Half a Million Floridians to Leave the State in 2009

The Sunshine State is experiencing its first net emigration of people since World War II. With real estate and the job market in shambles, Florida is experiencing a record outflow of its residents. And at this point it looks like the state’s population reduction trend will continue. According to Sun Sentinel, a study last week by the Pew Center on the States identified Florida as one of the states at risk of fiscal calamity and cited its reliance on population growth as contributing to its economic woes. Florida’s population is shrinking at a disturbing trend, said the report.

“Later this month, Rick and Connie Desrochers will join a migration out of Florida that began before the housing market collapsed and the recession kicked in. In 2009, more than 500,000 people like them will leave. And for the first time since World War II, Florida’s population will actually shrink — by about 60,000 residents, state demographers estimate.” [emphasis added]

Census figures show more people moving out of Florida to other states than moving in from other parts of the country. In Metro Orlando for example, 9,000 more people left Florida than moved in from other states. Before the recession, the area was gaining more than 70,000 people a year.

Growth has slowed in many places across the country as the recession stifles Americans’ ability to sell their homes and move. But in many ways, the slowdown, notes the Sun Sentinel, is worse here because Florida’s economy has long been built on rapid growth.

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