For as long as the northeast has experienced bitterly cold winters, Florida’s year-round warm sand beaches have been the destination of choice — even if it’s just for six months each year. But as the country enters the fifth month of pandemic-level chaos, migration trends and population shifts from states in the North and Northeast to states in the South have been exacerbated. Economic depression, restrictions to social activities, and a shift to remote work are leading people to look for cheap places to live with plenty to do outside and the flexibility to work from anywhere. It’s no surprise their sights shifted to the Sunshine State.
Dating back to 1990, Florida was the top third state with the largest increase in population size. Over the next 28 years, Florida grew from a daily growth of 556 people in 1990 to the state with the highest net migration between 2017 and 2018. By 2019, the state had resumed the number 2 spot on the list of fastest-growing states, with 950 people moving to the state daily. Despite South Florida’s reputation as a cultural melting pot, attracting people from all over the country, the influx of population stems from New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts more than any other state, likely due to a mixture of climate and tax requirements.
While Florida has seen a consistent influx of new residents, with a 35-year average of 777 daily population growth, the timing and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic have only increased the current. In March and April of 2020, the country rushed into efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Travel was halted, businesses shut their doors, and millions of people were furloughed or laid off. Economic stress became the new pandemic, and it all hit when Americans were already preparing for financial strain: tax season. In an effort to find shelter from COVID-19, the impending doom of winter stuck indoors, and high tax rates, Americans began fleeing their homes and more than ever before.
Warm Weather Brings Northerners
Every year, as Northern states and Canada experience brutal winters, Florida’s coastlines become packed with snowbirds looking to escape the cold. But with COVID-19 travel restrictions in place, the snowbird season of 2020 seemed to be put on pause. However, as Florida enters phase 3 of reopening and colder weather begins to seep into the North, snowbirds are becoming stayers. With no definite end in sight and the beginning of flu season upon us, residents of Northern states are preparing for another round of quarantine, hoping to spend it in a state with nicer weather this time around. Since the beginning of the pandemic, home sales in some parts of Florida have more than doubled, with 45% of migrants making a move to South Florida particularly.
Tax Incentives Worth Moving For
Residents living in states in the North and Northeast have more than snow to worry about; they also happen to get hit the hardest by taxes: New York has by far the highest tax burden by state, followed by North Dakota, Hawaii, and Vermont. Maine, New Jersey, and Connecticut join the top 10 states with the highest tax burdens, while Florida comes in as the state with the third-lowest tax burden across the country. With no state income or estate tax and homestead exemptions of up to $50,000, as well as a cap of 3% per year on home assessments, Florida’s warmth isn’t the only attractive climate. While these tax incentives are here year-round, they are particularly appealing this year as Americans face the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Moving to a New Way of Working
The climate and tax incentives of Florida are so attractive, in fact, that they have fueled 2020 moving trends in addition to decreasing number of cases. While there is no telling how the population increase will impact COVID-19 cases, deaths, or the fluctuating restrictions that come with the pandemic, migrants may bring some positivity with them. The increase in population, coupled with Florida’s reopening, may bring the unemployment rate back down to pre-pandemic levels. Plus, the uptick of employees working remotely means a boom is coming for shared, flexible, and modern workspaces.
As millions of Americans ventured into remote work and social distancing rules simultaneously, the isolating and lackluster aspects of working from home revealed themselves. But the pandemic proved to companies that they can save money by transitioning their workforce to full-time remote work, leaving it up to employees to fill in the social gaps. Flexible modern workspaces offer the perfect balance: remote work with an office’s structure and (familiar or unfamiliar) faces abound. When it’s safe to do so, modern workspaces in South Florida, like the new Nexus location in Coral Gables, are likely to see a significant increase in occupancy. This will shift the workforce as a whole and give the South Florida economy a much-needed boost.
Keeping the Top Spot
Whether it comes in the next few months or well into 2021, life will eventually return to normal. COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of Americans’ lives, including migration trends between states. While most would expect the pandemic to shut down moves and keep people sheltered in place, loosened restrictions, tax burdens, and an uncertain winter has brought Northern residents down to bask in the South Florida sun. Freedom from state income and estate tax, plenty of outdoor pandemic-approved activities to enjoy, and a promising economic and workforce outlook mean these migration trends are not restricted to a COVID-19-stricken 2020. Florida has been the top destination for movers, and it shows no signs of slowing down.
At Nexus Workspaces, we’re working hard to keep up with the constantly changing workplace environment and workforce trends. As thousands of people move to Florida each day and millions of Americans are returning to work, we’re continue to expand across the state to ensure everyone has a productive and safe place to work. Our unique alternative office spaces are designed with businesses in mind, to help boost productivity, interconnectedness, and networking. Visit us online or at one of our locations to see how we can help you and your business succeed.