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Florida, America’s southernmost state, is known for its palm trees, warm weather, ample sunshine, and amusement parks. In addition to being a popular vacation destination, Florida is home to over 22 million residents, offering world-class higher education and a booming job market for those considering relocation.
If you're just exploring your options, you can learn more about Florida's climate, school systems, transportation, and cost of living to see if the area would suit you. Here's what you can expect from Florida.
If you've already decided to make Florida your new home, get started on assembling a team for your move. Find a qualified real estate agent if you're buying a home. And whether you're renting or buying, connect with a great moving company to help smooth the transition. Start planning your move to Florida today!
Quick facts about Florida
|Land size||53,654 miles|
|Cost of living index||1% higher than the national average|
|Average home value||$412,141|
|Average annual salary||$63,062|
|Average annual temperature||70.7°F|
How do I start planning a move to Florida?
Moving can be a stressful experience, but getting the right help makes it easier. Your most important first steps will be finding a great realtor and dependable movers.
Hire the right real estate agent
If you're buying a house in Florida, you'll want to connect with a real estate agent. Look for someone with experience in the local market and the ability to understand your needs. Once your agent knows what you have in mind, they can guide you toward neighborhoods that fit your criteria.
Make sure your real estate agent is someone you trust to do the on-the-ground work for you, since you might not have much time to house hunt in person.
To find a great real estate agent in Florida, we recommend using a free service like Clever Real Estate. Clever matches you with agents from well-known brokerages like Century 21 and RE/MAX.
Interview as many agents as you'd like until you find the right fit, or walk away at any time with no obligation. Just enter your zip code below to get started!
Connect with top local agents who can help you get a great deal on a new home. Eligible buyers also earn cash back after closing.
Hire the right movers
After you find a home in Florida, your next step is to hire movers. You'll save time, money, and hassle in the long run if you take the time up front to find dependable movers.
For a smoother move, choose an experienced moving company with good reviews. We recommend contacting two to three movers to compare their rates, availability, and additional services.
If your move requires special accommodations — such as climate-controlled storage for certain valuables — make sure you ask the companies if they offer that service.
Who is Florida best for?
|👍 Florida is best for you if:||👎 Florida is not best for you if:|
|You like warm weather year round.||You prefer all four seasons.|
|You’re looking for a strong economy with no state income tax.||Your housing budget is strapped.|
|You enjoy getting outside.||You don’t have a car to get around.|
Florida has a lot to offer when it comes to year-round outdoor activities, thanks to its warm and pleasant climate. From hobbies like pickleball, tennis, golf, and cycling to day trips at nearby theme parks, natural attractions, and beaches, you'll have plenty of options that suit your pace and budget.
Financially speaking, you'll find both incentives and drawbacks in the Sunshine State. On the plus side, the economy is strong and unemployment rates are low. What’s more, Florida doesn't have a state income tax, estate tax, or inheritance tax, a major reason retirees flock south for savings. But keep in mind that housing prices have been on a steady increase over the last few years.
You'll likely need your own transportation to get around. The state's public transportation leaves much to be desired. If you drive, be prepared for notoriously congested traffic.
What should I know before moving to Florida?
1. Expect warm weather and lots of sunshine
Despite its nickname, Florida isn't the sunniest state in the U.S., though it ranks toward the top. Balmy winters mean residents can make the most of the outdoors in any season. The average winter temperature in the state dips to 59.4°F, and winter precipitation averages 3.17 inches per month.
On the flip side of the calendar, Florida’s summers tend to be muggy and warm. The average temperature is 81°F, and an average of 7.13 inches of precipitation each month make it the wettest state this time of year.
Spring and fall temperatures average around 69.9°F and 72.7°F respectively, with precipitation averaging from 3.63 inches monthly in spring to 4.24 inches monthly in fall. Fall tends to be slightly warmer and damper than spring, with hurricane season typically peaking in September and October.
2. There are pros and cons to the cost of living
Cost of living is a major factor when choosing where to live. Florida ranks in the middle compared to other U.S. states, with an overall cost of living comparable to the national average.
Median rent is higher than the national average ($1,348 versus $1,191 nationally), and the median home value of $406,876 is higher than the national average of $357,589. This reflects a 183% upward trend in home values from 2012 to 2022.
Tax advantages, which offset the higher housing costs in the state, attract new residents to Florida each year.
The property tax rate is unremarkable at 0.8%, ranking Florida in the middle of the country (by comparison, Hawaii ranks lowest at 0.3% and New Jersey highest at 2.3%). Property taxes average $3,272 annually, 1.0% higher than the national average.
Florida doesn't have state income tax. As a result, it ranks #11 in the country for combined state and local tax burdens. The state sales tax is 6.0%, and the average local sales tax is around 1.0%. This combination makes Florida appealing compared to other warm-weather states, including North Carolina (where the tax burden averages 9.9%) and Arizona (9.5%).
3. Florida’s job market is alive and well
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities abound in Florida.
While employment is booming in Florida, wages aren't as competitive as housing prices may suggest. The median income in the state is $63,062 compared to a national average of $69,717, and the median hourly wage is $18 compared to a national average of $22.
Florida’s unemployment rate is 2.6. The national average is 3.7.
4. Be prepared for transportation limitations
If you come from an area with an established public transit system, Florida may surprise you with its limited infrastructure. Ranking #42 out of 50 states for transportation, Florida's bus service and commuter rail are not the caliber many Northeastern or West Coast residents are used to.
The average commute time for Floridians is 27.1 minutes, compared to the national average of 25.6 minutes.
5. Safety in Florida is middle-of-the-road
Florida ranks in the middle of the U.S. states when it comes to violent crime. Currently there are 378.4 violent crimes per 100,000 residents each year in Florida.
That said, crime rates and safety vary based on the specific area. You can use a site like CrimeGrade to check the safety rating of zip codes and cities.
6. Florida is a beacon for higher education
Florida ranks #3 overall for education in the country, according to the U.S. News and World Report. Ranking #1 in the nation for higher education and #16 for Pre-K through 12th grade, solid schools are a draw for students and educators alike.
Florida ranks in the upper half of America’s public education system for grade schools. The state has a high school graduation rate of 87, compared to the national average of 86.
The average teacher-pupil ratio is 17.2, compared to the national average of 15.9. This may be impacted by national data indicating that Florida’s teachers make comparatively less than their peers in other states.
U.S. News ranks Florida #1 nationally when it comes to affordable higher education. With competitive acceptance rates and expansive program offerings, Florida’s colleges and universities are great places to consider college education. The state has a 56% college graduation rate.
Gainesville’s University of Florida is known for its athletics and has a robust research program with billions of dollars in backing. Private schools include the University of Miami, which is home to the Canes Film Festival as well as its own noteworthy research investments, particularly in the arena of climate change.
Sunshine State vibe: What is Florida known for?
Sunshine and beaches
With hundreds of miles of beaches and warm weather year round, Florida is known across the U.S. as a vacation destination. Resorts dot the Atlantic coast, Gulf coast, and Florida Keys, and the beaches welcome travelers for camping, fishing, lounging, and water sports.
Coastal habitats, which are major assets and vulnerabilities for Florida, sustain both ecosystems and tourism. Attracting 19 million visitors annually, Florida’s beaches keep local economies running just as they are home to rare species of plants and animals. Award-winning state parks and public beachfronts ensure equal access to some of the state’s most beautiful spots.
Family-oriented theme parks
Home to the multi-park Walt Disney World, central Florida also boasts Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, Legoland, and Seaworld within close range. These and other attractions across the state make Florida a family-friendly vacation destination year round.
Florida sources more than 70% of America’s citrus fruits, including the famous Florida oranges that are juiced and exported internationally. With more than 74 million citrus trees, Florida is home to 40 citrus packing houses and 20 citrus processing plants. Citrus accounts for millions of dollars in the state economy each year and supports 45,000 jobs in the state.