Are you considering moving to Florida?
Many people equate living in Florida with paradise. There are beaches abound comprising both of the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. Its moniker of the Sunshine State is well-earned.
In this article we have attempted to collect all the top pros and cons of living in Florida to help you make an informed decision about relocating to the Sunshine State.
Living in Florida
Florida is the third most populated state in the US and interestingly around 14% of the current Florida residents moved to Florida between 2010 and 2020. This is the sharpest population hike of any US state. There must be a reason why Florida is such a popular place. Let’s take a look at some of the facts.
Interesting Facts About Living in Florida
Some of the oldest trees in the world can be found in Florida. Specifically in the Big Cypress National Preserve is a 4,500-year-old cypress tree. There are also more than 1.3 million alligators that make their home in Florida, which is the largest such population anywhere in the United States.
Florida is relatively flat, but its highest point is 345 feet above sea level, Britton Hill. Florida has the highest concentration of amusement parks worldwide, including Sea World, Universal Studios, and Walt Disney World.
Florida produces more oranges than any other place in the US. Founded in 1565, Florida’s St. Augustine is the oldest city in the US. The Everglades National Park can be found in Florida and is the largest subtropical wilderness in the country. With this comes the only tropical climate in the US. Florida also has the longest coastline of any US state, clocking in at 1,350 miles.
Lastly, Florida residents make up the largest population of retirees in the country as many people choose Florida as a retirement destination due to low living costs and warm weather.
Cons of Moving to Florida
As with anything in life, not all is sunshine and roses, not even in the Sunshine State, there are always some cons to moving anywhere, and we have tried here to isolate some cons specifically related to moving to Florida.
All the bugs
This state has more bugs than any other state in the US. In addition to the bugs there are also other pests like lizards, rats, and snakes to contend with. Heavily touristed areas in Florida are usually sprayed for bugs and pests whereas residential areas are not. A year-round stay in Florida should give you an idea of what we mean by mosquitos. So many mosquitos. All the mosquitos.
Florida is Flat
Seeing as how the highest point in Florida is only 345 feet high, it is safe to assume that Florida is indeed completely flat. If you like to hike and mountain climb then moving to Florida will be exceedingly difficult to stomach.
The Humidity and Heat
Florida is highly air-conditioned, for a very good reason. The heat and humidity are real! Living in Florida, if you come from a colder climate, can be difficult. Even in the shade, or indoors, the heat can be extreme. In many ways, air conditioning is actually non-negotiable during summer months in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, humidity is oppressive and can be stifling even to people who are used to dry heat.
Florida Residents have Don’t trust their Public Transportation Options
In Florida everything is far apart, and the public transportation options are limited and often unreliable. In big cities, the traffic can also be extremely heavy. Due to all the tourism in Florida the accident rate is extremely high. The population of Florida is also quite old compared to other parts of the US, so the people on the road also tend to be older than one might expect.
Florida is Prone to Natural Disasters
Wildfires, drought, tornadoes, flooding, and hurricanes might also become your neighbors upon moving to Florida. While the state might be known for sunny weather and stunning beaches, extreme weather conditions are also common. Every year the state has to deal with natural disasters in one form or another, including some severe tropical storms.
For this reason, insurance is non-negotiable in Florida, and the costs of insurance tend to be higher than in most other states.
Overall Crime Rate
When calculating a general crime rate and combining results for large urban areas and small towns Florida’s average crime rate is higher than the national average. However, if you look closer at individual areas within Florida, even the big cities sometimes might have lower crime rates, so you can select a destination with a lower crime rate.
The healthcare services available in Florida are spotty, and you need to select providers and agencies carefully to find good service. Most hospitals have low ratings but there are some that rank higher and are more reliable – just be sure to do your research before choosing your preferred providers.
High Cost of Living
While housing is more affordable in Florida the general cost of living in Florida is higher than in some other states. Compared to all of the other perks Florida boasts with, this might not be such a major deciding factor, but should be mentioned nonetheless.
The Pros of Living in Florida
Growing Produce at Home
The sunny weather that shines down on Florida year-round makes for the ideal conditions to grow your own fruit and vegetables at home. This makes a healthy lifestyle and organic eating much easier in Florida than in some other parts of the country.
Stunning Fauna and Flora
Florida is home to some truly amazing animals, including the West Indian manatees and the alligators of the Everglades. There are also around 500 non-native species in the area that add to Florida’s exotic reputation.
More than half of the land area of Florida comprises of forest that includes around 3,000 different wildflower species.
Fun on the Water
Life among Florida’s world-class beaches is one thing, but permanently living in Florida gives residents access to much more than a simple day at the beach. Kayaking, snorkeling, canoeing, surging, diving, scuba diving, and sailing are all popular pass times on Florida beaches. Florida offers many opportunities to enjoy in terms of the infrastructure and natural resources associated with watersports.
Florida is also home to the only living coral reef in mainland US, and the third-largest globally. It spans around 350 miles.
There’s Always Something Fun to do
Living in Florida will naturally involve frequent trips to the beach practically year-round. There are also several national parks with rivers, lakes, and springs, where you can go canoeing, swimming, fishing, and hiking.
If you’re looking for a few more reasons to live in Florida then just consider the fantastic amusement parks and theme parks in the state. For example Sea World, LEGO Land, Busch Gardens, Universal Studios, and Disney World.
The abundance of fun theme parks is a clear indication that Florida is also a great place to raise your children.
The Sports Culture
There is a major sports culture in Florida. There is always at least one Florida team that plays in the highest national league which makes moving to Florida a matter of price for some.
Only some of the national teams include the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Rays, the Dolphins, Miami Marlins, Orlando City SC, Florida Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Orlando Magic, and Miami Heat.
As you can see, Florida has three professional football teams and more golf courses than most other states, and these are only a few reasons to consider moving to Florida. Furthermore, Palm Beach county is the state’s golf capital, and you can probably find a golf course in most counties in Florida.
Access to the Beach
We cannot consider the pros and cons of living in Florida without paying homage to the impressive coastline which is the most expansive in mainland US. You can find some of the very best beaches right here in the US, specifically in Florida.
Florida is home to both the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Ocean. Only some of the fantastic beaches in Florida include Clearwater beach, Miami beach, and Pensacola beach.
Great Job Opportunities
Florida has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, which is a strong indicator of a healthy job market. Living in Florida also provides great opportunities for job growth as Florida is known to have a fast job growth rate.
A significant reason for the strong local job market is the robust economy. Florida’s economy is stronger and more robust than most other US states.
Housing costs in Florida are below the national average which makes moving to Florida an easy step to take. That being said, however, in recent years there has been some growth in Florida house prices. While still low, they are catching up steadily. If you do plan on moving to Florida now is the best time to do it while home prices are appreciating.
Florida is Diverse
Florida has a very mixed population and sees a lot of residents coming from neighboring countries. This means that living in Florida ensures exposure to a mixed population anywhere in the state. From South Florida to the East Coast.
Florida is a Coveted Vacation Destination
Tourism in the state of Florida is one of the major state income sources as an average of 110 million tourists are expected to visit Florida each year. During tourist seasons you can expect crowded beaches, but the bustling tourism industry is great for the local economy and provides a great opportunity for meeting new people and making some extra money from the tourist industry.
There are a lot of people moving to Florida because of the weather. Winters are mild and despite the heat in summer, people love the beach and most of the state is air-conditioned. That being said the weather in Florida encompassed both the positives and negatives of moving to Florida because winters are fantastic, but summers can be dangerous if you do not take precautions. Especially Southern Florida and below have beach weather year-round.
Florida does not have state income tax. So living in Florida means that you pay no state income taxes so a larger percentage of your paycheck goes home with you. The robust economy is a protective factor for these tax benefits. You will still pay your federal taxes and a high-gallon gas tax. However, these tax arrangements make it easier to save money when living in Florida.
Pros and Cons of Living in Florida FAQ
Is Florida a tax-friendly state?
Living in Florida provides a number of friendly tax arrangements meaning that residents take home a higher overall percentage of their salary. Furthermore, property taxes are quite low and the sales tax rate is also not particularly high.
What are the top industries in Florida?
The healthcare industry in Florida is quite extensive. Due to the aging population, there are a great many healthcare facilities, including many clinics and hospitals that need staff. As we have mentioned, insurance is also quite expensive in the state, and is absolutely essential, so finance and insurance companies are quite popular in Florida.
Because property prices are so good and Florida has so much to offer, many people are looking to purchase property close to the tourist attractions and beautiful beaches in Florida’s warm weather. This means that the real estate market is substantial.
The manufacturing sector in Florida is extensive. There are also several military bases and a booming aerospace industry. Due to the favorable climate and warm weather the agriculture industry in Florida is also strong. Popular crops include sugarcane, strawberries, tomatoes, and oranges.
Lastly, the tourism industry is extremely strong. Places like Key West, Fort Myers, Miami Dade county, the Florida panhandle, and Miami beach are popular destinations, as are the many theme parks in the state and the beautiful beaches. Florida is also home to the nation’s oldest city.
What is the cost of living in Florida?
The general cost of living in Florida is a little bit higher than the national average due to the income tax situation, but still lower than some states. Also, the cost of living will differ a lot depending on where you end up living in Florida.
Coastal areas like Tampa, Sarasota, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami are far more expensive than central cities like Gainesville and Ocala.
Florida has several nicknames related specifically to the pros and cons of living in Florida. The Sunshine State, its official nickname, refers to the warm weather and beach life culture of Florida. A great many people will know Florida as the Sunshine State. The Orange State refers to its major orange production history. The Alligator State refers specifically to the many many alligators that call Florida home.
What are people who live in the Sunshine State called?
Florida residents are known as Floridians.
What are the best cities in Florida?
There are many pros and cons of living in Florida that have been discussed here, but where in the state you choose to live will impact which part of these pros and cons you come into contact with most often. When looking specifically at the cities we can say the following:
- Tallahassee is the capital city. Higher Education Institutions and government agencies can be found here. Despite being a city there are many outdoor recreation options available to residents and several beautiful parks.
- Gainesville is in central Florida towards the north and has a strong music and arts scene due to the fact that the University of Florida makes its home here.
- Orlandois where you will find most of the attractions and theme parks that Florida is famous for. It attracts many tourists and local families alike.
- Tampa is on Florida’s west coast and also boasts a glorious art scene, diverse population, and beautiful beaches.
- Miami is Florida’s most famous city and attracts a great many tourists and locals due to its vibrant nightlight, beautiful beaches, and diverse culture.