Make us your home page

Trigaux: For third of Florida residents, grass seems greener in some other state

Should we sound the alarms that nearly a third of Floridians think fondly of moving to another state?

The number (31 percent) seems appallingly high — until you look at how many states boast even higher percentages of residents aching to head elsewhere in the country.

A 50-state Gallup poll measured residents' interest in moving out of state by asking:

Regardless of whether you will move, if you had the opportunity, would you like to move to another state, or would you rather remain in your current state?

It seems a boatload of Americans still believe the grass is greener just beyond their own state's borders. Nowhere is the desire to move more widespread than in Illinois and Connecticut, two tax-laden states where about half of residents say they would move to a different state if given the chance.

On the flip side, the odd trio of Montana, Hawaii, and Maine recorded just 23 percent of their residents with wanderlust, the lowest among U.S. states.

Florida ranked 31st highest among states. The Sunshine State fell slightly below the national average of 33 percent of residents saying they are motivated to move.

Those who say it is at least somewhat likely they will move were asked why. Said Gallup: "The biggest factor residents give for planning to move is for work or business reasons — the 50-state average is 31 percent. This is followed by family or other social reasons (19 percent), weather or location (11 percent), and then seeking a better quality of life or change (9 percent)."

There are lessons lurking here for Florida leaders.

Most, but not all, of the states with high percentages of residents eager to move are expensive places to live. That suggests Florida's lack of state income tax should be a compelling reason to attract expatriates of high-tax states.

In pricey New Jersey, for example, 41 percent of residents expressed interest in moving. That underpins recent decisions by car rental giant Hertz to move its headquarters from there to Florida and for drug giant Bristol-Myers Squibb to downsize in New Jersey while opening a new "capability center" this year in Tampa.

Many of the states with populations more prone to move are northern states with tough winters and high heating bills. That's another plug for Florida's warmer climate.

Other states whose residents are more eager to depart are Mississippi and Louisiana. They rank first and second, respectively, in poverty rates.

A third of the states ranked below Florida with lower percentages of residents contemplating moving vans.

What makes those states more satisfying than Florida?

That's a complex question. Florida is a prime destination of a vast nomadic migration of folks who come to "start over" or — think baby boomers — to retire. Clearly it takes time and involvement after a move to any state before new residents can swap ambivalence for pride and a desire to stick around.

Robert Trigaux can be reached at

Love it or leave it?

States ranked by percentage of residents who most want to move away

1. Illinois: 50 percent

2. Connecticut: 49 percent

3. Maryland: 47 percent

4. Nevada: 43 percent

5. Rhode Island: 42 percent

U.S. Average: 33 percent

31. Florida: 31 percent*

46. New Hampshire: 24 percent

47. Oregon: 24 percent

48. Maine: 23 percent

49. Hawaii: 23 percent

50. Montana: 23 percent

* Tied with Utah and Alabama

Source: Gallup 50-state poll, June-December 2013

Trigaux: For third of Florida residents, grass seems greener in some other state 04/30/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 8:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Last steel beam marks construction milestone for Tom and Mary James' museum


    ST. PETERSBURG — Tom and Mary James on Wednesday signed their names to the last steel beam framing the 105-ton stone mesa that will be built at the entrance of the museum that bears their name: the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art.

    The topping-out ceremony of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art was held Wednesday morning in downtown St. Petersburg. Mary James (from left), husband Tom and Mayor Rick Kriseman signed the final beam before it was put into place. When finished, the $55 million museum at 100 Central Ave. will hold up to 500 pieces of the couple's 3,000-piece art collection. [Courtesy of James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art]
  2. Heights Public Market to host two Tampa Bay food trucks


    TAMPA — The Heights Public Market announced the first two food trucks for its "rotating stall," which will feature new restaurants every four months. Surf and Turf and Empamamas will be rolled out first.

    Heights Public Market is opening this summer inside the Tampa Armature Works building.
[SKIP O'ROURKE   |   Times file photo]

  3. Author Randy Wayne White could open St. Pete's biggest restaurant on the pier

    Food & Dining

    ST. PETERSBURG — The story begins with Yucatan shrimp.

    St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, pilot Mark Futch, Boca Grande, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman, and author and businessman Randy Wayne White,  Sanibel, exit a Maule Super Rocket seaplane after taking a fight around Tampa Bay off the St. Petersburg waterfront, 6/28/17.  White and his business partners are in negotiations with the City of St. Petersburg to build a fourth Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier with a second event space on the pier according to White. The group met near Spa Beach after a ground breaking ceremony for the new pier. "We want to have our business open by the time the pier opens," said White. Other Dr. Ford restaurants are located on Sanibel, Captiva and Ft. Myers Beach. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times
  4. Guilty plea for WellCare Health Plans former counsel Thaddeus Bereday


    Former WellCare Health Plans general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District …

    WellCare Health Plans former general counsel Thaddeus M.S. Bereday, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement to the Florida Medicaid program, and faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not yet been set, acting U.S. Attorney W. Stephen Muldrow of the Middle District of Florida stated Wednesday. [LinkedIn handout]
  5. DOT shows alternatives to former Tampa Bay Express toll lanes


    TAMPA — State transportation officials are evaluating at least a half-dozen alternatives to the controversial Tampa Bay interstate plan that they will workshop with the community over the next 18 months.

    Florida Department of Transportation consultant Brad Flom explains potential alternatives to adding toll lanes to Interstate 275 during a meeting Wednesday at DOT's Tampa office. Flom presented seven diagrams, all of which swapped toll lanes for transit, such as light rail or express bus, in the I-275 corridor from downtown Tampa to Bearss Ave. [CAITLIN JOHNSTON | Times]