Ready to trade in frigid midwestern winters for year-round sunshine & relaxation? Add to the mix vibrant culture & arts, hundreds of miles of beautiful coastline, endless activities, and much more, and it’s easy to see why moving from MI to FL is such an appealing option! Simply put, the southeastern state of Florida is one of the top destinations for folks from up north. Before you take the leap, be sure to check out the following guide with all the essential things you need to know for a pleasant interstate relocation. And in advance: Welcome to Florida!
What to Know About Moving from Michigan to Florida
Out with the cold and in with the hot! Relocating from Michigan to Florida is a reinvigorating experience, but it can also be a shock. Here’s what you should consider before heading down to the Sunshine State.
We’ll start with taxation so that we can get it out of the way first. When it comes to tax burden by state, Florida offers some great incentives. The Sunshine State ranks #46 out of 50 states in terms of the overall tax burden (the lower, the better). This ranking considers the state’s sales, income, and property tax rates as a percentage of average income. Why does Florida fair so well? To start, Florida collects zero personal income tax! Additionally, the state’s base sales tax rate is 6%, and the average property tax rate is .98%, which is below the national average. By comparison, the state of Michigan lands in spot #30, with a personal income tax burden of 2.18%. Not bad, but it can’t beat Florida’s zero percent.
Economy and Job Growth
Along with lower overall taxes, the state of Florida also offers a booming economy. According to economy rankings, the Sunshine State is currently sitting in ninth place nationally (and #3 for growth). Michigan isn’t doing so terribly at #19, but it has quite a bit of room for improvement compared to the southeastern state. At the beginning of 2020, Florida had an unemployment rate of 3.6% (compared to the national average of 3.9% and Michigan’s 4.2%). Models project future job growth in Florida at a healthy 41.6% over the next ten years, far outpacing the predicted US job growth.
Weather and Climate
Ah, the Sunshine State. Florida earns its nickname. If you’re looking to escape the dread of northern winters, Florida is an excellent choice! Yes, there’s a lack of seasonal variation compared to Michigan, but what you give up in fluctuations you get back in year-round warmth. The state of Florida sees a winter low of 49°F, summer high of 91°F, 55 inches of rain, virtually zero snow, and nearly 240 sunny days. It’s also pretty humid here. In contrast, Michigan sees a chilling winter low of 14°F, summer high of 81°F, 34 inches of rainfall, 64 inches of snow, and a dismal 170 days of sunshine.
On a peninsula in the southeastern corner of the country, Florida sits between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The Caribbean and Cuba are to the south, approximately 50 and 90 miles offshore, respectively. You can slice the state into three main regions: the Atlantic Coastal Plain, the Florida Uplands, and the East Gulf Plain. It’s an extremely flat state (the highest point, Sugarloaf Mountain peaks at just 312 feet above sea level) with about 1,350 miles of coastline. Michigan, as you know, is a midwestern state that consists of two peninsulas – the Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula – surrounded by the Great Lakes.
Housing and Cost of Living
When it comes to the cost of living in Florida, it’s higher than the US average of 100 and Michigan’s 89.6, but not by much. With an index of 102.8, the Sunshine State offers a high quality of life at a pretty affordable price. Housing in Florida is where it gets a bit more expensive. The median list price in Florida is currently $252,309 (along with a median monthly rent price of $1,780). For comparison, the state of Michigan has a median list price of $175,000 (and a median monthly rent price of $1,150). Real estate markets in both states are very hot at the moment, which favors sellers over buyers.
Things to Do
Home to the Most Magical Place on Earth (aka Walt Disney World in Orlando), Florida shines yet again, this time in stuff to do. There’s so much to do here! From beach fun and island adventures (Marco Island, Sanibel & Captiva Islands, and Amelia Island to name a few) to stellar nightlife and diverse arts & music events, everyone can find a great way to enjoy themselves. This state is also an outdoor person’s dream, with 1,350 miles of coastline and a wide variety of awe-inspiring landscapes, wildlife, and scenic views. Packed with more destinations & attractions per square mile than pretty much every other state, Florida is here to entertain, enrich, and rejuvenate!
Want to hear more great news? According to education rankings, Florida ranks #3 in the nation! Michigan, on the other hand, sits at #37. The Sunshine State also claims the #1 spot for higher education. Top universities in Florida include University of Florida (#34 in the country), 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). Top K–12 schools include Pine Crest School (Fort Lauderdale), Ransom Everglades School (Coconut Grove), American Heritage School (Plantation).
Culture, Diversity, and Demographics
While colder weather informs Michigan’s culture, Florida offers a warmer, more vibrant take. Borrowing elements from the Caribbean, the South, Latin America, and Europe, the Sunshine State is a beautiful melting pot of myriad influences. As for race & ethnicity demographics, Florida is currently 53% White, 26% Hispanic & Latino, 15% Black, 3% Asian, and less than 1% indigenous American. Michigan is less diverse: 75% White, 14% Black, 5% Hispanic & Latino, 3% Asian, and less than 1% indigenous American.
Transportation and Traffic
Sick of icy roads, snow shoveling, and having to scrape & defrost your car? Bienvenidos a Florida! Not only is there no snow or ice getting in your way, but the state is also home to some of the best transportation infrastructure in the country. According to transportation rankings by US News, the state of Florida currently ranks #7. This ranking depends on four categories: commute time (#41), public transit usage (#18), road quality (#7), and bridge quality (#3). Michigan comes in at #37: commute time (#23), public transit usage (#27), road quality (#30), and bridge quality (#35).
Florida currently ranks #30 overall in public safety rankings. This ranking depends on two main categories: the property crime rate (#28) and the violent crime rate (#31). Michigan fares better at #20. When comparing a major city in each state, Detroit has a violent crime rate of 94.3 and a property crime rate of 66.7, while Jacksonville has a violent crime index of 26.6 and a property crime rate of 40.7. Both cities are higher than the national average of 22.7 for violent crime and 35.4 for property crime.
Say ‘hola’ to tasty food in Florida! Influenced by a wide variety of cultures (Latin, Caribbean, Southern, European, and more), cuisine in the Sunshine State is anything but boring or bland. Of course, Michigan has its claims to food fame – Detroit pizza, U.P. pasties, Oberon beer, Coney dog, etc. – but Florida has a unique flavor sure to delight! Here’s a shortlist of some of the must-try items in Florida: Cuban sandwiches, world-famous oranges, strawberries, key lime pie, conch fritters, Apalachicola oysters, Cedar Key clams, smoked fish, stone crab, and of course gator bites.
Best Places to Live in Florida
Whether you want to live the beach life or prefer an urban setting, there are many beautiful places to call home across the Sunshine State. Here’s an overview of some of the top areas to consider living:
This South Florida hotspot has the nickname the “Venice of America” thanks to its 165 miles of canals and waterways. Home to 180,000 residents, Fort Lauderdale, offers affordable living, first-class healthcare, excellent schools, and of course, access to some of America’s best beaches. If you’re interested in moving here, be sure to check out our Fort Lauderdale relocation guide.
On the opposite side of the Florida Peninsula sits the bustling Tampa metro area. This city of almost 400,000 sits on the north shore of Tampa Bay, giving residents ample access to recreation on the Bay as well as the nearby Gulf of Mexico. Charming neighborhoods, balmy year-round weather, and a thriving economy are just a few of the reasons to consider moving to Tampa.
West Palm Beach
Widely known as a vacation destination, West Palm Beach sits about 70 miles north of the Miami metro area. This city of 100,000 people attracts everyone from retirees to celebrities with its pristine beaches, immaculate golf courses, and high-end shopping. If West Palm Beach sounds like the place for you, be sure to check out our moving guide here.
An astounding 72 million tourists descend on Orlando every year to experience the thrill of manufactured fun at one of the area’s many theme parks. Whether you relish having Mickey Mouse as a neighbor or you find the city’s robust job market appealing, Orlando is a wonderful place to call home. Learn more about moving to Orlando!
This North Florida city sits on the Atlantic side of the Florida Peninsula, giving residents access to miles and miles of incredible coastline. Home to nearly 900,000 residents, Jacksonville is the largest city in the state, both in terms of people and land size. Here, you can enjoy low living costs, a thriving economy, and plenty of things to do – including exploring some 80,000 acres of parks.
Nestled in the southwest part of the state along the Gulf Coast, Cape Coral offers a low crime rate, affordable cost of living, and opportunities for waterfront living. It also gives its 183,000 residents convenient access to the nearby beaches on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Find out more about living in Cape Coral with our helpful moving guide.
This interior city may not have the beaches of its coastal counterparts, but that doesn’t mean its lacking when it comes to outdoor recreation and things to do. Home to the University of Florida, this college town boasts about 132,000 permanent residents who enjoy the area’s abundant nature spaces and parkland. Learn more about living in Gainesville.
Cost of Moving from Michigan to Florida
On average, it costs about $3000-$3500 to move from Michigan to Florida. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 1400 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 Michigan to Florida movers now!