Your Guide to Moving to Florida

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With mild winters, a strong economy, and no personal income tax, Florida has become one of the most popular US states to move to in recent years. If you’re considering moving to Florida, here’s what you need to know. 
Florida became the 27th state in 1845, and ever since it’s been known for its natural beauty and spirit of excitement. Part tropical paradise, part theme park, the Sunshine State is a place like no other—and it might just be the ideal next home for you. 
If you’re weighing the possibility of moving to Florida, home and car insurance comparison super app Jerry is the expert companion you need along the ride. In this article, we’ll run through some essential Florida facts, including the pros and cons of moving to the Sunshine State, and give you a moving checklist to help you settle into your new state with grace! 
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What you need to know before moving to Florida

Whether it’s Disney World, the Miami Heat, or good old oranges, Florida has something for just about everyone—but is it the right state for you? Here’s what you need to know about the Sunshine State if you’re thinking of making it your new home. 

It’s one of the most diverse states in the country

Florida might be most famous for its generational diversity, with over 20% of the population over age 65. But it’s also home to the largest Latino population in the eastern United States, including about 80% of Cuban Americans. If you’re looking for a place to live where you’ll be around multiple cultures and people with different life stories, Florida might be the right place for you. 

Economic opportunities are through the roof

Florida has the nation’s fourth-largest economy, and the state’s rapid population growth only adds to the spark. The five biggest jobs sectors in Florida are: 
  • Tourism: From Walt Disney World and countless amusement parks to 175 state parks, tourism jobs are among the most readily available to new Floridians. 
  • Agriculture: Florida is the biggest agricultural center in the Southeast and the nation’s leading producer of citrus fruit. 
  • Phosphate mining: Florida is home to two of the country’s 10 phosphate mines, which produce essential components for agricultural fertilizer. 
  • Aerospace and defense: The John F. Kennedy Space Center is located in Florida, along with 21 military bases. Whether you’re an aerospace engineer or a military member, Florida might be your ideal home base. 
  • Government: Local, state, and federal government jobs account for about 13% of all employment in Florida. 

The schools are among the nation’s best

U.S. News ranks Florida 3rd in the nation for education based on the quality of its public and private school systems. The Sunshine State ranks #1 for higher education, with the University of Florida in Gainesville and Tallahassee’s Florida State University topping the list of best colleges. When it comes to K-12 education, Florida’s score dips slightly, but it’s still in the top 20 at #16. 

The cost of living is close to the national average

Florida’s cost of living is comparable to other places in the United States. According to BestPlaces, Florida’s slightly more expensive than the national average with a cost of living index of 102.8—but U.S. News estimates the Florida cost of living at 94.3, notably lower than the average. 
Of course, where you live in Florida matters. For instance, Miami-Dade County in South Florida has a cost of living index of 118.9, while the index in north-central Madison County is just 82.1. 

No personal income tax

That’s right—Florida is one of just nine states that don't charge any personal income tax. On top of that, it’s got a fairly low sales tax at 6%. Florida’s gas tax is also among the lowest in the country at just 42.29 cents per gallon. Low tax rates contribute to the affordable cost of living in Florida. 

It’s not all sunshine

Florida’s known as the “Sunshine State,” but it actually experiences a notable rainy season from May to October each year. 
That rainy season, which spans the Florida summer months, is also the hottest time of year, with average temperatures in the mid-80s and highs up to a record of 109 degrees Fahrenheit! On the other hand, Florida is famous for its mild winters, with average lows ranging from about 45 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit depending on how far south you go.
Those weather extremes are more pronounced if you live south of Lake Okeechobee in Florida’s true tropical climate. But no matter where you live in Florida, you can expect some long, muggy summers—and don’t forget that hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30! 

It’s a bit of a political melting pot

Whenever election season rolls around, you’re sure to hear about Florida, since it’s known as a swing state and a frequent elector predictor. Whichever way Florida swings, the nation is expected to swing in the same direction—and it’s sometimes a surprise! 
In recent years, the I-4 corridor in Central Florida has drawn attention for its complex and shifting political makeup
In general, the urban areas of Central Florida tend to lean left in contrast to the more conservative northern Panhandle. But nothing’s hard and fast in Florida politics: wherever you go, you’re likely to find people in the same part of the political spectrum, along with a healthy crop of people who disagree with you. 
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Why are people moving to Florida?

As of 2021, more people are moving to Florida than to any other state. In fact, census data indicates that about 1,000 people move to Florida every day! 
What’s bringing so many new residents to the Sunshine State—and should you be one of them? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of moving to Florida, along with a few of the downsides of relocating. 

Advantages of moving to Florida

  • Reasonable cost of living: Florida’s major cities, like Miami and Orlando, drive up the state’s average cost of living to around the national average—but in other parts of the state, costs are quite affordable.
  • Incredible wildlife: From panthers and pelicans to spoonbills and sharks, Florida’s home to tons of beautiful animals you won’t see anywhere else in the country. 
  • Excellent job opportunities: Florida’s booming economy has a job for almost everyone. 
  • Tons of beaches: Sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, Florida’s 1,000+ miles of coastline boast nearly 200 beaches—so you’re never far from the sun and the sand. 
  • Breathtaking natural beauty: It’s not just the beaches—Florida’s got rainforests, limestone bluffs, waterfalls, and the only living coral reef in the US
  • No personal income tax: A major draw of Florida is its lack of personal income tax, which makes the Sunshine State more affordable than some of its other Southern neighbors. 
  • Mild winters: If you’re looking for a tropical climate within US borders, look no further. Anyone who can brave a swampy Florida summer will be rewarded on the other side with some of the country’s warmest winters. 

Challenges of moving to Florida

Key Takeaway If you’re comfortable with hot summers and intense weather patterns, Florida offers a low cost of living, great job opportunities, and no personal income tax. 

Moving to Florida checklist

Maybe you’re just dreaming about moving to Florida—maybe you’re farther along in the process, and you need a game plan. If you’re getting ready to move to Florida, here are the essential steps you need to take. 

Find a place

Do you have your heart set on a particular city—or maybe just a region that’s calling to you? Tools like Neighborhood Scout can help you settle on the perfect place for your new adventure. 
Once you’ve narrowed it down and found your new home, you’re ready to move! Pack your things and find a great professional moving company (or a moving container company, if you’re going DIY). If you’re moving from the other end of the country, you may want to ship your car rather than driving yourself the full distance. 

Change your address and set up utilities

While you’re settling into your new Florida abode, make sure to update your mailing address with the post office (and change any standing subscriptions!). You’ll also need to be in touch with the utility company in your new place of residence to make sure that any essentials like heat, water, trash removal, and internet are set up. 

Get a Florida driver’s license and register your car

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) requires all new Florida residents to get a valid Florida driver’s license within 30 days of establishing residency. You’ll also need to make sure you’ve got car insurance that meets state requirements from a provider licensed to sell insurance in Florida (more on that later!) 
Before you get your Florida license, you’ll need to transfer your car’s title and registration within 10 days of establishing residency. Follow the FLHSMV’s instructions for new residents to update all your driving documents. 

How to update your insurance when you move to Florida

If you’ve just bought a new house in Florida, it’s time to buy a homeowner’s insurance policy. While it’s not required by law, it will likely be required by your mortgage lender, and it’s the best way to protect your home and its contents.
You’ll also need to make sure that your car insurance covers you in your new residence—and be sure to notify your provider within 30 to 90 days of the move
If you need new car insurance and a homeowners policy, download the Jerry app to find the lowest rate on each policy, whether you bundle or not. In the middle of a hectic move, the last thing you need is to waste time researching insurance companies—that’s why Jerry exists, to take the work of comparison shopping off your plate and streamline the process with intuitive expert help. 
The best part? Jerry users save an average of $887 a year on car insurance alone. With Florida’s high insurance costs, that’s the good news you need to welcome you home to the Sunshine State. 
Jerry handles everything from finding quotes to signing on new policies right in the app. No more filling out hundreds of forms! Thank you, Jerry, for helping my move to a new state feel hassle-free.” —Dolores T. 
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FAQs

It depends on what your priorities are. If you’re looking for a home with mild winters, hot summers, a reasonably low cost of living, lots of jobs, and plenty of beaches and theme parks, Florida is probably your ideal home. But if just one of those factors is important to you, or if you’re uncomfortable with extreme heat and humidity, you may need to compare some other places.
There are a few parts of Florida you may want to avoid if you’re concerned with budget, safety, or heat. Palm Beach is the most expensive city in Florida, with an average home price of $1.24 million. Florida City has some of the highest rates of property crime and violent crime—residents have a 1 in 12.6 chance of becoming the victim of a theft, burglary, or auto theft. And Fort Myers, where nearly 100 days a year break 90 degrees on the Fahrenheit scale, is the hottest of the hot.

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