Why Florida’s Population Growth is Inevitable

Financial security (taxes), Health (Covid hospitalization and death rates), Safety (riots and rising crime rate), Personal Freedom (lockdowns and restrictions). And then there’s the weather.

PALM COAST, FL – January 29, 2022 – Blue state residents are flocking to red states, and Florida is the prime beneficiary. Great weather has long been a driving force behind retirees’ affinity for Florida. As my father said, “People don’t like the temperature to be less than their age.”

Lower taxes also have been a magnet, strengthened by the Trump tax revision’s cap on deductions for state income tax and local property tax. But Covid’s confluence with related events has turned the steady migration stream into a river.

Foremost, Covid put us in touch with our mortality. The Covid pandemic has caused 5.6M deaths worldwide and 868K deaths in the United States, making it the most impactful healthcare crisis since the flu pandemic of 1918. It has left few of us untouched.

According to a New York Times article cited by Becher’s Healthcare, Florida’s 0.4 per 100,000 Covid-related death rates during the most recent 7 days is exceeded by 37 other states. (Data as of January 24th) This is remarkable in part because the elderly are much more susceptible to Covid. Florida seniors, those aged 65 or older, represent 20.9% of the state’s population, while nationally, only 16.5% of the population are seniors.

Covid death rates by state

Concomitant with the early 2020 Covid-19 shutdown, and perhaps aggravated by it, the protests turned riots following the death of George Floyd caused an estimated 25 deaths and over $1B in property damage. Not coincidentally, the riots were concentrated in many of the same high-tax states that have experienced higher Covid-19 death and hospitalization rates.

The Defund the Police Movement has spawned an increase in both violent crimes and property crimes. Organized smash and grab gangs are looting with impunity in predominantly Democrat-controlled cities. Activist attorneys general under the banner of justice reform are releasing felons onto the streets in a revolving door system. The homeless have taken over many city streets and public parks. Public transportation systems are no longer safe. Carjackings in many cities are epidemic.

Lockdowns and mandates vs personal freedom

The aforementioned blue states have also stretched the credulity of emergency powers by mandating masking and vaccines, and by closing or greatly restricting businesses. Such actions have been severely detrimental to the economies of these states and have done inestimable damage to children’s education.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Financial security, health, personal safety, the sanctity of personal property, and personal freedom are fundamental to a functioning society. In the world of human behavior and motivation, they are visceral.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs posits a five-tiered model of motivations, the most basic being physiological: food and shelter. Each successive level of motivation is predicated on the satisfaction of lower levels. To understand the inertia and momentum of the blue-state to red-state migration wave, one only needs to look at Maslow’s theory.

MASLOW’S HIERARCHY (comments added by GoToby.com)

Maslow' Hierarchy of Needs - GoToby.com

The leaders of the blue states, large urban centers, and those within the Washington beltway perceive themselves to have already moved into the two top tiers of the needs/motivation triangle, while the rest of Americans now see themselves trapped in the middle. Their basic needs are not being met.

Many perceive Florida as the model of how to handle the pandemic. With fewer deaths and hospitalizations, fewer mandates, fewer school closings, Florida’s economy has remained largely open. Its economy is much stronger than the nation’s economy. Even people from other states are referring to Florida as a “free state.”

Impact on Flagler County and Palm Coast

Florida’s future growth is forecast to concentrate along the Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville crescent, following I-95 and I-4. Flagler sits astride this crescent. It also has an abundance of attributes that the new wave of transplants seeks.

Healthcare: Although 31.2% of the county’s population is aged 65 or over (well above the Florida rate and nearly double the national rate), the county’s Covid death and hospitalization rates have remained among the lowest among Florida’s 67 counties. A second hospital is under construction and a third is planned. Additionally, the University of North Florida and Jacksonville University recently opened satellite campuses for undergraduate and graduate-level healthcare professionals in Palm Coast. The University of Florida has similar plans. Palm Coast is poised to become a healthcare mecca.

Schools: Flagler County and St Johns County, Flagler’s neighbor to the north, both have excellent schools.

Outdoor activities: Interstate 95, which transects the City of Palm Coast reaches its closest point to the Atlantic Ocean in Flagler County. Iconic Flagler Beach is only three miles from the interstate. There are numerous public beach accesses, the Intracoastal Waterway, over 100 miles of trails. Palm Coast has 23 miles of saltwater canals. Palm Coast and Flagler Beaches

Room to grow: Flagler is only one of two Florida counties within which US Route 1 is west of Interstate 95. This means that development to date has remained east of this highway. Roughly 75% of Flagler’s land remains undeveloped west of US 1.

The dash to Florida will look like the gold rush and the reasons behind it are not going to change anytime soon. And then there’s the weather.

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