So you are leaving the Golden State of California and are headed east to the Sunshine State of Florida. What are the differences other than the sun rising over the ocean instead of setting over the ocean, you ask? Please give me 5 minutes of your time and we’ll walk through just a few...
|Population:||20,612,439 (July, 2016)|
|Size:||53,624 square miles|
|Nickname(s):||Alligator State, Everglade State, Flower State, Gulf State, Orange State, Peninsula state or Peninsular State, Sunshine State.|
|Motto:||“In God We Trust”|
Culture and People – Based on Florida’s location, Florida has a heavy Cuban influence to its culture. (Ever heard of the television show “Burn Notice”? Great show, by the way.) Florida has a diverse culture due to its climate, it draws Snowbirds from the north, Cuban natives and has a heavy influence from its original natives, the Seminole Indians. Florida has an interesting and diverse culture that can be experienced and appreciated by all. California has its diversity based on many transplants, but doesn’t have the “tropical flavor” of the Caribbean like Florida.
Florida’s population is approximately 19 million, compared to California’s 38 million (CA has the largest population in the U.S.). The people of Florida are more laid back as the population is not as dense as in California. I have heard both sides of the debate about the friendliness of the people of Florida as compared to California, but in my experience; people will respond to friendly as it is offered.
Weather and Landscape – The climate in Florida is tropical and humid. It possesses a Caribbean feel. It has a rainy season from June to September, but remains relatively warm year round, attracting many from colder or drier climates. Florida doesn’t offer as many different landscape environments as California, but it is a fisherman and hunting paradise. You can live anywhere in Florida and make it to the beach within a few hours. Florida is well known for its sunny beaches, state forests and the infamous Everglades, the natural wetlands of southern Florida. The Everglades covers 734 square miles of the southern tip of Florida.
Employment and Cost of Living – While California’s unemployment rate continues to hold at 8.7 percent, the unemployment rate in Florida continues to drop. The rate has steadily dropped, from 6.7 percent in October and currently at 6.4 percent (US Department of Labor for November 2013). Florida just increased its minimum wage from $7.79 per hour, to $7.93 per hour effective January 1, 2014. California’s minimum wage is currently at $8.00 per hour, but it cited to be raised to $9.00 per hour on July 1, 2014 and raised again to $10.00 per hour as of January 1, 2016 to keep up with the cost of living increases. The overall cost of living comparison between living in Florida and California is roughly estimated to be 38 percent lower in Florida.
Florida’s projected job growth is expected to add one million new jobs (1.6 percent annual growth) between 2012 and 2020. The California economy is expected to add 6.3 million new (10 percent overall growth) for the next six years.
The median household income for Florida in 2012 was $45,040 and the median household income for California in 2012 was $53,046 (U.S median income is $51,371 for same time period). The median price in Florida for an existing, single-family detached home is $175,000 as of June 2013, where the median price for a home in California in the same time frame is $428,510.
Taxes – California currently has one of the highest state sales tax (at 7.5 percent). California ranks 15th highest nationally in property taxes. Florida has no state income tax and ranks low in terms of the tax burden placed on residents. Florida ranks among the lowest tax states at #5 among the fifty states in 2013. Florida’s sales tax is 6 percent; and Florida is the median for property taxes for all fifty states at 1.2 percent. Florida’s tax collections per capita are $1,718, seventh lowest in the nation. California’s state and local taxes are the fourth highest in the nation at a rate of 11.2% of per capita income, compared to the national average of 9.9%.
Family-Friendly – Florida is not just for retirees anymore. More often than ever, families are moving to the Sunshine State to raise a family. Parents are drawn to Florida for job opportunities, the cost of living, quality public schools and much more. The commute time from the suburbs in Florida is much lower than California, which is attractive to parents who want to spend time with their children.
It is affordable to own a home and establish roots to raise children in Florida. Increasing home ownership helps keep crime rates lower. With a large portion of families moving to Florida, educational opportunities are increasing as well. Many of the parents have advanced degrees and have an expectation for their children to pursue college.
There are ten public universities in Florida and a liberal arts college to make up the Florida State University structure. In 2008, the Florida University system had 302,513 students. Florida also has many private universities. Florida has twenty-eight (28) public community and state colleges. Florida universities have some of the top sports programs in the nation. The two largest universities are Florida State Seminoles and the University of Miami Hurricanes.
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