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Author Topic: The Shrinking Florida  (Read 2882 times)
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« on: August 11, 2009, 02:29:56 am »
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Florida loses population for the first time since World War II

By James Thorner, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The growth state is officially shrinking.

Hit by a double-whammy of the housing crash and the recession, Florida has lost population for the first time since the demobilization of hundreds of thousands of soldiers after World War II.

University of Florida demographers will report Friday that the state shed about 50,000 residents between April 2008 and April 2009. That should knock the number of Floridians down a notch from the previously reported 18.3 million.

It's the first time since 1946 that Florida has been a net population loser. Even during the Great Depression, new residents swept into the state in search of work and leisure. But the severe housing contraction, combined with the sputtering of Florida's job creation machine, has eclipsed the state's former gravitational pull.

"You've had families with kids move out when housing prices went up too high," said UF economist David Denslow. "And with construction down, immigrant workers have left."

The university's Bureau of Economic and Business Research relies mainly on electric company connections and disconnections, supplemented by building permit data, to estimate population changes.

In the Tampa Bay area, St. Petersburg's Progress Energy reported a net loss of 8,000 electric customers from the first three months of 2008 to the same period in 2009. Tampa Electric lost about 2,200 customers in the first half of this year compared with a year earlier. UF tweaked the numbers on the theory that some of the lost customers didn't leave the state but moved in with friends or family.

"We've got plenty of rooftops to spare. We just don't have the bodies to put in them,'' said University of Central Florida economist Sean Snaith.

The latest population numbers back up a trend noted earlier by the U.S. census. Using estimates through July 2008, the federal government said Florida had a net loss of 9,286 domestic residents. If it hadn't been for 77,427 immigrants, mainly from Latin America, the state's population would have fallen last year.

Those immigrants haven't shown up in the same numbers this year, Denslow said. Not only have thousands of Mexican construction workers left, but Colombians who fled violence and instability in their county in the 1980s and '90s have been returning to South America.

Most economic forecasters expect Florida's population dip to be short-lived. Scott Brown, chief economist for Raymond James Financial in St. Petersburg, sees it as a one-year anomaly. But it's a stunning one in a state that has been so reliant on surging population.

"We used to say the growth industry in Florida has been growth, kind of as a joke," he said.

In a state with no income tax, state and local governments count heavily on migrating retirees to boost revenue and create jobs. In fact, the lack of an income tax is part of the allure.

The recession-fueled collapse of stock prices last year stopped some of that. Retirees wanting to move to Florida either couldn't sell their homes up north or lacked a mortgage down payment after investment accounts took a pounding.

"That engine shuts off and you wonder where you're going to raise funds. There's no state income tax you can tweak. You can cut, cut and cut till people get fed up," Brown said.

Overall, the U.S. population is growing about 1 percent annually, and Sun Belt states like Florida should grow a bit faster than that starting in 2010 or 2011. Some forecasts show the state's population crossing the 20 million barrier around 2016. By 2040, the state could hold as many as 30 million people.

But Snaith points to charts showing a slowing rate of population growth going back to 1969. Considering its relatively high housing and property insurance prices, Florida has gradually lost its reputation as a bargain destination.

"The demographics of the state have changed. Coming out of this recession we won't have what we've had to pull us through recessions before. One of those things has been population growth," Snaith said. "We've kind of lost that mantle of being the cheap place to live.''

UF won't release specific population data for Florida's cities and counties until Friday. But previous reports have already pegged Pinellas County as a population loser.

The university said Florida's last population decline occurred from 1945 to 1946, when America defeated the Nazis and Japan. The state had housed hundreds of thousands of soldiers, sailors and airmen in places like Drew and McDill airfields in Tampa and Camp Blanding near Gainesville. Many military men and their dependents departed at the end of the war.

Even during the real estate bust of the late 1920s and the economic cataclysm of the 1930s, the population continued to rise. You would have to go back to 1916-18 to find the next instance of a population decline.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/article1026447.ece
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2009, 05:51:43 am »
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What's interesting to is that during the 30s the percent of Floridians born outside the state was just as high as it is now. Around 48% or so.
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2009, 08:31:55 am »
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The end--or pause--of growth in Florida, Arizona, and Nevada is going to be very interesting to watch. How are these states going to fill out the gaps in their non-diverse economies when construction and speculation were already pulling above their weight?
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2009, 08:24:54 pm »
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So where did the people go?  I know it says South American immigrants were returning home but what about the US citizens?  Where do you go if you're leaving Florida?  Back to Ohio maybe?
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2009, 08:36:18 pm »
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So where did the people go?  I know it says South American immigrants were returning home but what about the US citizens?  Where do you go if you're leaving Florida?  Back to Ohio maybe?

You die. Completely serious.
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« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2009, 12:08:13 am »
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So where did the people go?  I know it says South American immigrants were returning home but what about the US citizens?  Where do you go if you're leaving Florida?  Back to Ohio maybe?

Some were going to the Carolinas.  When my parents first started looking in the Charlotte area, they were told in addition to many people from NY and the northeast moving down there, that a decent amount of people came up from Florida as well because of the high cost of living down there.  With that being said that might slow down a bit as well because the housing market in much of Florida has crash and burned so hard that homes are now affordable again.  With that being said those who bought a few years ago are basically fizucked and the foreclosure problem is very severe especially around the Ft. Myers area.
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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2009, 11:16:57 am »
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So where did the people go?  I know it says South American immigrants were returning home but what about the US citizens?  Where do you go if you're leaving Florida?  Back to Ohio maybe?

Some were going to the Carolinas.  When my parents first started looking in the Charlotte area, they were told in addition to many people from NY and the northeast moving down there, that a decent amount of people came up from Florida as well because of the high cost of living down there.  With that being said that might slow down a bit as well because the housing market in much of Florida has crash and burned so hard that homes are now affordable again.  With that being said those who bought a few years ago are basically fizucked and the foreclosure problem is very severe especially around the Ft. Myers area.

But that is nothing new for many years people from FL have been moving up to NC.
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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2009, 05:23:51 pm »
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This is a really interesting trend.  Of course I'm not complaining that people are moving out of Florida while other areas that have been losing people for decades are gaining some back... but still, big population growth drives its own growth on top of that with construction jobs.. the momentum of growth presents its own economic benefits.

Still... the blight that has affected rustbelt cities, while bad, has generally occurred in dense, well built neighborhoods.

Blight in the low density, strip mall studded landscapes of the Sunbelt will be so much worse.
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« Reply #8 on: September 05, 2009, 09:29:15 am »

Time just ran this story on the Florida exodus. The population change for 2008-2009 is quite dramatic.

Quote
A few years ago, journalists citing the chasm between Miami's high cost of living and its low level of income began predicting that South Florida and its perpetual population-growth machine would soon face the unthinkable: a falling head count. Now it's official. The region Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties lost 27,400 residents between 2008 and 2009, while Florida as a whole lost 58,000. That's not exactly a mass exodus for a state of 18 million; but it's the first net outflow in 63 years for a state that considers itself the new California.

More importantly, if I put in a decrease of 58 K for FL from '08 to '09, then even if FL returns to a 1.5% growth rate from now until April of '10 they cannot gain more than 1 congressional seat. That's good news for bubble states like OR, WA, MN, and MO that just increased their chance of gaining or not losing a seat.
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« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2009, 12:46:36 pm »
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So where did the people go?  I know it says South American immigrants were returning home but what about the US citizens?  Where do you go if you're leaving Florida?  Back to Ohio maybe?

Some were going to the Carolinas.  When my parents first started looking in the Charlotte area, they were told in addition to many people from NY and the northeast moving down there, that a decent amount of people came up from Florida as well because of the high cost of living down there.  With that being said that might slow down a bit as well because the housing market in much of Florida has crash and burned so hard that homes are now affordable again.  With that being said those who bought a few years ago are basically fizucked and the foreclosure problem is very severe especially around the Ft. Myers area.

But that is nothing new for many years people from FL have been moving up to NC.
O/c.

What changes is the balance of numbers.

x people move down south to Florida. A significant proportion of them are olds who won't reproduce there.
y people in Florida, including lots who only recently arrived, die every year.
z people leave Florida for other southeastern states (This is still very much a simplified model.)

If x falls while y and z stay constant...
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« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2009, 12:48:20 pm »
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Good. Florida is an awful epic fail state. I fucking hate it. Worse than Mississippi in some ways even. At least Mississippi isn't stupid enough to make it illegal to sell an extended service plan over the phone.
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