which hosts the home games for the Florida Everblades ECHL ice hockey team. Florida Gulf Coast University is located just north of the Estero village limits. History Estero was established and incorporated by the followers of Cyrus Teed, who proposed a theory that people live on the inside of the Earth's outer skin, and that celestial bodies are all contained inside the hollow Earth. This theory, which he called Koreshan Unity, drew followers to purchase and occupy a 320-acre (1.3 km2) tract in 1894. They were business-oriented and lived communally, prospering enough to found their own political party ("The Progressive Liberty Party") and incorporate the town on September 1, 1904, as Estero. The 1908 death of Teed (who claimed to be immortal) was a critical blow to the group's faith, whose membership dwindled into the 1960s. The foundation remains as "The College of Life Foundation", which contributed (for example) at least $25,000 to the Gulf Shore Playhouse in or around 2007. The Koreshans' original tract is now owned by Florida as the Koreshan State Historic Site. Estero incorporated as a village in December 2014. Geography Estero is located in southern Lee County at 26°25′56″N 81°48′34″W (26.432237, -81.809447). It is bordered to the south by the city of Bonita Springs and to the north by unincorporated San Carlos Park and Three Oaks. According to the United States Census Bureau, the village of Estero has a total area of 25.4 square miles (65.7 km2), of which 24.4 square miles (63.1 km2) are land and 1.0 square mile (2.7 km2), or 4.05%, are water. Historically and culturally, the heart of Estero is the spring-fed Estero River, which flows to Estero Bay. Some of the earliest settlers of the area (notably the Alvarez, Fernandez, Johnson, and Soto families) were fishing families that lived on Mound Key, a mangrove-ringed island that dominates Estero Bay. During the early 20th century, these families moved upriver to the settlement which came to be known as Estero. Estero is also the location of a utopian community called the Koreshan Unity, which is now preserved as the Koreshan State Historic Site. Until the 1970s, most settlement and development in Estero was near the river. Demographics Historical population Census Pop. %± 2019 (est.) 33,871  U.S. Decennial Census As of the census of 2000, there were 9,503 people, 4,608 households, and 3,336 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 450.7 people per square mile (174.1/km2). There were 7,345 housing units at an average density of 348.4/sq mi (134.5/km2). The racial makeup of the CDP was 97.43% White, 0.64% African American, 0.11% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.77% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.19% of the population. There were 4,608 households, out of which 10.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.2% were married couples living together, 2.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.6% were non-families. 23.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.01 and the average family size was 2.31. In the CDP, the population was spread out, with 9.2% under the age of 18, 4.9% from 18 to 24, 14.1% from 25 to 44, 31.1% from 45 to 64, and 40.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 61 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.6 males. The median income for a household in the CDP was $43,734, and the median income for a family was $51,227. Males had a median income of $38,886 versus $27,883 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $30,521. About 1.9% of families and 3.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 1.1% of those under age 18 and 3.2% of those age 65 or over. Economy On May 7, 2013, the Hertz Corporation announced it was moving its corporate headquarters and about 750 jobs to Estero from its former bases at Park Ridge, New Jersey, and Tulsa, Oklahoma. Hertz built a $75 million building at the southeast corner of US-41 and Williams Road on a previously vacant lot and cleared parcel that already contained a retention pond. The land is immediately south of Corkscrew Village and about a mile north of Coconut Point Mall.