CBS expects the impact of polar vortex to reach $5 billion. Besides shattering records of subzero temperatures in New York, Chicago, Texas and Oklahoma, causing six and seven cold-related deaths in Indians and Illinois respectively, crippling power generation and stranding hundreds of passengers overnight on Amtrak trains, the mammoth arctic blast has taken aim at literally all US cities. Except for Florida, which received wind chill advisories and freezing overnight temperatures at the worst and enjoyed warm daytime temperatures otherwise. Relocating to Florida may seem like a good proposition right about now, as you shovel one foot of snow off your front yard or catch the sad images of packed homeless shelters on the news.
Besides the lure of Florida's humid subtropical climate and immunity to polar vortex, the state has a lot more going for it.
Why is Florida set to overtake New York in population?
Sometime this year, Florida will leap ahead of New York to become the country's third most populated state. This means almost 20 million people will call the Sunshine State their home. Analysts have identified the key reasons for this transformation. One is the availability of many low-wage jobs, which Latin American migrants, in particular have snapped up. The bustling tourism and hospitality sectors have opened up many employment opportunities, in particular for younger workers. Which works out well because Florida has the largest share of baby boomers in the country. According to a report by the U.S Census Bureau, more than 50% of arrivals in the state over the past couple of years are aged between 25 and 64 years. Interestingly, the trickle of people from New York has been steady, with an estimated 537,000 ex-New York residents relocating to Florida in 2013 alone!
Relocating to Florida? No Income Tax!
New York has a reputation as one of United States' highest taxed states. Florida doesn't have state income taxes. This alone is a strong motivator for many out-of-staters to shift base. As of 2013, the state had the seventh lowest tax collections per capita, at $1,718. Floridians do not pay inheritance tax either. As far as overall property tax (collected at the local and state levels) is concerned, Florida finds itself in the middle of the table.
Historically, as per capita tax collections and revenue from the state have been low, spending has also been kept low. However, in 2013, Governor Rick Scott introduced a $74 billion budget expanding healthcare services for people with disabilities and pay raises for state workers and teachers.
Low Cost of Living
The overall cost of living in Florida is estimated to be 4% lower than the national average. The cost of living in almost 30 other American states is higher than that of Florida. Of course, this number is dependent on the desirability factor of the particular city. So, if you plan to live in rural Florida, you can enjoy anywhere between a 15% and 20% reduction in overall living costs in comparison to the Gulf Coast. Keep in mind though that the cost of healthcare in Florida is higher than the national average, though the lower cost of taxes more than makes up for the increase. The introduction of the Affordable Healthcare Act has made high quality coverage available at competitive rates, making moving to Florida a smart choice.
Supports an active lifestyle
Sunshine, beaches and abundant green spaces – it wouldn't be wrong to call Florida a natural paradise that offers biking, fishing, watersports and golfing opportunities, to name a few. The state's limestone geology supports naturally-occurring springs, and there are quite a few fresh water springs to soak and dive in! Snorkeling, kayaking and scuba diving at Florida's coastal reefs attract locals as well as tourists in huge numbers. The state parks system consists of 160 parks scattered across thousands of acres of natural reserves, recreational spots and historic sites. When you are tired after a busy day at the beach or park, you can enjoy the water views, great music and tropical island ambiance of Florida's numerous beach bars.
Add to that the multitude of theme parks and shopping centers, and you'll understand why Floridians prefer to spend a good part of their day outdoors! It is home to some of the country's largest and best indoor and outdoor shopping malls. If you are looking for outlet malls or antique districts, Florida's got you covered too!
Depending on your circumstances, relocating to Florida may seem like a viable option if you seek a new life in a warm, cheerful state with an ethnically-diverse population and electric ambiance.