Pandemic migration to Florida

More people are moving to Florida
New Florida driver's license registrations confirm migratory patterns.

Florida has long been a destination for both American and foreign buyers. Dating back to the early 1900’s, The Sunshine State attracted many newcomers due to the citrus and land boom. Fast forward to the present pandemic times and we are seeing a deluge of newcomers, including businesses as well. Throughout history, many of these newcomers were retirees looking to either own a second home or rent one during the winter months. Affectionately known throughout Florida as “snowbirds”, these part-time residents can oftentimes be spotted driving their vehicles with out-of-state license plates. However, the pandemic has set some new trends for the state.

New driver’s license registrations

A tell-tale sign of a population shift is the amount of new driver’s license registrations being filed. In 2021, more than 547,000 people exchanged out-of-state driver’s licenses for ones with Florida addresses. For perspective, this is a 40% increase from 2020 and nearly 20% greater than the five-year average between 2017 and 2021. As for where these license swaps are coming from, the top 3 were from foreign countries (14%), New York (11%), & New Jersey (6%). The top 10 locations that had licenses swapped for The Sunshine State were:

  • #1. Foreign countries
  • #2. New York
  • #3. New Jersey
  • #4. California
  • #5. Illinios
  • #6. Pennsylvania
  • #7. Georgia
  • #8. Texas
  • #9. Ohio
  • #10. Virginia

Top FL counties for new driver’s licenses registrations

  • #1. Miami-Dade (48,266)
  • #2. Hillsborough (36,626)
  • #3. Orange (35,582)
  • #4. Broward (34,084)
  • #5. Palm Beach (33,859)


There is no doubt that the increased popularity of remote working environments has removed any barriers for where Americans can live. This is a primary reason why we are seeing more working-age Americans calling Florida their primary residence. Add in cost of living savings and a lack of state income tax and it has become an easy decision for many Americans. Interestingly, we continue to hear from many clients that simply put, freedom was a significant driver for their move. It seems as though the desire for freedom from constrictive mandates and strict lockdowns has bipartisan support across the country.

At Live South Florida Realty, Inc. we have assisted many clients with their real estate needs. Are you looking to buy or sell a property in South Florida? Now more than ever, it is critical to have a qualified real estate team and the proper search tools behind you. Live South Florida Realty, Inc., has been a leader in the South Florida market for many years. Let our team of professionals assist you with buying or selling your piece of paradise today! In addition, our recently launched “Florida Home Search” app is now available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. With real-time MLS feeds, this app lets you set your own alerts to notify you as soon as a property meeting your needs hits the market. Furthermore, it will also let you know of recent closed sales in your area so that you may be even more educated on the market. Be sure to download this app for your smartphone or tablet today!

By natasha moore

REALTOR® with Live South Florida Realty, Inc.

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