The Great Florida Migration

People from all over flocking to the Sunshine State
NC7's Jamilka Gibson takes a look at where some of our new neighbors are coming from.
Published: Feb. 24, 2023 at 6:47 PM CST
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - According to recent driver’s license exchange data, Florida is experiencing a massive migration.

More than 506,000 out-of-state drivers’ licenses have been exchanged for Florida drivers’ licenses since 2022. The exchange has revealed that the vast majority of migrants are coming from New York, California, New England and the Midwest.

However, the trend is not new. People have chosen Florida as a place to relocate for years.

Bay County has also been a top destination for people moving from other places. Between June 2021 to June 2022, more than 6,000 people surrendered their out-of-state license.

Rhea Goff is the Senior Vice President & Chief Administrative Officer for the St. Joe Company. She says Latitude Margaritaville Watersound seems to be a hot spot for out-of-state retirees.

“Actually, in one of our retirement communities, Latitude Margaritaville Watersound, we have seen buyers from 46 out of the 50 states. We recently had a second buyer move here from Hawaii, we got two from Alaska, just all over the country really are moving to this area,” Goff said.

Ryan Alm is also new to Panama City Beach. He moved from California for better opportunities.

“When I graduated college, finding a house out there - just a studio apartment - was just way too expensive for me. So I decided to move to Florida,” said Alm. “When I got out here things really popped off, I was able to find a house real quick, find a new job real quick, and get a new car and really start things over again. So it’s really fun.”

Approximately one million people have obtained a new Florida driver license in the last two years.

Florida Chamber Foundation Research Director Dave Sobush told NewsChannel 7 that as the expected growth continues, it’s important to be prepared for the changes it brings.

”We need to, across the state and in our communities, make sure our infrastructure keeps pace with the population growth, and that is, you know, making sure our roads and schools- broadened accesses, you know, available water, resources, all continue to keep pace,” Sobush said.

To see more numbers and statistics for the state of Florida, click here.