Why are more people moving to Florida from New York?

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The COVID-19 pandemic has turned many of the things that used to make big cities great—public transit, sports teams, bustling restaurants—into things we have been avoiding.

Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are reporting that New Yorkers are leaving in droves, and Bloomberg reports that nearly 300 people are abandoning New York City every day, with many coming to Florida cities like St. Petersburg.

And while many of these new Floridians are coming from New York, St. Petersburg is also seeing an influx of people moving from other bigger cities like Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Why are more people moving to Florida?

So why are these urbanites interested in St. Petersburg? There are many reasons, but among the biggest are a lower cost of living, beautiful beaches, outdoor recreation options and a bustling arts and cultural scene.

As a result of the pandemic, many people are looking for places to live that allow them to have more space, fueling what some are calling a new suburban boom. New York’s COVID-19 numbers are down from crisis levels, but real estate and moving company data show that many New Yorkers are still ready to leave the Big Apple. In fact, the number of people leaving New York this year is already nearly double the number who left last year.

Wanting to avoid crowds and have space to work/learn from home in the age of COVID-19, New Yorkers especially are looking to move to smaller cities. They want more space, but they don’t want to sacrifice their quality of life. They’re finding attractive options in such places as North Carolina, Oregon, and, increasingly, Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Moving to Florida:

The Gulf Coast of Florida used to be known as a haven for transplants from the Midwest, while the state’s Atlantic Coast – Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami, in particular – was seen as the popular place for relocating Northeasterners.

In 2020, though, is that all changing? About 950 people, on average, move to Florida each day, according to estimates from the U.S. Census reported in the ISG World Miami 2020 Report. And consider that about 1 in 5 New Yorkers who moved away in the past decade moved to Florida.

In turn, as folks spread out of metropolitan areas and millennials flee higher housing prices, cities like St. Petersburg are thriving. St. Pete’s population has grown almost 5 percent in five years, and its median household income is rising, too. In St. Pete, newcomers find new restaurants opening all the time (even during the pandemic), a theatre scene that attracts top talent but costs much less for theatregoers to attend, and a younger population that is educated and successful. The old trope of St. Petersburg being “God’s waiting room” is long dead, as the average age of the city’s residents is now 41.2, according to data released at the beginning of 2020.

St. Pete:

As you walk around St. Petersburg, it’s clear there is a New York presence. You can’t throw a seashell without hitting someone in a Yankees cap (though we wouldn’t recommend it). Homesick for pizza? There are at least a dozen New York style pizza shops in St. Pete, including Tony’s and Joey Brooklyn’s, which are both downtown. If you’re putting together a cheese plate or craving a knish, you should stop by Brooklyn South Cheese.

New York and St. Petersburg are also now linked in a more meaningful way. For example, during the pandemic, after the first wave of cases hit New York hard and the city bounced back, NYC and St. Pete formed a partnership. New York sent a team to help set up testing sites, stocked the sites with gowns, gloves, masks, and face shields, and arranged for nurses based in New York to come to St. Petersburg to help out “temporarily.” Who knows—they might just find that they like it here too much to leave.

Above all, contact us if you want to learn more about The Julia. 

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