Paul has lived in Florida for ten years, traveled extensively and grown to love the "Sunshine State". He currently lives in Gainesville.
In this article, you will find sections relating to:
- An overview of the cost of living in Florida
- Some key cost of living facts
- Popular cities to live in
- Some affordable places to live and some expensive places to live
- Some of the positives and negatives of living in Florida
How Much Does it Cost to Live in Florida?
When it comes to cost of living, Florida is not the most affordable state to reside in. On the other hand, it's not the most pricey either. It was ranked as the 30th most affordable state in a 2018 survey by the Council for Community & Economic Research (C2ER).
The cost of living varies considerably according to the particular part of Florida that you're considering, from the super expensive to the very reasonable. Your experience will also be influenced by the place that you come from, because that's what you'll compare it to.
Though the price of groceries, utilities, and general expenses are comparable to the United States average, what makes Florida more expensive is the cost of housing—the average home costs around $230,000, whereas the median price for a U.S. home is $200,000 dollars.
The higher cost of housing is mainly due to Florida being a popular destination for celebrities, retirees, and families chasing warmth and sunshine, which increases demand. Bear in mind, though, that all prices can vary widely depending on the particular place that you're looking to live in.
Another thing to note is that the minimum wage in Florida is $8.25—far below $11.75, which is considered to be a livable wage.
Cost of Living in Florida: 5 Facts
- The median home value in Florida is $233,700, according to Zillow at the time of writing.
- Floridians have an average annual salary of $40,750, or an hourly wage of $19.59, according to On Numbers analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
- Florida is a driving state with few public transportation options.
- A study by the Commonwealth Fund found that Florida was the second most expensive state for health insurance premiums.
- Florida's energy prices are slightly above the US average. The average monthly electricity bill for a Florida resident is $126.44, based on information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Popular Places to Live in Florida
Below, in alphabetical order, is a list of some of the most popular Floridian cities to live in. Bear in mind that the sunshine state is big and varied, and there are many of other cities to consider as well the ones below; examples include Pensacola, St. Petersburg, Jacksonville, Boca Raton, and Sarasota. There are also many attractive smaller places. Make sure to do your research so that you can find the area that's right for you and your lifestyle.
Miami is likely what many people think of when they think of Florida. It has the beaches, the year-round sunshine, the social diversity, and the feel of a large, metropolitan city.
However, there are also downsides: problems with traffic congestion, higher housing costs than many other areas of the state, and people often as rude as they are in other other big cities, such as New York and Los Angeles.
Located on the west coast of Florida, Naples is one of the wealthiest cities in the country. Its desirability comes from its easy access to gorgeous beaches and the nearby Everglades National Park, as well as lots of excellent restaurants.
One of the negative sides to so much wealth is that it pushes up the cost of living, making it higher than in other parts of the state. A lot of residents are either rich or elderly, or both, so you may feel out of place if you don't fit into either of these two groups.
Orlando is a vibrant city with plenty of things to do. There are many great theme parks to visit, including Disneyworld, Seaworld, and Universal Studios. As well as the tourist experiences, there are lots of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.
There are a few downsides, however. The traffic can be terrible. It is one of Florida's most populous cities, and on top of that, Orlando is visited by around 70 million tourists each year, which can become testing, if you live there—lots of visitor traffic, as well as tourists asking for directions and advice.
Tampa is a large city with lots of job opportunities and relatively affordable housing. It also has a number of colleges, examples being the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa. There are some great beaches nearby too, including Indian Rocks Beach and St. Pete's Beach.
There are some negatives too. Wages in Tampa tend to be lower. There are is also an influx every winter from "Snowbirds," people escaping the freezing winters of northern USA and Canada, who congest the roads. Most Tampa residents rent their homes, with only a third owning them.
6 Affordable Places to Live in the Sunshine State
Generally speaking, South Florida tends to be more expensive than the central and northern areas of the state. Coastal locations with a sea breeze to break up the humidity, as well as access to beaches, can also be factors when it comes to demand for property.
Located in central Florida's Osceola County, Kissimmee is well within easy travel distance of the area's theme parks, including the Walt Disney World Resort complex.
A rapidly expanding city in Flagler County, Palm Coast has some excellent wild life trails as well as easy access to beaches.
Famous for its multitude of canals, Cape Coral is located in southwest Florida and a great place for kayaking enthusiasts and manatee watchers.
Situated on the Atlantic coast of central Florida, Palm Bay has a population of just over 100,000. It has a suburban feel, most residents own their own houses, and there are plenty of parks.
One of the best places to live in central Florida, especially for young professionals, the city has a reputation for offering a great social life, thanks to its many bars, restaurants, and coffee shops.
A vibrant college town in north central Florida with the University of Florida providing the city with a sporty, educated, artsy, and cosmopolitan vibe.
6 Expensive Places to Live in Florida
One of the less affordable suburbs of Miami, Southwest Ranches has a suburban feel and offers lots of parks. Most of the residents own their homes.
An attractive small town in Miami-Dade County, Surfside offers a family-friendly environment with easy access to Miami Beach. The town publicizes itself with the slogan “Uptown Beachtown.”
The southernmost city in the contiguous United States, Key West offers a laid back lifestyle. Certainly not cheap, this island city is where the United States meets the Caribbean.
Miami may be a popular place for people to live, but it is also expensive, due mainly due to the high house prices. Most residents of this diverse, liberal city rent their homes.
Sunny Isles Beach
Also known as SIB, the City of Sunny Isles Beach is located on a barrier island in northeast Miami-Dade County. Culturally diverse, it's also just minutes away from Bal Harbour and Aventura.
Considered by many to be one of the best places to live in Florida, Miami Beach is a great place to live for those who like an active social life, with lots of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks.
5 Positives of Living in Florida
- There is no state income tax.
- It is sunny almost every day, which is great for outdoor social events, sports, and other leisure pursuits.
- There is lots to do, including theme parks, nature trails, sailing, and swimming.
- The state has some of the best beaches in the world.
- Florida has a really mixed population, with people of diverse ages, attitudes, and backgrounds living there.
5 Negatives of Living in Florida
- Hurricanes and other extreme weather can cause disruption or worse.
- The heat and humidity can be oppressive for much of the year.
- There are lots of bugs—some of them are big and many of them bite or sting.
- The state is experiencing a population explosion, placing strains on everything from the infrastructure to natural resources, such as the water supply.
- Geologically, Florida is essentially a buildup of silt and is very flat. There are no mountains or valleys to admire, and it makes driving around the state pretty dull.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Paul Goodman
Liz Westwood from UK on July 17, 2019:
From the UK, Florida is largely viewed as a holiday state with Disney a key attraction. Although some house buying series have shown couples from the UK house-hunting in Flirida, with the climate being a key attraction. For anyone contemplating a move to Florida, your article provides interesting information.