According to the United States Census Bureau, Florida not only ranks as the third most-populated state in the nation but also secures the second spot (after Texas) for the largest population increase over the past decade (2010-2020). In fact, over 14% of the population has chosen to make Florida their home within the last ten years. Let’s check out what makes the Sunshine State so appealing to Americans and the pros and cons of moving to Florida.
The Pros of Living in Florida
1. Reduced Taxes and a Strong Economy
Perhaps one of the most important benefits of moving to Florida is the absence of a state income tax. This is a major financial boon for residents, allowing you to keep more of your earnings. Additionally, Florida boasts a robust and fast-growing economy, ranking as one of the strongest in the nation. The combination of no state income tax and economic opportunities makes it an attractive place to live, with financial rewards.
2. Mild Winters and Endless Sunshine
Say goodbye to the snow shovel and being cooped up indoors during the winter. Florida offers mild and pleasant winters, with average temperatures hovering between 65°F and 77°F, depending on your location in the state. For those residing in the southern part, such as Miami, year-round beach life is on the table. Florida, as the warmest state in the U.S., is a perfect escape from cold, harsh winters.
3. Coveted Vacation Destination
Florida’s allure extends well beyond its resident population. The state welcomes an astonishing 110 million tourists annually, making it the second most visited state in the country. Living here means you’re always just a short drive from some of the most beautiful beaches in the nation. Enjoying beach life as a local is one of the biggest perks of calling Florida home.
4. Diversity and Multiculturalism
Florida stands out as one of the most diverse states in America. This diversity is largely due to an influx of residents from neighboring countries. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida’s population is approximately 60% white, 22% Hispanic or Latino, 16% African American, and 2% Asian. The Florida quality of life, encompassing a mix of diverse cultures, guarantees ample opportunities for interactions with people from various backgrounds. Indeed, variety is the spice of life here.
5. Affordable Housing and Real Estate
The cost of homeownership in Florida is notably more budget-friendly than the national average. The median home cost in the state is around $232,000, a figure well below the U.S. average of $428,700. Although home prices have seen a significant increase, with the average selling price at approximately $361,000, they still remain relatively affordable. This upward trend indicates that the value of your investment is appreciating.
6. Robust Job Market & Economic Prospects
Florida’s job market is impressive, boasting a low unemployment rate and high job growth rates, particularly in 2020. The state ranks as the third-best in the U.S. for job seekers. Finding your dream job in this sun-soaked paradise might be more attainable than you imagined.
7. Beach Access and Coastal Views
Florida’s coastline, a significant factor to weigh when contemplating the living in Florida pros and cons, stretches a staggering 1,200 miles and ranks as the largest in the continental U.S. Home to some of the world’s most magnificent beaches, life in Florida offers a beach lover’s dream come true. What sets Florida apart is the presence of two distinct coastlines: one along the Atlantic Ocean and the other along the Gulf of Mexico. Your beach options are virtually endless.
8. A Sports Lover’s Haven
No matter your sporting preference, you’ll find a professional team to support in Florida. The state is home to an array of teams in various sports leagues, including the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Florida Panthers, Orlando City SC, Miami Marlins, Miami Dolphins, and many more. Sports enthusiasts will never have a dull moment in Florida.
9. Abundance of Entertainment Options
While it’s tempting to laze by the beach daily, Florida offers a vast array of activities. From pristine parks with springs, lakes, and rivers to hiking, fishing, swimming, and canoeing, the state caters to outdoor enthusiasts. If you prefer amusement parks, you’ll have your pick of world-renowned destinations like Disney World, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, LEGO Land, and Sea World. These attractions make Florida an excellent option for families, ensuring there’s always something fun to do.
10. Recreational Aquatic Sports
For those who crave more than just beach life, Florida offers an array of water-based activities. Sail, dive, surf, canoe, snorkel, kayak, and even embark on a yacht adventure. Whether you’re a seasoned water enthusiast or eager to pick up a new hobby, Florida provides numerous locations and opportunities to hone your skills. Notably, divers will revel in the 350-mile-long Florida Reef, the only living coral barrier in the continental U.S. and the third-largest in the world.
11. Rich Flora and Fauna
Florida’s landscape encompasses a diverse ecosystem, with over half of the state’s land area covered by forests (a whopping 26,000 square miles). Within these lush woodlands thrive a staggering 3,000 different wildflower varieties, including the iconic palm trees. From the iconic alligators in the Everglades to the gentle West Indian manatees and exotic creatures like the Indian peafowl, Florida offers a wealth of animal experiences for enthusiasts.
12. Suitable for Home Gardening
Growing your own produce is a delightful aspect of Florida living. The state’s temperate climate, devoid of freezing temperatures, allows for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to thrive in your backyard. Enjoy fresh, organic, and locally grown produce, a convenience that’s hard to come by in most other parts of the country. The quintessential Florida experience also includes cultivating your own oranges and grapefruit, adding a unique dimension to home gardening.
The Cons of Living in Florida
1. High Cost of Living
Although housing is cheaper in Florida than it is in most other states in America, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research the overall cost of living in Florida is on the higher side. It’s vital to assess this against the state’s many merits when planning your move.
2. Healthcare Quality
Florida ranks 36th out of 50 states for healthcare quality, according to the U.S. Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Furthermore, most hospitals in the state are ranked below the country’s average according to medicare.com. That being said, there are still plenty of facilities ranked among the top in the nation you can attend to.
3. Crime Rates
Although this is an average resulting from a combination of small towns and big urban areas, the overall crime rate in Florida is above the national average. Again, that being said, if you hand-pick the town you’re going to and check its crime rate, you can choose a place to live with a crime rate far below the national average.
4. Vulnerability to Natural Disasters
One of the most significant disadvantages of living in Florida is the risk of facing natural disasters such as hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes, drought, wildfires, and more. The state grapples with weather challenges, ranging from mild storms to severe hurricanes. It’s imperative to carry comprehensive insurance, although premiums are typically higher in Florida compared to many other regions.
5. Need for Private Transportation
A car is a necessity for Floridians, as the state’s vastness and limited public transportation necessitate private vehicle ownership. Unfortunately, Florida’s traffic fatality rate ranks third highest in the country. Moreover, with the state welcoming over 100 million tourists annually, accidents are relatively frequent. It’s crucial to stay alert if you decide to walk or cycle while residing in Florida.
6. Intense Heat and Humidity
Florida’s hot and humid climate can be overwhelming, particularly during the summer months. The weather virtually demands air conditioning and lightweight, loose-fitting clothing. High humidity can add to the discomfort, making a refreshing dip in the ocean a welcome relief.
7. Flat Landscape and Lack of Elevation
Florida’s landscape is notably flat, with the state’s highest elevation point being Britton Hill, standing at a modest 345 feet (105 meters). For lovers of mountainous terrain, hiking, and climbing, this flat expanse may be underwhelming. Nevertheless, the state offers more than 1,200 miles of astonishing beaches and an average of 2,800 hours of sunlight annually, likely persuading many to trade hiking gear for a surfboard.
8. Bugs, Critters, and Pests
Florida has earned its reputation as one of the buggiest states in the nation for a reason. Alongside insects, residents might encounter snakes, rats, and lizards. It’s worth noting that tourist areas are often meticulously treated with pesticides, ensuring a comfortable stay. However, living in Florida year-round means coming face to face with the state’s mosquito population on a daily basis. While these pesky insects are far from being Florida’s official state bird, you’ll certainly encounter them regularly.
In conclusion, when discussing the pros and cons of Florida, one should always keep in mind its favorable economic climate and stunning natural beauty, along with its diverse culture and abundant entertainment options. However, the state does come with its share of challenges, including a high cost of living, healthcare quality concerns and vulnerability to natural disasters. It’s essential to weigh these pros and cons carefully to determine if Florida is the right place for you.
Q : Is Florida an Affordable Place to Live?
A : Florida offers affordable housing with a median home cost below the national average. However, the overall cost of living can be relatively high compared to other states. The balance between housing costs and overall expenses is essential to consider.
Q : How’s Healthcare in Florida?
A : Florida ranks 36th in healthcare quality among U.S. states. While top healthcare facilities exist, some areas fall below the national average. Researching healthcare options and choosing your location carefully can ensure you receive quality care.
Q : What’s the Weather Like in Florida?
A : Florida offers mild winters and endless sunshine. Winter temperatures average between 65°F to 77°F, and the state boasts a year-round beach-friendly climate.