20 Reasons Americans Are Fleeing the “Sunshine State” of Florida

Florida is known as the “Sunshine State” because it boasts sunny skies, sandy beaches, and a fantastic mix of cultures. However, while over 700,000 people moved to Florida in 2022, almost 500,000 residents left that same year—all because of less-than-ideal living situations! A surge in criminal activity, heightened living costs, extreme weather, and more are all detrimental to the allure of Florida’s already long-waning charm!

Surge in Criminal Activity

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If you look at things from an outside perspective, it’s so easy to think that Florida is a safe state because its crime rate falls below the national average. However, accounts from people actually living in Florida say otherwise. Sure, it’s much safer in tourist areas, but can you afford a home there? If you can’t, you have to move miles from it, which is already a breeding ground for all sorts of crimes.

Support for Permit-Free Concealed Carry

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In 2023, Florida allowed permit-free concealed carry of weapons such as guns. This law gives gun owners the right to carry their weapons without any permit in Florida—so long as they don’t go where lawmakers meet and do business. The laws regarding who can buy firearms remain the same, but many residents remain antsy about this. In fact, some even say that everyone around them walks around with guns, making them feel incredibly uncomfortable!

Tax Dilemmas

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Unlike California, which has the highest state income tax, Florida is famous for not having a state individual income tax, making it a popular choice for many people considering a move. However, what people forget to check is the other taxes that it does have. For example, Axios notes, “Median property taxes for single-family homes in Florida have swelled about 35% over the last five years; the state’s property tax spike is 10 percentage points higher than the US average, adding to the rising cost of homeownership. Florida’s median property tax increased from $2,226 in 2019 to $3,003 in 2023.”

Steep Living Costs

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Don’t think Florida is a cheap place to live in because it’s not. Though it doesn’t have an income tax, it has high car insurance costs, food costs, and rent. Consumer prices have been on a steady incline in areas such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, and they even rose by 4.5% in 2024 compared to the past 12 months.

Job Hunt Obstacles

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Many people are enticed by the possibility of working in Florida and probably earning a lot more than they need. However, while there are many available jobs in the state, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll get one—or if you do get one, it doesn’t mean you’ll land a high-paying job. Because everyone wants to move to Florida, competition is tough, and employers know they can squeeze every bit of savings they can when hiring. Employers know they could offer less money than you deserve because while a lot of jobs are open, even more people want to get that job; it’s simply a matter of supply and demand for them.

Climbing Insurance Costs and Premiums

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Insurance costs and premiums in Florida are affected by several factors: the common occurrence of natural disasters, the skyrocketing price of reinsurance, and the state’s litigation-friendly environment, which makes it easier for customers to sue their insurance providers. MarketWatch shares, “Florida drivers pay some of the highest car insurance rates in the country. According to estimates from Quadrant Information Services, Florida drivers pay $115 per month or $1,385 per year on average for minimum-coverage auto insurance. This is more than twice the national average for minimum coverage, which is $52 per month or $627 per year.”

Environmental Challenges

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While every other state faces its own environmental challenges, it’s also important to highlight what’s happening to Florida due to overpopulation and climate change. For example, Florida has issues with the spread of algae due to fertilizer pollution in waterways. This harms manatees in the area, putting them in danger of extinction.

Severe Storms, Hurricanes, and Climate Change

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Who could ever forget the devastating 2005 hurricane—Hurricane Katrina—which made landfall in Miami, Florida? With Florida being a coastal state, it’s more susceptible to the westerly winds that blow off from African coasts along the equator, thus making it more prone to hurricanes. Aside from this, Florida is notorious for having the highest frequency of tornadoes compared to any other state in the Southeast United States!

Sweltering Heat and Excessive Humidity

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Americans love beautiful weather, sunshine, and the heat—but not too much heat! Many are attracted to the sands and sunny skies that Florida has to offer. However, once they’re there, they realize it’s not all it’s cut out to be. Florida can get hot, and it’s not unusual to have 100-degree summers here—even at night!

Constant Weather Patterns or Lack of Seasons

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Though many people move to Florida because of its sunny skies, some quickly get bored of it. After some time, they start to crave the cool breeze or maybe even the snow. However, Florida is not a four-season state. It’s characterized as a two-season state with only summer and winter; even so, winter in Florida differs greatly from winter in New York!

Worsening Traffic Congestion and Road Conditions

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With the influx of tourists and new residents, it’s not surprising that there’s a lot of traffic in Florida. In fact, many residents are leaving the state because of the continuously worsening traffic congestion and road conditions! Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and other famous tourist hotspots usually see the worst traffic and the most serious accidents.

Poor Access to Quality Healthcare

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Sadly, millions of Florida residents live in an area with a shortage of primary care workers. The Florida Times-Union says, “Florida ranks No. 48 for access and affordability; this is unacceptably cruel. Similarly, Florida ranks No. 47 for avoidable use and cost, also No. 41 for income disparity.” Healthcare accessibility is already a crisis for the state, and its residents are calling for its government to take the necessary steps for change!

Accessibility Hurdles for PWDs

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In California, condominium owners and HOAs are required to allow PWD residents to modify their units and common areas at the owners’ expense to accommodate their disabilities. However, in Florida, the ADA does not apply to condominiums. They stick to the ruling that the ADA only applies to “public accommodations,” so because condominiums and the like are private, the ADA would not apply here. Subtle rules and policies such as this one make the state less accessible for PWDs as a whole.

Never-Ending Crowds and Year-Round Tourist Influx

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Thousands of people flock to Florida either as new residents or as tourists; no matter what, these are hundreds and thousands of people entering a place at the same time, resulting in never-ending crowds. Some residents of the state are just tired of this because, aside from traffic, they even have to make reservations weeks in advance for their favorite restaurants just because it’s usually filled to the brim with tourists! A user on Quora shared, “You want to go to dinner on a Saturday? Better make a reservation the week before; otherwise, it’s a two to three-hour wait!”

Pest Problems and Wildlife Worries

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Because of Florida’s weather and climate, it’s home to a lot of biodiversity and wildlife. Some of the most common household pests in the state are its 32 species of ants, cockroaches, termites, rats, ticks, crickets, flies, iguanas, horse flies, and more! Of course, who would ever forget about its wildlife worries, which come in the form of bears, alligators, panthers, and more?

A Divisive and Hostile Political Landscape

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Politics is always a sensitive topic wherever you go. However, politics and political views are taken to a whole new level in Florida. Most residents even want to leave the state just because they’re tired of the tense political climate in the area. Some even share that you can’t go anywhere and talk to anyone without the conversation somehow turning political.

A Fluctuating Real Estate Market

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Several factors make Florida’s real estate market fluctuate: economic conditions, weather, tourist influx, population and trends, and more. As more people enter the state, demand surges, leading to an increase in property prices. However, while many people enter, many leave, too, making for a volatile market.

Lack of Social Interaction

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As more people move in and out of the state, there are fewer chances for people to interact with others. Additionally, cities in Florida are somewhat spread out, and many older people live alone, leaving them unable to meet up with friends who live far away.

Cultural Shifts and Adjustments

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Many young people are attracted to Florida because of how diverse its cultural landscape is; after all, there are influences from Latin American, Caribbean, and even Southern cultures. However, this could be a challenging climate for older people to immerse themselves in. After all, with old age comes the hesitance to explore outside one’s comfort zone. Though this is not true for everyone, some might feel like it’s hard for them to adjust to new food, traditions, and more that these cultures bring in.

Want for a Different Tempo or Change of Pace

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Though there are many specific and even profound reasons for leaving the state, some simply want a change of pace. There are people who might have lived their whole lives in Florida and want to try something new or explore the country a little bit more. There’s nothing wrong with this, and if moving out of the state would make them thrive, they should go ahead and do it!

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Author: Karen Danao

Bio:

Karen is a writer and also a marketing and advertising professional. Beyond the keyboard and the screen, she is someone who’s out to enjoy every bit that life has to offer!

Poetry, philosophy, history, and movies are all topics she loves writing about! However, her true passion is in traveling, photography, and finding common ground to which everyone from different cultures can relate.

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