Why Florida is the fastest growing state in America
Florida is the fastest growing state in America for the first time since 1957, according to the US Census Bureau. The southeastern state, known for its warm weather and sandy beaches, has a population of more than 22 million.
“I hate being cold,” says Cathy Bonini, 42, who grew up in Pennsylvania but moved to Florida in 2011. “Everyone loves sunshine and palm trees.”
Nancy Sykes-Kline, mayor of the coastal city of St. Augustine, Florida, agrees.
“You know, we call ourselves the Sunshine State and I think that makes a huge difference,” Sykes-Klein said when asked why people are moving to her state. “I think, at the core of it, it’s just great weather we’ve got. Sunshine.”
Florida is famous for attracting older and retired Americans. But more than 700,000 people of all ages moved to the state between April 1, 2020, and July 1, 2022. That was during the COVID-19 pandemic, a time when many remote workers can live wherever they want.
Economist Sean Snaith says there are factors other than the weather that draw people to Florida, including a strong job market and the fact that, unlike most US states, Florida does not tax income.
“Depending on where people move from, that could be an extra 8, 9, 10% of your salary you previously earned to pay state or other local taxes,” says Snaith, a professor of economics at the university. from Central Florida and director of the UCF Institute for Economic Forecasting.
Analysis of census data shows that within the United States, people who move to Florida most often come from New York, Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and California.
“It’s time to kind of get out of California with wildfires and a higher cost of living,” says Florida resident Aaron Dunn, 36, who moved from the West Coast in May 2021, during the pandemic. Dan, who works in real estate, sees more opportunities for land development and commercial leasing in Florida.
“You can get a lot more for your dollar here, obviously with less taxes,” he says. Therefore, I think the cost of living is very attractive as well as an opportunity for growth.”
Even before the pandemic, nearly two-thirds of the people living in Florida were from out of state. A fifth of these transplants were taken from a foreign country.
“We’ve had a lot of international immigration into the state, from a variety of locations. You know, it’s not just one or two countries, it’s Central America, South America and the Caribbean.” People generally want to move to the United States, and Florida tends to have on a larger segment of these immigrants.
But population growth can make life in the sunshine state more expensive. The median home price in Florida has increased 14% in the past year, compared to the national average of 8.7%, according to Zillow, a real estate marketplace company.
“Florida is kind of a cheap place to buy a house and live in. It’s not like that anymore,” Snaith says. And that makes life difficult in terms of affordability. And that’s one of the problems Florida will have here, I think, for some time to come.” .
Realtor Sharon Wooten is a native of Florida. Over time, she saw orange groves give way to housing development.
“It’s changed a lot. Farmland is being lost. … I think if we take care of our natural resources, and don’t grow too fast, that’s fine. And I think, if we’re selective about what comes. A lot of these developments are very nice and they care about these developments and all they do is First class,” she says. As long as it’s a good growth, it’s fine. You know, it has brought so many opportunities to people in this area that they may not have had before.”
Wooten says the increased sophistication has had a positive impact on daily life for some.
“My mum and my grandmother had opportunities to go shopping and go to plays and restaurants and things they didn’t have before,” she says. “So, it kind of opened up a whole new world for them.”
In terms of the economy, Snaith says, population growth “is nothing but good news.”
“Every new home that moves to Florida needs a place to live, they need food, they need medical care, their kids, if they have them, they need an education, they need clothes. They need all the things that consumers buy,” Snaith says. And, you know, population growth is one side of the coin. The other side of the same coin is economic growth…the more people there are in any regional economy, the more economic activity they will generate.”
Florida is the third most populous state in the country. People have been moving there since the 1950s, when air conditioning first became commonplace, and that flow shows no signs of stopping.
“Unless there is some kind of dramatic change in the environment, you know, politically and economically,” Snaith says, “I don’t see any kind of factor that would take us out of this course that the country has been on for a long time.”
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