A monthly-record of 5,833 New Yorkers changed their drivers licenses to Florida last month, according to a New York Post analysis of data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. That brought the year’s total to over 41,000 Empire State citizens leaving the blue bastion for the south.
“First it was the billionaires. Then it was the rich following behind them. Now you have the middle class,” said Alvin Valley, a fashion designer who moved to Palm Beach during the COVID pandemic.
“A lot of families just began to feel like New York was becoming unlivable,” Valley added, the Post reported. “Especially for younger couples with kids in their thirties and forties. They don’t want to get on the subway. It’s a safety issue, it’s a schools issue.”
The New York exodus began when people left the heavily-restricted state during the pandemic to live in the Republican-led Florida that had lifted COVID restrictions, but rising crime rates in New York also seem to play a factor in people’s decision to leave.
John Macari, a retired NYPD Lieutenant, told the Post that COVID vaccine mandates coupled “with the rise in crime and zero competence from our elected officials and a lot of people just don’t see a future in New York City for themselves.”
In April, New York City Mayor Eric Adams attempted to lure Floridians into moving to the city by purchasing digital billboards in the Sunshine State that displayed messages falsely referring to the newly-passed “Parental Rights in Education” law as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
“I am the mayor of New York City, but I have a message for Florida’s LGBTQ+ community — come to a city where you can say and be whoever you want,” Adams said at the time. “Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill is the latest shameful, extremist culture war targeting the LGBTQ+ community. Today, we say to the families living in fear of this state-sponsored discrimination that you will always have a home in New York City.”
Adams’ billboards apparently did not work as New Yorkers continue to leave for Governor Ron DeSantis’ Florida at a record rate, while Florida’s population is still growing. The current trend suggests that last year’s record of 61,728 New Yorkers moving to Florida could be overtaken this year.