Florida may sound like the perfect state to live in, but many people have confessed their regret moving to Florida once they have settled in. If you are thinking about moving to the Sunshine State, then read more about the things people wish they knew beforehand and hear about their reasons not to live in Florida before deciding for yourself.
We all know Florida is one of the most popular states in the U.S. and is the home to warm weather, tons of beaches, amusement parks, and good job opportunities, but the picture is not all so rosy when you live there full-time.
The issues may not all be deal breakers for you, but it is good to know about them before you set forth on a new adventure. So, let’s review some legitimate concerns on why you shouldn’t move to Florida and issues that you need to consider.
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7 Reasons Not to Move to Florida
The major concern most people have about Florida is its extreme heat and humidity that lasts for the majority of the year. Florida’s climate is classified as a “humid subtropical,” so there should be no surprise that its climate can be quite uncomfortable – it’s the same climate that allows rainforests to thrive.
For 9 months of the year, the heat can be overbearing and even during the cooler months, it may be much hotter than you think.
That also means that there are virtually no differences in seasons throughout the year, which is something many people from northern states start to miss.
But, it’s not just the hotness and mugginess that bother some people. There are also the constant rain showers during the summer that may only last 10 to 20 minutes, but will occur at least once every afternoon.
Also, there are the hurricanes. Florida’s official hurricane season lasts from June to November and can leave some devastating carnage for the unprepared.
We spoke to Emily, a 38 year-old from New York, who moved to Florida in 2018 to start a new job in the healthcare industry. “I regret moving to Florida. The constant heat never really stops and there is always the threat of a hurricane.”
“If you can’t stand the heat for too long, then don’t move to Florida. I hate living in Florida in the summer.”
2. High Cost of Living
If you are thinking about moving to Florida because it will be cheaper than your current situation, you may want to think again. More and more people are moving to Florida, making it a bit less affordable than it once was.
In fact, U.S. News and World Report’s 2021 analysis ranked Florida’s general cost of living as above average compared to the rest of the U.S. and also ranked it the 8th worst for housing affordability.
Things get worse when you look at average salaries and adjust it for cost of living. Rasmussen found that Florida is dead last in the whole nation when adjusting for wages vs. relative costs.
Look at car insurance, for example. Bankrate found that Floridians pay the highest premiums in the nation at an average of $2,587 per year compared to the national average of just $1,555. If you budget is tight, that’s a pretty significant reason why not to live in Florida.
David lived in Florida for 6 years after graduating from college, but has recently moved back to North Carolina. “Everyone told me how cheap Florida was going to be, but I didn’t really see it. There are a lot of jobs down there, but I also wasn’t making as much compared to some of my friends back home, so that was probably the biggest reason why I left Florida.”
3. Tourists and Retirees
One of the major reasons not to move to Florida is due to the fact that the state seems to cater to tourists and retirees compared to the rest of the working residents.
It’s one thing to visit Florida and have a good time at the beach or at Disneyworld and then fly home. But, it’s another when you have to live there full-time.
Since Florida is the 3rd most visited state in the U.S. , it is clear to see why the needs of tourists may take precedence compared to the rest of the population. The same can be said about Florida’s retiree population, which is the 2nd highest in the nation and makes up over 20% of the population.
These groups may receive stronger support and get more short-term benefits compared to future investments that could benefit the greater society, such as new infrastructure, entertainment, or education.
It also causes other issues like extra traffic during peak seasons. Tourists would crowd the streets and highways while visiting theme parks and beaches during the summer, while retirees and snowbirds may cause the same increases during the winter months.
4. Excessive Sprawl
Another reason why you shouldn’t move to Florida? The extreme suburban sprawl that is taking over almost every community.
As more people move to Florida, both urban and suburban areas have needed to expand outwards. But, this growth has usually been unmanaged with lower density and a greater reliance on cars for transportation.
This negative type of development is called urban sprawl and the potential consequences are longer distances between home, work, and school, which could also create more traffic and air pollution.
Since these cities are designed with cars in mind, there are fewer options for public transportation and general walkability around town as well.
That also means that you most likely need a car, which adds to your overall cost of living and something to consider on why not to live in Florida.
5. Bugs and Insects
There are many annoying bugs that show up everywhere in Florida. Many are harmless, but some can bite and overall, they can make your life a nightmare. They will show up whether you are outside or inside at home and can also come in large swarms.
Here is a list of some of the worse bugs and insects in Florida:
- Red fire ants
- Palmetto bugs
- Florida carpenter ants
- Wolf spiders
- Deer flies
Diane and her husband Mark moved from Ohio to Sarasota for their retirement in 2019. “Our biggest regret moving to Florida is not knowing how many bugs there really are. ”
“We have to pay for pest control every year and it still doesn’t get rid of all of them. I hate living in Florida when it is mosquito season.”
Added Stefanie, a 19-year old student at Florida State University who moved from Tennessee, “For college, I moved to Florida and I hate it. There are so many more bugs here than anywhere else I’ve ever lived. It’s really more than you think.”
These pesky critters alone may be one of the top reasons not to move to Florida.
6. Limited Arts and Culture
Florida is not well-known for having an extensive arts community and many cities have a limited arts and culture scene. There are some nice museums and galleries in the larger cities, but it is nowhere near the level of places like New York or Chicago.
If you are happy with just going to the beach and the theme parks, then you should have no problem.
But, if you are expecting world-class options and a thriving community for theater, music, or ballet, then don’t move to Florida and consider some other states with bigger cities.
7. Global Warming and Rising Sea Levels
This last point may not be causing people to regret moving to Florida just yet, but it can be added to the list of reasons not to move to Florida for the long-term.
A new study done in October 2020 suggests that rising sea levels may threaten the value of homes near the water. They found that home prices in the most vulnerable coastal areas of Florida have declined 5% to 10% compared to houses in lower risk areas in the state.
Of course, there are more than just financial impacts that come with global warming.
There could be more extreme weather – more hurricanes, more intense thunderstorms, and a hotter climate overall (to add to the already sweltering weather).
Patricia, a 46-year old lifelong resident of Miami, recently moved away and said, “I was scared that the value of my house was going to go down so I moved to Nashville. The constant threat of hurricanes and higher waters were the main reasons why I left Florida.”
Summary – Reasons Not to Move to Florida
Florida is ultimately a great place to live for many people, but there are certain aspects that everyone should be aware of before making the choice to move. These reasons not to live in Florida should be weighed against all the benefits so you don’t end up saying “I hate living in Florida” once you get there.
If you can handle the weather and are able to find a good job in an affordable city or town, then you may enjoy living in Florida. After all, the biggest regret may be not trying at all. But, don’t discount all of the stories above and their experiences and regret moving to Florida.
You should carefully evaluate the question of why you shouldn’t move to Florida with all of these points in mind, but also realize that there is a lot of good things the state has to offer.
Be sure to check out our summary of the 16 best places to live in Florida if you want to learn more.