20 Reasons Not to Move to Florida
Why Everyone Wants to Move to Florida
Set in the southeastern United States, Florida's subtropical climate draws millions of visitors each year. It's almost never very cold, and no part of the state is too far from the beach. With its theme parks, golf courses, sunshine and exotic animals, it's no wonder that everyone wants to live in Florida!
Florida is also a hugely popular destination for retirees. It has no state income tax, a low cost of living, and its large population of retirees means that there are lots of recreational activities for seniors. It also has a huge selection of Active Adult Communities and a decent healthcare system.
How Many People Live in Florida?
According to the 2014 Census projections, Florida is the third most populous state in the United States, putting it ahead of New York but behind California and Texas. Currently, almost 21 million people live in the Sunshine State, and its annual growth rate of 1.8% is above the national average. Most of the population increase is due to people moving to Florida from other states.
Thinking of Moving to Florida? Think Again
It’s not all sunshine, seashore, and smiles. Here are 20 reasons not to move to Florida.
1. There are too many old people.
There are a lot of old people in Florida and they drive too darn slow, their blinkers on the whole time. I know this because I’m one of them. You can’t blame them too much—their hearing and vision are not as good as they used to be. However, you still have to share the road with them.
Most of Florida’s growth is due to its influx of retirees, so this problem is only going to get worse.
2. Too many tourists come to Florida.
About 100 million people visit Florida each year. That’s a lot of people. They clog the airports and roads. In Orlando, where I live, the roads near the theme parks have bumper to bumper traffic pretty much all day.
Being forced to drive at 5 mph will give you plenty of time to enjoy the sight of the tacky and garish souvenir shops and fast-food eateries that line the tourist strip. Inside the parks, everything is shiny and new and clean, and they look like a fantasy land. Outside the parks? Not so much.
3. Traffic is terrible.
In Central Florida, the main highway is I-4. It goes from Daytona Beach on the East Coast, through Orlando, and ends in Tampa on the West Coast. It is the main road to access the theme parks. Traffic is very congested, and when there is an accident (and there are plenty), traffic can come to a standstill for hours.
Traffic will be even worse as I-4 undergoes a major renovation to add additional lanes. The renovation will take six years (2015-2021).
I hear I-95, around the Miami area, is just as bad.
4. Florida has bad gun policies.
George Zimmerman, the man who was acquitted for his murder of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager, is not the only trigger-happy fool in Florida. Two other notorious cases come to mind. Curtis Reeves shot and killed an unarmed young father in a movie theater because he was texting during the previews, and Michael Dunn shot into a van full of teenagers, killing one, because they were playing their music too loud. The former received a life sentence, so you will be safe from him at least. However, Florida has a "Stand Your Gound" law, which some people interpret as a license to kill.
Florida is NRA territory. Road-rage shootings are so common that the media doesn’t even bother to report on them anymore. Florida has gun ranges where young children can shoot automatic weapons. Someone was killed recently when a nine-year-old girl was firing a UZI and lost control of the gun. Giving a UZI to a nine-year-old—what could go wrong?
In Florida, we routinely hear about someone killed by a bullet shot into the air in celebration of something or other, or of someone shot by a stray bullet in their own backyard fired by someone doing a little target practice.
5. The people of Florida make poor voting choices
The people of Florida elected Ron DeSantis as governor. Prior to that, they elected Rick Scott for governor twice. What you have to understand about Rick Scott is that before he ran for governor, he was CEO of Columbia/HCA. The company presided over the biggest Medicare fraud in history and the company had to pay a $1.7 billion fine. Rick Scott claimed he didn’t know anything about this fraud, but he had to plead the fifth about 75 times during the investigation.
If Rick Scott was CEO and didn’t know this massive fraud was going on right under his nose, he is a really poor manager. If he did know, he is a really bad criminal. Either way, is he the kind of person you would want running your state? The people of Florida said “Yes.” Do you want these people, who have such poor judgment, to be your neighbors?
6. Florida is hot!
I realize people are coming to Florida in search of a warm climate, but Florida is really, really, hot—and the humidity is high. There are only two seasons in Florida—summer and August, the latter of which lasts about 150 days.
If you like a 90-degree heat wave in December, then you will like Florida.
7. The roaches are huge.
Roaches like the hot weather just as much as humans do. They grow really, really large—about as big as your fist. OK, not that big—maybe as big as a baby’s fist, and that is still pretty big.
If you move to Florida, the first thing you need to do is sign up with a pest control company. They will come to your home on a regular basis and treat for “pests.” Fortunately, these days the pest control companies use “chemical barriers” that they apply to the outside of your home. They are not 100% effective, but when they fail, the pest control company should provide additional treatments at no additional cost—make sure that they do.
8. Sharknado would probably happen in Florida.
Volusia County in Florida is the shark-bite capital of the world. There are always lots of people in the water and lots of the type of fish that sharks like to eat swimming around—lots of sharks mean lots of shark bites. The sharks often swim in close to shore. However, it is only 20 to 30 attacks per year and most are not fatal. So far, there have been no tornado-borne sharks. So come on in, the water is just fine!
9. You might find a bear in your garage.
Developers rule in Florida. What developers want, developers get. What developers want is more sub-divisions. As the population of Florida grows, the number of sub-divisions increases and the habitat available for wildlife decreases. Often times, homes get built too close to the bears' habitats, and these hungry bears go looking for food. People put their garbage out in unsecured trash cans, which is like putting out an “all-you-can-eat buffet” sign for the bears. These animals are big and strong, and they can break into your garage or patio.
10. You might find an alligator in your pool.
There are over a million wild alligators in Florida. These reptiles prefer freshwater habitats like swamps and marshes, but they can also be found in rivers, lakes, and other small bodies of water, like your swimming pool or retention ponds. If you live near alligator habitat, you may just find an alligator taking a dip in your pool.
11. You might find a python in your backyard.
Pythons are an invasive species in Florida, so they have no natural predators. Every year, there is the Great Burmese Python Hunt for hunters to go out and kill pythons. If you bring back the largest one, you win a cash prize.
12: Florida has hurricanes.
Hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30, although every now and then a hurricane hits outside these months.
I survived the hurricane season of 2004 when four major hurricanes hit—three of them where I live. The first and the worst was Hurricane Charley, with winds up to 150 miles an hour. I had some relatively minor damage to my house, but the worse thing was that I had no electricity for a week. It was kind of fun for the first few—kind like a camping trip—but it gets old fast.
Maybe I shouldn’t even mention the hurricanes—every place has natural disasters. The North has blizzards, and the West has earthquakes. I’d much rather mop up water than shovel snow, and I don’t much like the idea of the earth opening up.
13. The earth opens up in Florida. It is called a sinkhole.
Wait, the earth opening up? That actually happens pretty often in Florida, and it's called a sinkhole. A hole suddenly opens up in the ground, able to swallow up a car, house, or even a whole neighborhood.
A sinkhole occurs because of the Florida Aquifer, which is the source of much of Florida’s drinking water. The ground beneath Florida is composed of porous limestone which is a natural cache for rainwater. When the water level gets too low, the ground can cave in, forming a sinkhole. As the population of Florida grows, more water is taken from the Aquifer. This means more sinkholes.
14. Florida has tornadoes.
Florida has more tornadoes per square mile than any other state. However, to be fair, the tornadoes in Florida are not usually as bad as those in the Midwest. On the other hand, five times more people die from a tornado in Florida than in Kansas.
15. Florida is the lightning capital of the United States.
Sea breezes from the East and West Coasts meet in the middle of the state, causing severe thunderstorms during the summer months. They occur, on average, 100 times a year, and are often accompanied by lightning.
16. Florida is flat.
The highest elevation in Florida is 345 feet. It is called "Britton Hill.” In comparison, the Empire State Building in New York is 1,454 feet high, including the spire.
17. Florida can’t run a national election right.
In the 2000 election, Florida earned the nickname "Flori-duh,” because of the Bush-Gore presidential election recount. Years later, Florida still has election problems. In 2012, some people had to stand in line for 7 to 8 hours in order to vote.
18. Florida is not pedestrian friendly.
Pedestrian deaths are significantly higher in Florida than the national average. There are many roads without traffic lights—and even when there are lights, there are often long stretches between them. This leads to people trying to cross six lanes of traffic in the middle of the street.
Although pedestrians in Florida have the right of way, drivers don’t like to yield. If you stop for a pedestrian, the cars behind you will probably start honking their horns. Please stop anyway.
19. Many Florida public schools are not very good.
The failures of the public schools are not due to bad teachers as governors Jeb Bush and Rick Scott would have you believe. It is due to low funding and a deliberate attempt to undermine the schools. Luckily, there are some nonprofit organizations trying to combat this issue.
Also, school starts in the middle of August in Florida. Everyone knows school is not supposed to start until after Labor Day!
20. Florida’s government is rife with corruption.
It’s not just a Florida problem, but Florida under former governors Jeb Bush and Rick Scott may be among the worst.
Other Great States to Live In
Not all retirees have to move to Florida—it is not the only state with good weather, no state income tax, or a low cost of living! Do your research. There are 50 states to choose from, so you're bound to find someplace the checks all your boxes.
Here are some other great states for retirees:
South Dakota's population reports a generally high quality of life. There is plentiful nature, a low cost of living, and it's the second most tax-friendly state in the US. It's home to Mount Rushmore and is the 5th least densely populated state in the country. You'll practically have it to yourself! However, it does have harsh winters, so keep that in mind if you have an aversion to the cold.
For you nature lovers out there, Utah has four national parks and is filled with stunning landscapes. There's plenty to do, especially if you're the active type! In addition, it also boasts a low crime rate, a low cost of living, and low taxes. On the downside, however, it does get a lot snowfall in the winter.
If you're not worried about how much you pay in taxes, Idaho could be a good option. It is very affordable, safe, and has pretty good healthcare. The bad news is that it's Idaho—there's not much diversity there, and it ranks low on culture rankings.
Is Florida a Good Place to Live?
Florida has a lot to offer—the warm climate, natural beauty, theme parks, resorts, and no state income tax. Orlando, where I live, is an up and coming cosmopolitan region—it has good colleges, a thriving arts community, great museums, and fine restaurants. We even have a shiny new commuter rail line called Sun-Rail, which may help with traffic congestion on I-4.
That's why so many people want to live in Florida. It's why I'm glad I moved to Florida in 1995.
If You are Thinking of Moving to Florida...
The author of this book, Ron Stark, is a Florida real estate agent and is, himself, a "transplant" to Florida. He has helped many people make the move to Florida and also helped many others sell their Florida homes when they decided to move back home. His clients have given him a good understanding of the issues that you should consider when deciding if this move is right for you. He provides an honest look at both the pros and cons of living in Florida. I'm glad I moved to Florida over 20 years ago, but I wish I had read this book before I moved—I think I would have made different decisions about where to live, what type of house to buy, etc. His most important tip: Don't decide to move to Florida based on your experience as a vacationer in the state.
Do you want to move to Florida?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Questions & Answers
Why is Florida such a poor state, and why is the rental housing mostly only for rich people or poor people, but little to none for middle-income people?
Florida ranks 38 on the 50 stats in the U.S. for personal income. The median income was around $54,000 in 2016. Wages are low in Florida because tourism and service industries account for most of the jobs. Wages in these fields tend to be low.
Housing for middle-income people is a problem not just in Florida but just about every state. The poorest people can get subsidized housing or dilapidated housing. The richest people can get luxury homes. The people in the middle are often left out.
However, when I first moved to Florida, I found the cost of a home to be very reasonable. Of course, I moved here from the New York/New Jersey area where homes are very expensive. I guess it depends on what you are comparing it to. The median price of a home in Florida is $179,000. Depending on what county you wish to love at the median price can be from $409,000 to as little as $50,000.
Rents are above average in Florida--$1,587 for a two-bedroom apartment, $366 higher than the U.S. average.
Florida has an advantage over most other states because it has no income tax, but the lack of an income tax doesn't do yo much good if you have a very low income.
(However, Florida does have property taxes and school taxes based on the value of your home. The sales tax is 6%.)Helpful 23
What is the estimated salary I should make to purchase a home worth $200,000 to $250,000 in Florida?
The rule of thumb is that your total cost for your home (mortgage, homeowners insurance, and property tax) should be no more than 35% of your pre-tax income. The amount of income you would need for a $200,000 to $250,000 home would depend on many variables, such as the amount of the down payment, the interest rate on the mortgage, the cost of insurance, and the tax rate for property tax in the locality in which the house is situated. This applies no matter where the home is located; not just for Florida homes.
You can find mortgage calculators online. You fill in your income, and other financial information, as well as estimates of homeowners insurance and the property tax rate and the calculator, will tell you what price you can afford to pay for a home. Google "What house can I afford," and you should see a few of them.Helpful 3
Is Florida getting hotter?
The answer is "yes" according to an October 2018 article in the Orlando Sentinel: "The Natural Resources Defense Council released a study and map of the nation showing where extremely hot days — equaling the hottest 10 percent of summer days from past decades — are on the rise. Florida is among states with the biggest uptick." (https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-florida-we...
According to "The Climate Reality Project," Florida is one of the states most vulnerable to climate change. But Governor Rick Scott has ordered government agencies not to use thew words "climate change." How can you combat a threat that you are not allowed to name?
Florida is hot and it is projected to get even hotter. Increasing temperatures in the state present many challenges and public health dangers. These include an increase in harmful air pollutants, an increase in algae blooms that suffocate fish and change the ecosystems of Florida's waters, a decrease in crop productivity due to drought, and a rise in heat-related illnesses, which put the elderly, the very young, and the impoverished most at risk.Helpful 19
I'm concerned about the rising sea levels and the possible effects on Century Village in Deerfield Beach. Is it foolish to worry, or should I steer clear so I'm not underwater in five or ten years?
Deerfield Beach is in Broward County. It is a coastal area and therefore rising sea level is something you should consider if you plan to buy property near the coast.
In the past century, the sea level has risen 8 to 10 inches in South Florida. The rate of sea level rise is expected to increase due to the effects of global climate change.
Broward County is highly vulnerable to sea level rise because it is a low-lying coastal area. The low-lying areas of Broward County can experience flooding and drainage issues due to saltwater intrusion.
This is a particular threat during the summer months due to frequent thunderstorms (almost daily) and, of course, hurricanes. It is projected that Deerfield Beach could experience a one- foot sea level rise between 2040 - 2070 and a two-foot rise between 2060 – 2115. (Source: http://www.broward.org/Climate/Toolbox/Documents/R...
In Dade County, which is adjacent to Broward County, Miami and Miami Beach are already experiencing serious flooding related to sea-level rise — even when there is no rain.
Century Village Deerfield is located 3 miles from the beautiful Broward County white sand beaches.
I found an interesting map that shows what Deerfield Beach would look like with a five-foot rise in sea level. Here's a link to the map. (You will need to type in "Deerfield Beach" in the search box at the top right.)
The line on the extreme right of the map the map is a coastal highway named A1--it is underwater. The next solid line on the right side of the map is the highway named I 95. It is not underwater. Century Village is just to the left of I 95, so with even a 5-foot rise, Century Village would still be OK.
Since the projection is for only a 1-foot rise in the next 20 to 50 years, you won't be underwater if you move to Century Village Deerfield. However, I'm not sure how long the beautiful white sand beaches will still be there.Helpful 12
Is Florida also home to wildlife?
Florida has an abundance of wildlife, on land, in the waters, and in the air.
I mentioned some of the wildlife in the article: alligators, sharks, pythons, and bears.
My favorite Florida wildlife is manatees (sometimes called sea cows). I find them endearing.
Manatees are very large mammals (up to 3,500 pounds), but they are peaceable slow-moving herbivores. They are native to Florida and have been designated the official marine mammal of the state. They are an endangered species.
The official state animal is the panther (Felis concolor coryi), (also an endangered species). The official state bird is the Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos). The official state freshwater fish is the Florida Largemouth Bass (Micropterus salmoides floridanus). The official Florida saltwater fish is the Atlantic Sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus). There are other categories of official Florida animals, but these are the main ones.
You can get more information about Florida's wildlife at this website:Helpful 11
© 2015 Catherine Giordano