Merritt Island is a census-designated place in Brevard County, Florida, United States. It is located on the east coast of the state on the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2000 census, the population was 36,090. It is part of the Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville Metropolitan Statistical Area. The name "Merritt Island" also refers to the extent of the former island, which is now a peninsula. Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge and NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center are located on the northern part of Merritt Island. The area is heavily residential, with centralized light commercial and light industrial areas. The island does not belong to any official city. The central part of Merritt Island, previously known as Merritt City, is home to the majority of the population and includes the local high school, library, and shopping district.