FLORIDA — Hundreds of thousands of new residents have moved to the Sunshine State over the last two years. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis called it “The Great American Exodus”. Like a contemporary reversal of the gold rush, people are leaving the West Coast in droves with their sights set on the nation’s southernmost state. But it’s not just California; people from New York, Pennsylvania and Illinois are also moving to Florida in record numbers.
It’s not the chance of striking gold and getting rich overnight that’s spurring Americans to venture southeast, nor does Florida’s iconic warm weather appear to be the main attraction. Rather, the state’s policies seem to be the primary draw for people from all over the country – most prominently, those leaving Democrat jurisdictions.
According to U.S. Census data, Florida saw the sharpest rise of all 50 states in net migration from 2020 to 2021, adding 259,000 residents. During the same time period, Los Angeles County and New York County lost 179,757 and 113,642 residents, respectively. The influx to Florida has continued in 2022, though official data isn’t yet available.
A DIFFERENT LIFESTYLE
Florida, with its constitutionalist governor Ron DeSantis, offers a different lifestyle that’s more compatible with traditional American values: No mask mandates, no infringement threats on the second amendment, no vaccination requirements – and sexualized gender discussions in early elementary school are banned by Florida law.
Although companies like Blackstone, Zumper and Goldman Sachs decided to move their headquarters to the state, and music streaming giant Spotify leased a 20,000 square foot office in Miami – moving to Florida also seems to be of interest for those not drawing big salaries and relocation packages from finance and tech companies. Google search suggestions for the phrase “move to Florida” includes “move to Florida with no money” among the top ten results.
Voter registration data from the Florida Department of State indicate that new Floridians lean to the right on the political spectrum. From the beginning of 2019 to this June, active voter registrations show a growth of more than 395,000 Republicans, while Democrat voter registrations dwindled by over 30,000. The latest numbers, from June 30 of this year, show 5,157,343 registered Republicans compared to 4,955,022 Democrats.
New voter registrations for the same time period amounted to 2,629,867, while removed active registrations totaled 937,928. The latter number not only includes voters who moved out of state; it also encompasses voters found ineligible, who either passed away or voluntarily requested to be removed from the rolls.
With 22 million residents, Florida is the third most populous state in the country. According to Rasmussen Reports, it’s also the most desirable state to live in for Americans. In their latest survey, 18 percent of American adults would rather live in Florida, compared to 11 percent for California and 10 percent for New York.