Why Do People Move to – and Leave – Fla.?
Florida Realtors economist: More people still move into the Sunshine State than leave it, and United Van Lines’ analysis of its customers unveils some of their motives.
ORLANDO, Fla – What goes up must come down, but what goes in doesn’t always go out – or at least that’s true for Florida’s shipments, according to the United Van Lines 2022 National Mover Study.
Florida is an “inbound state” for residents, classified as having more than 55% of its shipments headed into the state versus leaving it. Other full-service van lines and U-Haul agree with this label. Movers headed to Florida using United Van Lines, though, tend to be older, wealthier and relocating for retirement.
Nonetheless, the movement goes both ways. And there are differences in the breakdowns of shipments by age, income and the reason for moving when comparing those headed inbound and outbound.
Reason for moving
In-migration typically demonstrates a desirable location and healthy economy. United Van Lines states the top two reasons for interstate moves are “New Job” or “Company Transfer” followed closely by “Closer to Family.”
But that’s not the case for Florida.
In the 2022 study, 38% of United Van Lines movers to Florida relocated for retirement. The second highest reason? Lifestyle change at 28%. These were the top two reasons in 2021 as well.
On the other hand, those leaving Florida are motivated by the usual main drivers, moving for family (46%) and new jobs (28%).
A grain of salt may be required when considering age and income since the share of movers using a full-service van line may not be in proportion to all movers. Think about it: Which consumers are more likely to afford and require full service? Nonetheless, let’s explore if there’s a difference between moving inbound and outbound.
Age of movers
Over 69% of United Van Lines’ movers headed to Florida are older than 55, and nearly 39% are 65 or older. Yes, plenty of baby boomers are headed to Florida, but other generations are moving in as well.
Headed out, approximately two in three (66%) were older than 55. So, while those with more revolutions under their belt are moving in, some are also moving out.
An article in the Washington Post reminds readers that millennials aren’t kids or 20-somethings from the last decade; they’re now those in the 30-something category. Despite a lower percentage of inbound (10.18%) compared to outbound (11.58%) for those aged 35 to 44, using the shipment counts in each direction reveals that the amount headed in is higher than those leaving.
While United Van Lines highlights the movement of retirees to Florida, 30-somethings, those younger and older and anywhere in between, have contributed to Florida’s population growth.
Nearly half (48%) of United Van Line movers coming into Florida reported an income of $150,000 or more. Of those headed out of the state, 37% said the same.
More movers with an income under $75,000 – measured by both percentage and number – headed out of Florida than arrived to the state via United Van Lines.
There is an obvious appeal of higher incomes headed to the state. Yet to continue its reputation as a low-cost-of-living state full of economic opportunities, warm weather and beautiful beaches, Florida must plan for movers of all types.
It’s easy to understand the motivation of movers headed in. Job opportunities, housing affordability, and interest rates will impact how many find moving to Florida feasible in 2023. And no matter the movement direction, Realtors can support buyers and sellers with their local market expertise.
Erica Plemmons is an economist and Florida Realtors Director of Housing Statistics
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