Why Are So Many People Moving to Florida?


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Low angle tropical plants with a welcome sign to hot weather. Photo by Pgiam. Getty Images

Elijah Shinnick, Staff Writer

I’m sure you’ve noticed it — more traffic on 9 Mile and cars backed up further than you remember on North Davis Highway. It seems as if people have just appeared out of nowhere. Grocery stores are packed with people, and it’s becoming harder and harder to find a good parking spot anywhere.

It feels like it all happened all at once, and in some ways, it has.

Florida became the fasting growing state in 2022, with over 300,000 people moving in from July 2021 to the end of 2022, bringing Florida’s total population to just about 22 million. That’s a 1.9 percent population increase, which gives Florida the top spot out of all 50 states; the last time Florida held that record was in 1957.

And it shows. Pensacola’s population jumped 0.28 percent within the year, going from 357,000 in 2022 to 359,000 in 2023 alone.

Many people claim to love the “vacation feel” of the state, and when surveyed, nearly one-third of Americans prefer the beach. When asked what their ideal vacation would be, Pensacola Beach holds an impressive 4.5 out of 5 rating on Tripadvisor’s “traveler overview.”

It seems like everyone loves Florida, but that isn’t wholly true.

A Facebook group with over 14,000 ex-Florida residents makes a pretty conveying case as to the problems of the state. They mention severe weather, low wages, crowded beaches and steep housing prices as to why they decided to leave.

Steep housing prices shouldn’t be surprising. Florida was recently hailed the “least affordable” state when wages were compared to cost of living. Least affordable, as in ranked last in all 50 states. This continues a long history of a horrible housing market for sellers and buyers in the state.

It seems like the cons outweigh the pros here, Florida doesn’t have much to offer in terms of a better living experience, and the people who live here seem to hate it.

Then why is it still growing? There can be multiple answers to this question.

Firstly, immigration has been on the rise all across America, so that could play a part in all this. Secondly, with COVID-19, a lot of people started working remotely, and when people aren’t tied down to one place, they usually try to move somewhere pretty.

Lastly, Florida has slowly become a huge tech and banking hub for all sorts of businesses. Miami in particular becoming a hotspot for former California residents looking to experience the same climate.

Even Pensacola’s Navy Federal branch on 9 Mile employs over 8,000 people. Jobs are aplenty here, and everyone wants a piece of the pie.

At the end of the day, it depends on who you are, but love it or hate it, Florida will only keep growing.