Year-round sun, theme parks galore, sandy beaches, a robust economy, zero snow – life in Florida sounds pretty good. Moving from PA to FL has a lot of excellent benefits to it. If you’re looking to escape long winters and enjoy a diverse range of activities, opportunities, and experiences – not to mention no income tax – the state of Florida is a no-brainer! Whether you’re moving from Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, or anywhere between, set yourself up for success by checking out this guide on everything you need to know about living in Florida. Oh, and we’d like to say in advance: Welcome to the Sunshine State!
What to Know About Moving from Pennsylvania to Florida
Relocating from the Keystone State to the Sunshine State can be super exciting, but it can also be a significant change from what you’re used to. From taxes to cuisine, we’ve created this guide to help you navigate all the new and wonderful things you’ll encounter when moving to Florida.
When it comes to taxation, it’s wise to know how much you’ll pay. The good news? Florida offers several tax advantages! Currently ranked #46 in tax burden by state – the lower the ranking, the better – it certainly fares better than Pennsylvania at #25. The ranking depends on three basic categories:
- Sales Tax: Sales tax is the one category where Florida fares worse than the Keystone State. The average state and local sales tax rate in PA is 6.34%, which is slightly lower than Florida’s 7.05%.
- Income Tax: In PA, you said goodbye to a chunk of income thanks to the state’s flat 3.07% income tax rate. Once you move south, you’ll enjoy the perks of living in a no income tax state!
- Property Tax: At 1.59%, Pennsylvania has the 11th highest effective property tax rate of any state, while Florida comes in 15 spots down the list with an effective property tax rate of .93%. Based on the median home value in Florida, the annual tax bill would ring up at just over $1800, almost $1000 less than the yearly tax bill based on PA’s median home value.
Economy and Job Growth
Are you looking for better economic growth and employment opportunities? Florida is the place to be! When it comes to overall economic rankings by state, the Sunshine State breaks the Top 10 at #9 in the country. Pennsylvania, unfortunately, sits at a lowly #44. Rankings depend on three main categories: business environment (#12 for FL vs. #35 for PA), employment (#31 for FL vs. #43 for PA), and growth (#3 for FL vs. #32 for PA).
Millions of tourists flock to Florida each year to enjoy its pristine beaches and major theme parks, including Universal Studios and Disney World. Its thriving tourism industry is one of the reasons Florida doesn’t have to charge residents a personal income tax. Other healthy sectors that bolster the FL economy include agriculture, international trade, and aerospace/aviation. If you’re moving to the Sunshine State without a job, be sure to check sites like Employ Florida for information on career opportunities in these and other industries.
Weather and Climate
Coming from the Mid-Atlantic region, with its distinct four seasons and frigid winters, it can be quite a pleasant shock to experience year-round warm weather in Florida. Of course, this is one of the main reasons Pennsylvanians choose to become Floridians. The southeastern state offers a winter low of 49°F, zero snow, 55 inches of rain, and 237 sunny days. As for Pennsylvania, it has a winter low of 19°F, 38 inches of snow, 44 inches of rainfall, and only 179 sunny days. Yes, it’s pretty humid in FL. But that’s a small price to pay for no snow shoveling, windshield scraping, icy roads, and massive potholes.
Florida, found in the southeastern region of the United States, lies on a peninsula wedged between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. The Bahamas (50 miles away) and Cuba (90 miles away) sit close to the state’s southern shores. Low-lying and exceptionally flat (the highest “peak” is Britton Hill at 345 feet), the Sunshine State consists of three main regions: the East Gulf Plain, the Florida Uplands, and the Atlantic Coastal Plain. The state also sits in two timezones – the Panhandle is part of the Central Time Zone, while the rest of the country lies in the Eastern Time Zone.
Housing and Cost of Living
When it comes to the cost of living, the Sunshine State is a bit more expensive than the Keystone State, with an index of 102.8 versus Pennsylvania’s 92.5 (based on a nationwide index of 100). Housing prices also follow a similar line. The median list price in Florida is currently $299,000 (along with a median monthly rent price of $1,780). In contrast, the state of Pennsylvania has a median list price of $210,000 (as well as a median monthly price of $1,350). However, when you factor in the higher quality of life and numerous benefits, the higher cost of living in Florida is worth it for most people.
Things to Do
Okay, so you’re probably aware of the sandy beaches and massive theme parks of Florida (including “The Most Magical Place on Earth,” aka Walt Disney World), but the Sunshine State doesn’t just stop there. Known to have one of the highest concentrations of destinations & activities in America, there’s literally something for everyone to do here: vibrant nightlife in Miami, outdoor adventures at numerous state & national preserves (hiking, camping, hunting, boating, fishing, and more), island getaways, and even luxury retail therapy excursions. And since you don’t have to contend with cold winters or heavy snow, you can get out and have a good time any time of the year! See here for a full list of things to do in the Sunshine State.
This fact might come as a surprise, but when it comes to education rankings, Florida comes out on top! Sitting at #3 (just behind New Jersey and Massachusetts), the Sunshine State takes first place in higher education (along with #27 in Pre-K–12). Pennsylvania comes in at #30 (along with a dismal #50 in higher education). Are you looking for the top colleges & universities in Florida? They include University of Florida (#34 in the United States), 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 nation).
Culture, Diversity, and Demographics
The culture of Florida is a colorful tapestry, woven with many different influences. These influences include Caribbean, Latin, Southern, European, and more. With a long history of immigration, the Sunshine State is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse states in America. As for race & ethnicity demographic breakdown, Florida is 53% White, 26% Hispanic & Latino, 15% Black, 3% Asian, and less than 1% indigenous American. Pennsylvania has less diversity with a composition of 76% White, 10% Black, 8% Hispanic & Latino, 4% Asian, and less than 1% indigenous American.
Transportation and Traffic
Better economy, weather, education, cultural & ethnic diversity – Florida has a lot going for it. The Sunshine State also enjoys a better transportation ranking than its Northeastern counterpart. Florida makes the list of Top 10 states at #7, while Pennsylvania sits pretty close to the bottom at #48. Chalk it up to lousy winter weather wreaking havoc on the roads, but the Keystone State has a considerable amount of room for improvement. The Sunshine State also scores high in road quality (#7) and bridge quality (#3). Despite better road conditions, you may not enjoy a faster commute after your move. Coming in at #14 for worst commutes in the country, Pennsylvania has an average commute time of 27.1 minutes. Florida is even slower at #12, with an average time of 27.8 minutes.
Are you wondering about public safety rankings? This category is one in which the state of Pennsylvania wins out. The Mid-Atlantic state holds the current rank of #11 for safety. Florida, on the other hand, sits in the middle of the pack at #30. Rankings depend on two subcategories: low property crime rate (#28 for FL and #8 for PA) and low violent crime rate (#31 for FL and #21 for PA). Next, let’s compare major cities. Tallahassee, the capital of Florida, has a violent crime index of 44.7 and a property crime index of 69.1. Philadelphia currently has a violent crime index of 50.8 and a property crime index of 46.6. For comparison, the US average is 22.7 for violent crime and 35.4 for property crime.
If safety is a primary concern, consider moving to one of the safest communities in the state – Satellite Beach, Key Biscayne, and Marco Island all top the list.
Ready to spice things up? Florida brings the flavor! Now, we’re not knocking Pennsylvania. Between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, there’s a long list of iconic foods – Philly cheesesteak, pretzels, Shoofly pie, scrapple, chipped ham, Whoopie pie, and more. But if you’re interested in what the Sunshine State has to offer, you’ll be more than pleasantly surprised. From spicy dishes (hot chicken, inferno soup, stuffed hot peppers) to super fresh fruit (oranges, strawberries, and kumquats) to seafood (stone crab, Cedar Key clams, Apalachicola oysters) to iconic favorites (Cuban sandwiches, key lime pie, conch fritters, gator bites), there’s something delicious for everyone in Florida!
Best Places to Live in Florida
Not sure where to live in the Sunshine State? Here are some of the top options to consider!
Do you dream of fishing the river or napping on white sands every day? Cape Coral, Florida, is a beautiful southwest Florida hideaway with excellent employment opportunities and stunning homes for sale. See if this “Waterfront Wonderland” is right for you, with our Cape Coral moving guide.
Whether you’re moving for work, school, retirement, or for a change of pace, there will be no shortage of sunshine waiting for you in Clearwater, FL. Voted one of the best beach towns in Florida, Clearwater offers plenty of other activities to enjoy once you’re ready for a break from the sand and sun.
Florida’s largest city sits in the northeastern corner of the state, nestled between the St. Johns River and the Atlantic Ocean. Home to almost 900,000 residents, this metropolitan area boasts a robust economy, access to pristine beaches, and the most extensive urban park system in the country. Find out if moving to Jacksonville is right for you!
If you’re seeking a tropical paradise, you’ll find it in Fort Lauderdale. This South Florida town offers a big-city dynamic as well as slower-paced suburban neighborhoods. A more affordable alternative to Miami, Fort Lauderdale offers excellent schools, beautiful beaches, and plenty of fun in the sun. Learn more about relocating to Fort Lauderdale here.
Located between Tampa and Orlando, Lakeland is known for its quaint old Florida charm and beautiful historical architecture. Affordable home prices, a growing job market, and proximity to Florida beaches and attractions are just some reasons why young families, professionals, and retirees are attracted to the Lakeland lifestyle.
Whether you love Disney World, or you’re just seeking out warmer weather and lower tax rates, Orlando is a great place to consider for your PA to FL move. Besides having Mickey Mouse in your backyard, in Orlando, you can also enjoy a robust job market, ample outdoor recreation, and historic neighborhoods. Learn more about living in Orlando.
Cost of Moving from Pennsylvania to Florida
On average, it costs about $2000-$4000 to move from Pennsylvania to Florida. Though this might sound expensive, consider that you are hauling your stuff about 1130 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 Pennsylvania to Florida movers now!