Q&A of the Day – Are South Floridians Moving Further North in Florida?

Q&A of the Day – Are South Floridians Moving Further North in Florida? 

Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.   

Email: brianmudd@iheartmedia.com  

Social: @brianmuddradio 

iHeartRadio: Use the Talkback feature – the microphone button on our station’s page in the iHeart app.    

Today’s Entry: Hi Brian, love the show! Q&A topic suggestion. I read where there’s a lot of people moving north from Dade and Broward to Palm Beach and Treasure Coast counties. How does that compare with people coming from other states? Also do you think there will be a political impact (especially with those coming from bright blue Broward)? 

Bottom Line: I looked up the story that I believe was referenced that brought about this question. Earlier this week WPTV ran a story entitled: Trends show more South Florida residents moving north to Palm Beach County, Treasure Coast. The story cites traffic as a reason for northern relocations and starts out by highlighting a recent transplant to Lake Worth from Broward (who is originally from Miami Dade – this was his second move north). This story seemed to be inspired by news earlier in the week from the latest Census Survey estimates suggesting Miami-Dade actually lost 79,535 in population over the previous two years while the rest of the state posted significant gains (seemingly pointing to intrastate relocations in addition to out-of-state). Within the story, FAU’s 10-year population growth projections are cited. Those projections indicate population growth for all related counties, but unsurprisingly the smaller the population of the county, the larger the growth. Here’s the 10-year population growth projected by county: 

  • Miami-Dade: 3.8% 
  • Broward: 7.35% 
  • Palm Beach: 12% 
  • Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River: 20% 

Now, the first thing to note is that these percentages don’t mean much with context and even less in the context of intrastate relocations. Miami-Dade's population is 16.75 times the population of Martin County. If Martin County grows its population by 20% over the next ten years that’s an additional 32,000 residents. If Miami-Dade increases its population by just 3.8%, that’s still a whole heck of a lot more new residents than Martin would have with over 101,000 new residents within the county. Context is always key and seeing that Dade is still expected to add about three times as many people as Martin over the next decade helps tell a story that’s at least slightly different than the northern shift narrative. And in fact, if we dig a bit deeper, we can find it.  

The Florida Realtors Association produced a report they called Change-of-Address Filings by Destination County. The report shows moving trends within each county by determining if people taking up new addresses came from a different state, a different Florida county, or if they relocated within the same county. It paints a bit of a different picture of what’s really been going on in South Florida, and across the state for that matter. First and foremost, most relocations in the Tri County were existing county residents relocating within the same county. That was not the case in Martin County or St. Lucie County, however. Here’s the breakout of relocations by county:  

  • Miami-Dade: 80% existing residents, 10% from another Florida county, 10% from another state 
  • Broward: 66% existing residents, 23% from another Florida county, 11% from another state 
  • Palm Beach: 60% existing residents, 23% from another state, 17% from another county 
  • Martin: 38% existing residents, 36% from another county, 26% from another state 

You’ll notice that in all instances county residents are more likely to relocate within the same county than anywhere else – even in Martin where it’s not a majority but a percentage that still accounts for the largest percentage of moves. We also see that relocations from other counties account for double-digit relocations into each of the counties – including Miami Dade. So, while it may be true that there’s a contingent in Dade moving north – it’s also true that people are moving south to Dade from other counties in large numbers. And in fact, given the earlier example comparing Martin to Miami-Dade, there are far more people who’ve relocated from other counties into Miami-Dade than those who’ve relocated into Martin from other counties. And in the Palm Beaches we see that while those relocating from other counties is significant, we’re still far more likely to have people relocating from other states into the county than those relocating here from other parts of the state. In terms of the political impact of it all... 

As I’ve shared with my monthly voter registration updates for the state, and for Palm Beach County specifically, we’ve continued to see a very consistent multi-year trend towards the right by way of voter registrations. There’s no indication that relocations from bluer counties to the south has had any measurable effect on the voter trends from Palm Beach County north. And though I don’t have any data to support this thought... We know people relocating between states have more commonly been driven by political considerations in recent years. It might stand to reason that at least some who relocate between counties in Florida might pay some consideration to it as well. For example, Broward is the only county in the state which hasn’t meaningfully moved towards the right politically within the past five years. Just a thought... 

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