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The Florida Exodus: Why Thousands Are Leaving The Sunshine State

By CM Chaney · April 2, 2024

In recent years, Florida has been a magnet for thousands of people seeking a change of pace, drawn by the promise of sunny weather, no income tax, and lower living costs.

However, the reality has proven to be far from the idyllic paradise many envisioned. According to census data cited by NBC News, more than 700,000 people moved to Florida in 2022, including 90,000 from New York state alone.

But nearly 500,000 gave up on the Sunshine State and left in the same year, disillusioned by the relentless heat, damaging hurricanes, and dangerous wildlife, according to NBC News.  Wikimedia/Tony Webster

New Yorker Louis Rotkowitz, a physician who lasted two years in Florida, shared his experience.

"Like every good New Yorker, this is where you want to go," he told NBC News. "It's a complete fallacy."

Despite landing a job as an emergency care doctor and his wife becoming a teacher, Rotkowitz found that they were barely making ends meet and had zero quality of life.

He also expressed concerns about the state's gun laws, stating, "Everyone is walking around with guns there. I consider myself a conservative guy, but if you want to carry a gun, you should be licensed — there should be some sort of process."  seeetz/Unsplash

Jodi Cummins, who moved from Connecticut to the Palm Beach area in 2021, echoed Rotkowitz's sentiments.

"It wasn't the utopia on any level that I thought it would be," she told NBC News.

Cummins struggled with the oppressive heat, difficulty making friends, and the high cost of living.

"I didn't expect it to be literally 100 degrees at night. It was incredibly difficult to make friends, and it was expensive, very expensive," she added.  Josh Duke/Unsplash

The high costs of homeowners and car insurance in Florida have also contributed to the disillusionment of many transplants.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, homeowners insurance rates in Florida spiked 42% last year to an average of $6,000 a year, while car insurance is more than 50% higher than the national average.

Additionally, Florida is among the more expensive states to buy a home, with prices up 60% since 2020 to an average of $388,500, according to Zillow.  Tierra Mallorca/Unsplash

Barb Carter, who decided to head back to Kansas after a year of living in Florida, cited an armadillo infestation that caused $9,000 in damages, Hurricane Ian destroying her roof on her 62nd birthday, and difficulty finding a surgeon to remove a tumor from her liver as reasons for her departure.

As more and more transplants share their experiences, it becomes clear that the grass is not always greener in Florida. The state's allure, once so strong, is fading for many who have faced the harsh realities of life in the Sunshine State.  Wikimedia