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Florida was the fastest-growing state in the country over the last year — the first time that has happened since 1957, the Census Bureau said Friday.
“Florida’s population increased by 1.9% to 22,244,823 between 2021 and 2022, surpassing Idaho, the previous year’s fastest-growing state,” the Bureau said. “For the third most-populous state to also be the fastest growing is notable because it requires significant population gains.”
Florida has for decades — since the advent of air conditioning — been gaining population, but between 2016 and 2021, its rate of increase was slowing, growing by only about half a percent in 2020. Since 2020, it began a rapid rise.
This year, Florida beat out Nevada, which has been the fastest-growing state for 36 of the last 76 years.
Earlier this year, a report found that more than 600,000 people fled New York and California for lower-taxed states during the pandemic.
The population figures show people “voting with their feet” for the quality of life they perceive in the Sunshine State, and represent another achievement for Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), on top of his re-election during this year’s election cycle.
Florida rejected draconian coronavirus measures. Its schools were open while states like New York remained shuttered. Liberal states that closed their schools saw drops of up to 9% in the number of fourth-graders proficient in reading, while Florida was one of four states whose reading scores actually increased during the pandemic.
Data indicates that school closure length didn’t correlate with children dying of coronavirus, either.
DeSantis campaign spokesman Christina Pushaw tweeted this week that Democrat-run states were continuing to make those unpopular choices. “Kids in Democrat-run districts like Philadelphia and Passaic, NJ are being force-masked in schools again. The politicians who make these cruel regulations are partying at maskless galas while forcing kids to cover their faces,” she wrote.
“We’ll probably see these politicians in Florida,” she added. Politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez vacationed in Florida during the pandemic even as liberals attacked DeSantis for his policies.
Following a resounding re-election victory that won over many typically blue-leaning areas, even as Republicans saw lukewarm success elsewhere, a USA Today/Suffolk University poll found that Republicans in Florida hope that DeSantis is the Republican nominee for president in 2024.