Monday, July 21, 2014





Florida’s population on rapid rise

State will surpass New York as third most populous state this year


January 03. 2014 11:21PM
MIKE SCHNEIDER Associated Press



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ORLANDO, Fla. — Sometime this year, Florida will surpass New York in population, becoming the nation’s third-most populous state, and sun-seeking seniors are not driving the growth.


The milestone is validation of the increasing influence of the Sunshine State as it approaches being home to 20 million residents. Once Florida passes New York, only California and Texas will have more people.


“Florida is kind of an icon of the 21st century in terms of the shifting population and the growing role Latin America is playing in transforming the country,” said James Johnson, a business professor at the University of North Carolina. “I think it’s going to be for the 21st century what California or New York was for the 20th century.”


Florida encompasses many trends in America: an aging population, a service-oriented economy with many low-wage jobs and an ethnic diversity propelled by Hispanic growth. Like the United States, Florida is a haven for migrants and people making fresh starts, and the state’s 29 electoral votes are the nation’s most coveted given Florida is the nation’s largest swing state. Florida also has myriad problems, some the result of its explosive growth, which must be addressed for the state to keep thriving.


New Floridians, such as 47-year-old Michael Richards, list a number of reasons for moving here: the weather, no state income tax, a familiarity from family vacations or being stationed in the military, the availability of low-skill jobs and proximity to Latin America and Europe.


“You put up with three months of hell (in the summer) for nine months of great weather,” said Richards, who moved to the Tampa area in 2011 after retiring from the military so his wife could be a quick plane-ride away from her family in Panama.


Although Florida has the nation’s largest share of residents over age 65, seniors are not propelling the recent growth from migration. They account for less than 10 percent of new residents in the last several years. Instead, more than half of the new arrivals are between 25 and 64, according to an AP analysis of data from the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey. Almost two-fifths of them were under age 25.


New York isn’t shrinking in population; it’s just that Florida’s growth is outpacing it by a 3-to-1 ratio, and ex-New Yorkers are the biggest domestic source of new Floridians. More than 537,000 residents moved to Florida last year, and around a tenth of them came from New York State. As of last July, the two states were separated by about 98,000 people: New York had 19.6 million residents and Florida had 19.5 million residents, according to Census figures released earlier this week. As of today, that difference likely has been whittled down to about 20,000 people.


Migrants from Latin America dominated the newly arrived Floridians who came from outside the United States. Nondomestic migrants represented a quarter of Florida’s new arrivals last year. The largest flow of migrants outside the 50 states was from the Caribbean to South Florida, particularly the Miami area, according to the AP analysis.




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