A lot of Americans have been to Florida at least once in their lives. Be it a family vacation or a spring break, Florida is famous as a “party state”. More than 65 million people visited Florida during the first half of 2018 alone. Also known as the Sunshine State, Florida is famous for its wonderful beaches, tropical climate, and beautiful landscapes. It is a diverse place with cities like Miami, which gives a more Caribbean vibe. On the other hand, you have cities like Tallahassee that have a more southern touch.
Tens of thousands of people are moving in and out of Florida every month. Especially after the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, people from states like New York and California are moving out in enormous numbers. This mass exodus is the result of problems like high taxes, increasing crime rates, drug problems, and homeless crises, etc. Most of these people are moving to southern states like Texas and Florida. In fact, Florida is the number one state for retirement.
Florida may be your most favorite party spot but living here permanently is a whole different scenario. A lot of people that move into Florida tend to move to other southern states or back to where they came from. So it is really important that you are aware of the pros and cons of living in Florida before making a decision.
Benefits of Living in Florida
Let us look at some of the pros of living in Florida.
Florida is known for its Caribbean-like tropical climate. From November to the end of February and even the first half of March, the weather is almost perfect. The threat of violent tornadoes, hurricanes, and thunderstorms is particularly low during these winter months.
Beautiful Landscapes and Awesome Beaches
Florida has the most number of days of sunshine than almost any other state of the country. It has 1350 miles of stunning coastline. The state’s beauty is not a secret to anyone. It is home to plenty of breathtaking beaches, coral reefs, underwater caves, and barrier islands. The wild Flowers, Rosemary, and Magnolia trees act as icing on the cake.
Lower Tax Burden
One of the main reasons for the mass exodus from cities like New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco is the huge amounts of local and state taxes imposed by the governments. Florida is a heaven compared to these states when it comes to taxes. There are no state taxes, which is awesome. As a Florida resident, you will pay the fourth-lowest taxes amongst all of the 50 states.
Diversity of Population
Diversity and inclusiveness are something that is being more and more relevant to a lot of Americans. if you are an advocate for multiculturalism, you will love Florida. Florida has the second-highest Latino population on the East Coast and one of the largest populations of African Americans. More than 25% of the population is Latinos or Hispanics, while about 17% of the population is African American. Florida is also home to the largest Cuban population outside of Cuba.
Art and Culture
Because of its incredible diversity, you can see a unique blend of different cultures in Florida. In northern parts of the state, typical southern culture can be witnessed. On the other hand, South Florida’s culture is heavily influenced by Caribbean and Latino immigrants.
Sports and Outdoor Activities
Florida offers tons of activities for everyone. Whether you are in water sports or a camping person, you can have fun in Florida. The state has teams in all major leagues with a loyal fan base. In fact, it is one of the few places in the world where you can still attend a sporting event during the pandemic. A lot of stuff is happening all the time, so you won’t get bored.
This is another perk of living in Florida. The housing is quite cheaper as compared to other states, or maybe was. The housing sector in Florida is experiencing a bomb in demand as thousands of people are moving in from the rest of the country. This has created a shift in the paradigm. It is even getting more expensive to rent in most parts of South Florida. In some areas, the rents are up by more than 10% in just a year. Despite this shift, it is still not as bad as it could have been. Analysts are forecasting that the prices will only go up in 2021, so if you are thinking of buying a house in Florida, you should probably hurry up.
If Florida was an independent country, it would have the 17th largest economy in the world. That just shows how progressive the economy is in Florida. The state has gone through multiple economic booms in the past and some people are foreseeing another one of those in the coming years.
Florida has several active industries like tourism, trade, finance, and agriculture. Its geostrategic location also plays a huge role in the busy trade and aerospace industries.
Cons of Living in Florida
Now that we have seen the positive sides of living in Florida, let us look at the other side of the picture.
You’re probably wondering why we have put this entry in both pros and cons. The thing is, the weather is really nice in the winter months, but gets quite humid and hot during the summers, to an extent where it’s annoying. The weather can turn nasty anytime during these months. There is always a risk of a natural disaster like a hurricane or a tornado. You also don’t get all Four Seasons. It is either very hot and humid or a little less hot and humid.
High Cost of Living
According to the council for community and economic research, Florida has an overall higher cost of living than most other states of the country. Almost everything costs more and the wages are lower than the other states, which is a terrible combination. The fact that there are no state taxes helps but some would say that it is not enough.
Overly Commercialized and Crowded
If you ask a South Florida resident about the things they hate the most about Florida, a lot of them would say “Tourists”. Because it is known as the go-to place for spring breakers and people looking to have fun, it gets really crowded and commercialized.
On top of being a tourist destination, there is a huge influx of people coming in from all over the country and settling in. This has affected the quality of life. You don’t always want hustle and bustle, sometimes you need peace.
High Crime Rate
Florida was ranked as the 21st most dangerous state in America. Although it is not hell on the earth, the numbers are scary. Fortunately, there are a lot of areas in Florida that have far lower crime rates than the national average.
Not-so-good Health Care
This is perhaps one of the worst things about the Sunshine State. The health care system is terrible. According to the commonwealth fund, Florida ranked 41st among 50 states in healthcare grading. It ranked 48th for access and affordability. This can be troublesome especially for retired people who have a health condition. Most of the hospitals in Florida are rated below average. There are a few areas with good hospitals though.
Great Roads, Bad Drivers
Public transport is poor in Florida, so you might have to rely on your car. The road infrastructure is great but Florida is famous for its terrible drivers. A big chunk of this problem comes from the huge number of tourists visiting every month. A lot of drivers are tourists with rented cars and sometimes alcohol in their systems.
Lots of Creepy Creatures
Bugs are everywhere in Florida. They won’t let you sit outdoors peacefully. There are lots and lots of snakes and alligators lurking around waiting for you to get close enough. You might want to think twice before jumping in a lake to swim.
The Sunshine State is also called the sinkhole capital of the United States. A major area of Florida is sitting on top of carbonate rocks such as limestone, which are quite susceptible to sinkholes. There have been incidents of massive sinkholes resulting in property loss, injuries, and even deaths. You never know if the place where you’re going to build your dream home has an enormous hole building up beneath it. To save yourself and your family, make sure you are not buying a property in an area prone to sinkholes. Click here to find out the areas of Florida more prone to sinkholes.
Florida is definitely a great place for vacations but it is not an ideal place for permanent living. There are a lot of drawbacks people tend to ignore when they are mesmerized by the sights of sunny beaches and flagrant nightlife. It is of at most important that you look at both sides of the picture and weigh the pros against the cons. Now it is up to you to make a decision that best suits you.