The cold climate and cost of living in Massachusetts got you down? Florida is waiting to lift your spirits! Whether you’re looking to escape dreadful winters or hoping to buy a bungalow by the beach, you’ll find a multitude of pluses waiting for you in the state of Florida. Perks of living in the Sunshine State include lower living expenses, virtually no snow, gorgeous coastline, diverse food, topnotch nightlife, endless outdoor recreation, year-round warmth, and The Most Magical Place on Earth (Walt Disney World). Before you head south for the sun, take the time to consider what you can expect when moving to Florida.
What to Know About Moving from Massachusetts to Florida
Relocating from Massachusetts to Florida is an exciting transition, but it can also be a daunting one. To ensure a smooth experience, you’ll want to study up on everything the Sunshine State has to offer.
It’s not the most exciting topic, but let’s get it out of the way. If you’re concerned about how much you’ll have to pay, you’ll be happy to know that Florida has lower taxes than MA. When it comes to the overall tax burden, this southeastern state ranks #46 (the higher ranking, the better) in the nation. Oh, and did we mention that it collects zero personal income taxes? Bonus! Massachusetts, on the other hand, comes in at #22. Florida’s ranking depends on three subcategories: property tax (2.79%), individual income tax (0%), and total sales & excise tax burden (4.03%). These rates represent the estimated percentage of personal income that residents pay toward state and local taxes.
Economy and Job Growth
Good news: both Florida and Massachusetts land in the Top Ten in state economy rankings. Florida takes the ninth place in the United States, while the state of Massachusetts lands the seventh spot. At the beginning of 2020, both Florida and Massachusetts had lower unemployment rates than the national average of 3.9% – 3.6% for FL and 3.4% for MA. As for future job growth, the Sunshine State expects to see a growth rate of 41.6% over the next ten years (compared to 39.3% for the Old Bay State).
Weather and Climate
One of the top reasons, if not the primary motivation to move from Massachusetts to Florida, the Sunshine State’s climate is legendary. Whereas the New England state sees intense winter weather (with 47 inches of snow, 49 inches of rain, and less than 198 days of sunshine) and four seasons, the state of Florida offers year-round sunshine. Yes, it can get super humid here. But considering there’s zero snow, 55 inches of rainfall, and nearly 240 sunny days, it’s a worthwhile tradeoff.
Both Florida and Massachusetts sit along the Atlantic Ocean. They’re also very flat states. That’s where the commonalities come to an end. While Massachusetts is the seventh smallest state, Florida is the 22nd largest state by total area in America. The state is so large, in fact, that it covers two time zones. As a peninsula wedged between the Gulf of Mexico to the west and the Atlantic to the west, it can be separated into three main regions: the East Gulf Plain, the Florida Uplands, and the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The southern portion of the state is close to the Bahamas (50 miles) and Cuba (100 miles).
Housing and Cost of Living
So, all this sun & fun has a big price tag, right? Not at all! When comparing it to Massachusetts, Florida, is quite the bargain. Let’s take a look at median home prices. Florida has a median list price of $299,000 (and a median rent price of $1,780/month), while Massachusetts has a median list price of $433,883 (and a median rent price of $2,550/month). We find the same story with living expenses. The Sunshine State currently has a cost of living index of 102.8. Even though this is slightly higher than the US index of 100, it’s still lower than its New England counterpart’s cost of living index of 127.2.
Things to Do
You’re going to have fun down here! Unlike Massachusetts, Florida is not restricted by long, frigid winters. This ideal climate results in year-round activities and excursions. The name of the game is outdoor fun – sandy beaches, 1,350 miles of awe-inspiring coastline (2nd only to Alaska – but far more usable), swamp adventures, state & national preserves, boating, fishing, hunting, camping, hiking, the list goes on. If urban is more your vibe, places like Miami offer some of the best nightlife, restaurants, live music, arts scene, and retail therapy in the United States. Of course, we can’t have a list of stuff to do without including mention of Walt Disney World Resort, also known as The Most Magical Place on Earth!
Okay, let’s acknowledge the fact that it’s hard for any state to compete with Massachusetts in this category. When it comes to the most educated states in the US and overall education rankings, The Bay State takes first place in both. So how does Florida stack up? You might be surprised. If we look at rankings in education, the Sunshine State comes in third place. Even more impressive, Florida claims the #1 spot in higher education. Top colleges & universities include University of Florida (#34 nationally), Florida State University (tied for #57), the University of Miami (tied for #57), University of South Florida (#104), and the University of Central Florida (tied for #106 in the country).
Culture, Diversity, and Demographics
As you know, Massachusetts is known for its rich history as one of the 13 American Colonies. It also has an influential culture informed by its location in New England and along the Atlantic Coast. Florida shares a connection with the ocean, but that’s about where the commonalities pretty much end. The Sunshine State is a warm (literally and figuratively) and highly diverse state. It is primarily influenced by Southern, Caribbean, Latin, and European cultures. As for race & ethnicity demographics, Florida is 53% White, 26% Hispanic & Latino, 15% Black, 3% Asian, and less than 1% indigenous American. By comparison, Massachusetts is 71% White, 12% Hispanic & Latino, 7% Black, 7% Asian, and less than 1% indigenous American.
Transportation and Traffic
Are you done with shoveling your driveway, scraping your windshield, and driving on snow and ice-covered roads? Florida is waiting with sunny year-round weather and top transportation infrastructure! When it comes to transportation rankings, Florida is shining bright at #7 in the US. This ranking depends on four subcategories: commute time (#41), public transit usage (#18), road quality (#7), and bridge quality (#3). In contrast, Massachusetts lands at a dismal #40. As for commute times, both states aren’t exactly stellar. Florida comes in at #12 for slowest commutes (at an average of 27.8 minutes), while the state of Massachusetts lands the #6 spot for most time-consuming commutes (at an average of 29.8 minutes).
Need to consider public safety rankings? When it comes to crime rates, Florida does have room for improvement. The Sunshine State currently ranks as the 30th safest state in the Union. For comparison, the state of Massachusetts lands in the Top 10 at #10. This ranking depends on two subcategories: low property crime rate (#28 for FL, #3 for MA) and low violent crime rate #31 for FL, #26 for MA). Next, let’s compare the capital cities. Tallahassee currently has a property crime index of 69.1 and a violent crime index of 44.7. Boston has a property crime index of 35.8 and a violent crime index of 37.3.
Love Latin American food? How about Caribbean cuisine? We left the best for last! From spicy to fusion to just amazingly delicious, Florida is home to some of the best food in the United States. Of Course, Massachusetts has its iconic items – clam chowder, Boston baked beans, Boston cream pie, lobster rolls, and so on – but if you’re looking for something with a little zest or uniqueness, you’ve come to the right state. Borrowing from Southern, Latin, Caribbean, and European influences, local cuisine has to be experienced firsthand. Iconic food here includes world-famous oranges, key lime pie, Cuban sandwiches, conch fritters, gator bites, Cedar Key clams, Apalachicola oysters, stone crab, and more!
Best Places to Live in Florida
Contemplating where to settle down in the Sunshine State? Here are some of the top locales to call home in Florida.
West Palm Beach
Known as a tourist destination for its white sandy beaches and pristine golf courses, West Palm Beach is also a great place to call home. This Miami suburb of 100,000 is removed from the hustle of the big city but offers endless entertainment, shopping, and outdoor recreation in a balmy climate. Read more about moving to West Palm Beach.
Once nothing but swampland, Orlando is now a tourist hotspot, attracting more than 72 million tourists annually. People flock here to make the pilgrimage to Disney World and the smattering of other parks, but they stay for the economic opportunities, historic neighborhoods, and entertainment options. Plan your move to the most magical place on earth with help from our Orlando relocation guide.
On the Gulf side of the Florida peninsula, Tampa sits overlooking Tampa Bay, just across from St. Petersburg. Easy access to prime white sand beaches, a stable economy, and year-round warm weather are only a few of the reasons to consider calling the Big Guava home.
Famous for incredible beaches, year-round sunshine, and the party scene at South Beach, bustling Miami is a happening place to live. Learn more about moving to this South Florida metropolis here.
Like most places in Florida, Jacksonville offers easy access to incredible Atlantic beaches, but that’s not where the pros of this city end. The largest FL city in terms of both land size and population, Jacksonville boasts affordability, a robust economy, and the most extensive park system in the country. Find out more about moving to Jacksonville.
Are you looking for culture, adventure, and natural beauty, without all the glam and glitter? Then Hollywood FLORIDA is where you want to be. You won’t find any ‘Hollywood’ hills here, but you will find 7 miles of beautiful beaches, 60 nature parks, a vibrant arts and culinary scene, and a flourishing job and housing market.
If you love gorgeous sunsets, pristine beaches, and happening nightlife, then you might want to consider living in Clearwater. This town of 115,000 or so residents is part of the Tampa metro area, bordering both Tampa Bay and the Gulf. Find out why people love to call Clearwater home here.
Cost of Moving from Massachusetts to Florida
On average, it costs about $3,200-$4,000 to move from Massachusetts to Florida. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 1350 miles across the country. The total cost of your move will depend on several variables, including your origin and destination cities, the time of year you’re moving, the size of your household, and which services you require. The best way to get an accurate estimate is by scheduling an in-home or virtual (no contact) walkthrough with a licensed and insured interstate mover. Get free moving quotes from the best Massachusetts to Florida movers now!