If you’re thinking about moving to Florida, buying a vacation home, or even just going on a trip there as a tourist, the sunshine state certainly has a lot to offer. But how suitable is it for your needs? Here we take a look at some of the pros and cons of the 22nd largest, 3rd most populous state in the US.
The Pros of Living in Florida
1.) You can’t beat the weather. Florida is called the sunshine state for a reason, and you’ll get some of the best winter weather there. It’s one of the reasons why Florida is the most popular tourist destination for Americans. The south of Florida has a tropical climate: one of only two areas of the US (the other is Hawaii) with that kind of climate.
2.) The coastlines are never-ending. Florida, being two-thirds a peninsula, has the longest coastline of any of the states, and the weather means water sports are a possibility all year round. Whether you’re into surfing, yachting, wakeboarding, or even diving (Florida has a living coral reef), you’ll be in your element in the state.
3.) Hundreds of parks and reserves. Florida has many areas of outstanding natural beauty and biodiversity that are protected. The Everglades national park in the south has alligators, crocodiles, flamingos, panthers, dolphins, and manatees.
4.) The fourth-largest economy in the US. Florida has the fourth-largest economy of any US state, and if Florida were its own country, it would have the world’s 16th largest economy. The main sectors which provide the state’s income are tourism, finance, insurance, real estate, rental, and leasing.
5.) It’s a melting pot of different cultures. Being surrounded by the ocean has meant Florida has had many arrivals over the years. Spanish is widely spoken in the large expatriate Cuban community, but many other communities from the Caribbean have sprung up there too.
6.) Theme parks galore. Perhaps the most famous theme parks are Disney World and SeaWorld, both located in Orlando. That’s not forgetting Universal Studios either. If you have children to keep entertained, Orlando might be the right choice for you.
7.) Lower taxes than most other states. Amazingly, Florida has no state income tax. That, combined with robust protection of personal property and wealth, means it’s a beautiful place to retire. The only thing you’ll worry about is paying a federal income tax.
The Cons of Living in Florida
1.) Housing is expensive. Because so many people want to retire to Florida or have a second vacation home there, house prices are relatively expensive. The average home in the sunshine state costs around $230,000, which is about $30,000 more than the national average.
2.) The average wages are low. The average salary for a person living in Florida is around $47,000. That’s the 26th best salary out of the 50 states. Many people who move to Florida complain of being paid a lot less for the same job than they were paid before.
3.) The heat can be oppressive. While it might be fun to try a week or two in the Florida heat if you’re on vacation, actually living there is a different matter. That kind of humidity means there’s no respite, not even in the shade. Air conditioning is indispensable to live comfortably, and that means high electricity bills.
4.) The climate means big bugs. Roaches and fruit flies are a particular nuisance. They are also huge! You need to be extremely clean and careful when dealing with or to pack food, or you’ll have a lot of uninvited guests for dinner. There are also snakes, poisonous spiders, and scorpions to deal with, but perhaps the worst and most consistent annoyance of all are the mosquitoes.
5.) Florida is dangerous in hurricane season. During hurricane season, Florida is often struck by extreme weather, and head-on by a hurricane. Being a state that is mainly within twelve feet of sea level, most of the coastline is vulnerable to flooding and the rising sea levels that tropical storms bring. Insurance on your home on the Florida coastline is likely to be sky-high. This is not to mention the risk posed by climate change over the next century.
6.) An older population. It might sound harsh, but one common complaint for young people living in Florida is that it’s full of too many older people who have retired there. Some would say that has a direct correlation on the cost of housing, and also on the notoriously dangerous driving statistics in Florida.
7.) Comparatively high crime rate. It all depends on which area you chose to or can afford to live in, but Florida has a relatively high crime rate when compared to other states.