According to the National Association of Realtors, an estimated 8.9 million people have relocated to Florida from states like New Jersey, New York, and California since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the economies of these states continue to crumble under the stress of continued lockdowns and other destructive policies, fleeing former residents offer advice to those who remain: “Start making better decisions on who you vote for.”
Florida was the No. 1 relocation destination for Americans in 2020, according to Move.org. However, new York and California took first and second place in the contest for which states had the most people choosing to leave.
Justin Pearson is a 27-year-old truck loader for a Target distribution center. A resident of Hemmit, California, for 22 years, Pearson moved to the town of Riverside for another three years until the dramatic change in policies and the rising cost of living made it impossible for him to live on his own. There also was no way he could afford to buy his own home, he said. So to survive at all, he fled to Lake City, Florida.
While the national average in property taxes is 1.07 percent, Floridians pay only 0.83 percent, and Californians pay even less — 0.73 percent. But Pearson said the cost of everything else in California erased the benefit of lower property taxes. Additionally, Florida is one of only nine states in the country with no state income or wage taxes.
“With the COVID restrictions, a lot of businesses closed,” Pearson told one news agency. “In turn, that caused an increase in homelessness. Then the governor enacted the zero-dollar bail policy and an early prison-release program, which caused the crime rate to skyrocket. Gas taxes were added. The cost of living was so high you could not get by if you were single. You literally had to have two or three incomes to make it.”
A specific motivator in Pearson’s decision to choose Florida was his “deep respect” for Gov. Ron DeSantis because of his moves to ban Critical Race Theory, to enact an anti-riot bill, and his unapologetic position of “backing the blue.” Pearson also admires the widely criticized decision by DeSantis to lift all COVID restrictions, which he believes are killing California.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom chose to maintain COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and extend both state and federal emergency taxpayer-funded unemployment benefits. As a result, California’s unemployment rate of 8.3 percent is among the highest in the nation, second only to Hawaii’s 8.5 percent.
The national average is 6.1 percent.
Florida’s state emergency unemployment benefits are set to expire, and DeSantis has declined to extend the additional $300 per week in federally subsidized unemployment benefits. Still, Florida’s unemployment rate stands at 4.8 percent.
Pearson said California’s high unemployment fueled an explosion in homeless numbers, which had already been exacerbated by Newsom’s 2017 mental health budget cuts, which left unstable patients who would have otherwise been cared for wandering the streets.
“You can walk on every corner and find trash everywhere, needles and feces,” Pearson said. “It’s disgusting.”
Pearson also noted how illegal immigrants are flooding into California, and the governor is doing nothing to stop it.
“In fact,” Pearson said, “he gave them stimulus paychecks using our tax dollars.”
Pearson, who ran back-the-blue rallies in California, said it was becoming too dangerous in California for Republicans to stand up for what they believed in.
“People would come over and assault us,” Pearson recalled. “But, because of the zero-dollar bail policy, they would get away with it. California is just a difficult place to live, and I don’t see it changing anytime soon until people in California start making better decisions on who they vote for.”
Many of Pearson’s sentiments are shared by Laura Gainsborg.
“I’ve been in New Jersey now for over 30 years, and that’s enough,” the former Florida resident told The Epoch Times.
“Talk about blue,” Gainsborg said of Pennington, New Jersey. “It’s a tiny little town, and the people are as liberal as they get!”
Like Pearson from California, Gainsborg wanted to leave New Jersey because she felt uncomfortable discussing politics. According to Gainsborg, a Republican, people in her predominantly liberal neighborhood are not very receptive to listening to the other side.
“There are very few people we can talk to,” Gainsborg lamented of the place she called home for three decades. “I want to move back to Florida. People in Florida are always friendly. You can talk to anybody, even those with different political leanings.”
Gainsborg was also drawn to Florida by the leadership of Ron DeSantis. As a retired teacher, she supports his ban on CRT. She also favors his move to opt-out of the additional $300 per week federal unemployment benefits, which she believes encourages people to avoid going back to work to earn a paycheck.
Along with providing an additional 13 weeks of state taxpayers’ unemployment benefits, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy also extended the additional $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits. New Jersey’s unemployment rate is currently 7.5 percent.
“It’s been horrible,” she said. “New Jersey is going down fast because people don’t want to go back to work. The teachers don’t want to go back to work. The unions are running New Jersey right now.”
Paying lower property taxes was a major qualifier in Gainsborg’s decision to move to Florida. Gainsborg’s husband, a forensics scientist, is also preparing to retire. But even with their combined retirement benefits, she said they would not afford the property taxes they would have otherwise had to pay in New Jersey.
More Statistics Confirm Similar Moves and Reasons for Leaving
If you live in the blue states of New York, California, New Jersey, or Illinois and think your friends are leaving you, don’t take it personally. It’s not you. According to North American Moving Services, in 2020, the mass exodus of people from America’s blue states was on the rise, and residents of those states are still fleeing.
The northeastern United States leads the nation in a mass exodus. Democrat Governors such as Andrew Cuomo in New York, Phil Murphy in New Jersey, and Torm Wolf in Pennsylvania instituted policies in those states that negatively impacted residents, causing a spike of fleeing residents in 2019, but in 2020, the policies by those governors during the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the exodus.
“Northeastern states make up four out of the seven states with the most outbound moves, and none of them make the top eight for inbound moves. New York led the way, followed by New Jersey and Maryland. But California edged out Maryland for fourth place on the outbound list,” the NAMS report concluded. “Pennsylvania and Michigan also made the list, and both states have made the top 10 fairly consistently for the past few years. Maryland has made the list for outbound moves since 2015, and it has ranked between second and fifth places. In 2020, it took fifth place.”
One of the main reasons people are fleeing the northeast is because of jobs. They were hard to find before COVID-19 and now, with many businesses shut down, restricted, and operating at 25% capacity, jobs are even harder to find.
- People are fleeing California for Texas and Idaho;
- Illinois, New York, and New Jersey are the three states with the most outbound moves;
- The top five inbound states in 2020 are Idaho, Arizona, Tennessee, South Carolina, and, North Carolina, with Tennessee overtaking South Carolina from the 2019 results;
- Florida, Texas, and Colorado round out the top eight states for inbound moves;
- Despite the pandemic, people continued to move at rates comparable to 2019.
“States in the South consistently rank well in the list of inbound moves. On average, states throughout the southeast, south, and southwest continue to see their populations grow as more individuals relocate there than leave the region. Arizona and South Carolina have been in the top five inbound states since 2015,” according to the report. “Meanwhile, North Carolina and Tennessee have always been on the list but reached the top five in 2016. While Tennessee usually sat in fifth place or so, it is now in third place for inbound moves. Florida and Texas have also been in the top 12 since the first report in 2015.”
Each year, both states rose through the ranks. Now, Florida is in sixth place, and Texas is one point behind in seventh place. While Georgia was in the top eight for the first few years, it has fallen out of the top eight since 2018. Still, the south continues to dominate the inbound list. Even as Americans move to different states, southern sunbelt states will probably stay on the list for many years.
Why are people in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania heading south?
- States in the south have experienced job growth due to companies relocating to or opening branches in the area. While the pandemic has changed things, there are still plenty of jobs in the south.
- Southern states like Texas, Florida, and Tennessee don’t have a state income tax.
Arizona and the Carolinas have a state income tax, but rates are relatively low, not surpassing seven percent. (https://www.businessinsider.com/personal-finance/stateswith-no-income-tax-map)
- Of course, the warmer weather is a draw for many people. Some states may have hot summers, but the mild winter is worth it for some.
- For those seeking to avoid congested areas, the south offers a lot of open space and opportunity to live more rurally, but with access to common conveniences.
Of all Western states, only California has consistently ranked in the top 10 for outbound moves since 2015. The percentage has fluctuated over time, but enough people continue to leave to make it stand out. California’s high cost of living could be the reason for so many outbound moves, along with a lack of affordable housing in some cities (San Francisco, for example, has an approximate 30+% of outbound versus inbound movers).
There’s one universal cry from the people who have left these blue states to relocate to red states. And that cry is directed to all those who remain in the liberal states: “Please rethink your choices to serve you in local, state, and federal office.”
There’s one universal cry from all those Americans who live in these red states in which the “blue staters” are invading: “Please leave your leftist political ideologies in those blue states before moving here!”
Sadly, in some of these states — especially in the South — the “blue wave” of leftists is slowly changing the ideological political landscape in those previously bright red states. The irony of all ironies: many of these “blue staters” made fun of conservatives living in the South for their low intelligence and lack of Wokeness. Then they move to those states for all the benefits their former fellow “Woke folks” laughed at. And the movers derided them as well before moving TO them!
This is the definitive illustration of the lunacy of the Left. Nothing factual really matters. Their one-consuming ideology is to guarantee they will always think, reason, express, and live at an intellectual level a notch or two above everyone else.
I must be honest: even if I WANTED to live in the elite class these Woke folks long for, I’d never make it. Why? I’m 60+. I’d always tire of trying to keep up with those blue staters. So I’d just go home, but on my coveralls, and walk around without wearing a t-shirt. And I’m REALLY hairy!
I’d put the Trump flag back into the bed of my 1975 Ford pickup. Oh, I’d make sure Ole Hank — my Bluetick hound — assumed his place in the back where he can bark at all the new neighbors down our road.
I just like being a Southerner. Hey, all you blue staters: you don’t want to mess with a redneck or Cajun. We all carry at least one shotgun on our truck racks. And they’re always loaded!