Are Californians fleeing ‘woke’ policies and moving to Florida, as DeSantis claims?


Florida is likely to continue to draw older people and retirees, but just how much it will attract others will depend on what happens with housing prices and economic growth in both states.

“What’s new is that Florida has emerged as an alternative for industries that have historically been big in California,” said Joel Kotkin, a fellow at Chapman University who has written widely on California demographic, social and economic trends.

That includes tech and the commercial space industry, he said, and expansion of its ports. Inflows of venture capital will help Florida keep growing. Last December, Florida announced $2 billion in investments from asset manager BlackRock.

To some extent, this is a pattern in many parts of the country. At least in part, that’s because, as tech-related industries have evolved and matured — sprouting an endless variety of new goods and services — it’s no longer necessary for every enterprise to be located in the cities and states where it all began.

Still, few people anticipate a rush of Californians heading to Florida. There are plenty of other alternatives a lot closer, particularly Texas, Arizona and Nevada, which have long been the top three destinations for Californians.

Besides, Kotkin said, “Californians never had the motivation to move to Florida for the weather.”


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