People have been moving to Florida for decades, but the acceleration of newcomers to the Sunshine State made it the top state for population increase in 2022. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that the state saw a 1.9% increase in population from 2021 to 2022. Due to the state’s growing popularity, you may be planning on relocating to Florida yourself. Any big move requires careful research, and you should know everything that you can before you move to Florida.
Retirees have traditionally driven population growth in Florida, and, as the population of the United States gets older, there are more retirees available to move to Florida. In my work as a mobile notary, I’ve met with many people buying homes in Florida. Although some are retirees, others are people in their prime working years.
With over 22 million residents, Florida ranks third in population in the country. A large population forms a large economy that requires many service workers. The state also attracts employers run by people who want to live in Florida too. This situation creates demand for workers, which means you might find good career opportunities in the state.
Is It Worth It to Move to Florida?
If you are hoping to come out ahead financially, moving to Florida would be worth it if you’re coming from a high-cost-of-Living state and you settle in a Florida city with a moderate cost of living. Living expenses vary among different metro areas. Relief from personal income tax could boost your finances as well.
Aside from financial considerations, you may find moving to Florida worth it for personal reasons. Many people who move there appreciate the warm weather and the absence of any real winter weather.
What Attracts People to Moving to Florida?
People moving to Florida don’t make that choice by throwing a dart at a map. Many people discover the appeal of Florida by going there on vacation. The state is a huge destination for people seeking an escape from dreary winter weather. Walt Disney World is an enormous attraction, and the state hosts multiple professional sports teams.
A visit to Florida can inspire you to move there because you found the lifestyle appealing.
The percentage of people who never want snow and ice in their lives is high. Some people just hate cold weather, and they will eagerly welcome the chance to live in a subtropical climate. Except for the rare overnight freeze, the state is free of winter weather.
No Personal Income Tax
Living in Florida, you won’t have to file personal income taxes. The higher your income, the more appealing this facet of life in Florida is. You won’t miss the extra paperwork and expense at tax time.
Florida is fun. Whatever you are into, chances are you can engage in that activity somewhere close by. Even if you live inland, ocean beaches and lakes are only a short day trip away. This means swimming, kayaking, boating, or fishing is always close at hand, year-round, if you enjoy such things.
The state is well known as a golfer’s paradise. Public and private golf courses are everywhere. Opportunities to attend clinics or classes run by golf pros are abundant because golfers flock to the peninsula.
You can expect your favorite musicians to have tour stops in one or more of the state’s major cities. If you like sports, professional and college athletic competitions take place all over the state.
Professionals seeking work normally find good opportunities in Florida. As of 2023, unemployment is low in the state, and the technology, healthcare, and financial services industries are thriving.
Even so, the state is not immune to layoffs. The technology industry is especially prone to layoffs right now, according to the Florida Times-Union. The robust hiring and workloads of the pandemic years are giving way to caution among executives, looking to cut costs. A survey of hiring plans in 2023 revealed that close to half of executives planned to reduce hiring or layoff people this year.
Despite developing rockiness in the job sector, the state will likely add more jobs overall. Living in a high-population state gives you access to many private and public sector employers.
Living near bodies of water is highly desirable. Fresh coastal air, brilliant sunrises or sunsets, and areas of natural beauty enhance your life.
What to Expect When Moving to Florida
Before making a final decision about moving to Florida, you have to evaluate many facets of your life. Happiness in your new home relies largely on the move meeting your expectations. No place is perfect, and the attractive things about the Florida lifestyle come with a few downsides.
Rising Cost of Living
The popularity of the state as a relocation destination inevitably leads to a rising cost of living. More people means more demand for everything. High demand drives prices upwards, especially for housing and energy. The upward pressure on prices due to a swelling population will exacerbate the inflation that is confronting everyone no matter where they live.
In Florida, a single adult without children needs to earn over $36,000 a year to keep up with basic living expenses according to the living wage calculator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Traditionally, Florida has had a low cost of living, ranking 31 out of 50 states in terms of being expensive, meaning 30 states are less expensive places to call home. Even so, the cost of living in Florida is close to the national average.
Statewide the cost of living looks about average for living in the United States, but the city where you live in Florida could be expensive. Rentcafe.com has some great data about the cost of living in individual Florida cities.
- Life in Fort Lauderdale costs 21% more than the state average and 22% more than the national average.
- Living expenses in Orlando edge 4% above the state average and 5% higher than the national average.
Some cities cost a little less than the state average, including Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Palm Coast. So, if you decide to move to Florida, put a microscope on the city-level cost-of-living data because some places are affordable and others are not.
Difficulty Insuring Your Home
It is not hyperbolic to say that the homeowners insurance market in Florida is in crisis. The flooding and hurricane-force winds that routinely afflict the state cause substantial damage. The number of intense, and expensive, storms has risen due to global warming forcing more heat and moisture into the atmosphere.
Pummeled by enormous claims, many insurance companies have fled Florida, leaving residents to contend with the expensive insurers willing to remain in a region at high risk for storm damage and flooding. Since 2020, insurers have doubled homeowners insurance rates and strained the budgets of many residents considerably.
This video from NBC News explains the problem succinctly.
There is no reason to think that the difficulty of insuring homes in Florida will cease. Rising homeowners insurance premiums will place continual upward pressure on housing costs. Renters will not be invulnerable as their landlords receive insurance premium hikes every year.
Even if you have deep pockets and can afford your homeowners insurance, there is still the inevitable unpleasantness of living through a hurricane. The time will come when you may need to evacuate unless you live in the interior of the peninsula.
Lots of Tourists
A staggering 137.6 million visitors entered Florida in 2022 according to reporting from the Villages Daily Sun.
Tourists typically have a great time in Florida. You probably first encountered the state as a tourist and are now contemplating moving to Florida. Integrating your mundane workaday life with a vacation destination seems like a good idea. It certainly could be, but as a resident, you could find the throngs of tourists increasingly annoying.
A home off the beaten path would be desirable. Otherwise, you can expect heavy traffic everywhere you go due to millions of people visiting the state every year.
As a Florida resident, you should also brace yourself to be contacted several times a year by various old friends and relatives who decided to vacation in the state. You may not get much notice of their arrival, and they might expect you to help them party on vacation. This can be an annoyance after you’ve had a long day at work.
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