Heading South: Record Numbers of New Yorkers Continue to Move to Florida

COVID-19 sparked mass migration from blue states like California and New York into red states like Florida. Now, COVID-19 is on the wane, but a  torrent of New Yorkers continues to flow into the Sunshine State.

A total of 5,838 New Yorkersswapped their Driver’s licensees to Florida plates in August, according to a New York Post analysis of Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles data. The numbers show this is the highest recorded number of swaps for a single month.

According to that same analysis, 41,885 New Yorkers have already handed over their licenses this year after moving south. If the pace holds, it will set a new annual record.

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The same pattern holds for other blue states. New Jersey recorded 3,059 people moving to Florida in August. A new record for them. California has posted similar numbers of transfers to Florida, likely for the same reasons.

Many predicted the exodus would slow as COVID restrictions loosened, but these latest figures don’t bear that out.

Fashion designer Alvin Valley moved his primary residence to Palm Beach during the lockdowns. He told the New York Post that the migration comes from quality of life issues.

“A lot of families just began to feel like New York was becoming unlivable,” Valley said. “Especially for younger couples with kids in their 30s and 40s. They don’t want to get on the subway. It’s a safety issue, it’s a schools issue.”

Governor DeSantis has noticed the trend and has leveraged it several times to defend his policies and respond to attacks from New York and California officials. Those officials have tried to recoup their losses. New York Mayor Eric Adams has invested in digital billboards in Florida inviting citizens back, while California Governor Gavin Newsome has run ads framing California as the land of freedom.

However, some Floridians are concerned about the effect the migration may have on the policies that made Florida attractive in the first place.

But it seems that, regardless of local concerns, New Yorkers will continue taking Governor Kathy Hochul’s advice and getting out of town.

Other stories you may want to read:

Breathing Room: DeSantis plans to bus migrants to Delaware on hold as Texas takes “pressure off”


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