7 Florida Towns People Are Fleeing As Soon As Possible

Florida, the Sunshine State, has long been a popular destination for tourists, retirees, and snowbirds. But not everyone is happy living in Florida. In fact, according to Google search data analyzed by SelfStorage, the state has seen a surge in people looking to relocate to other parts of the country. The reasons for this exodus are varied, but some of the main factors are:

Rising cost of living: Florida has experienced a sharp increase in home prices, rents, and taxes in recent years, making it less affordable for those on a fixed income or a tight budget. The median price of a single-family house in Florida rose $150,000, or 60%, in just half a decade. The average rent in major cities like Orlando, Tampa, and Miami is also higher than the national median.

Extreme weather: Florida is prone to hurricanes, floods, and heat waves, which can cause significant damage to property and infrastructure, as well as pose health and safety risks. Hurricane Ian, which hit the state in 2022, was the costliest hurricane in Florida’s history and the third-costliest in United States history, causing over $112 billion in damage and over 150 deaths. Many residents have had to relocate due to the devastation caused by the storm or the fear of future disasters.

Political turmoil: Florida has been at the center of several controversial laws and policies enacted by Gov. Ron DeSantis, which have sparked criticism and backlash from various groups and individuals. Some of these laws include restricting gender-affirming care, requiring people to use bathrooms aligned with their sex assigned at birth, banning vaccine passports, and limiting voting rights. These laws have made some residents feel unwelcome, unsafe, or unhappy in the state.

So, which towns are people leaving the most? Here are seven of them, based on the Google search data and other sources:

1. Palm Beach Shores

Picture turquoise waters lapping against pristine sands, luxury condos gleaming in the sun. This idyllic beachfront paradise is ground zero for rising sea levels. According to a study by the University of Florida, Palm Beach Shores could lose up to 86% of its land area by 2100 due to coastal erosion and flooding. The town, which has a population of about 1,200, is already experiencing frequent saltwater intrusion, storm surges, and beach erosion. Many residents are selling their properties and moving to higher ground.

2. Homestead

Once a haven for affordable housing, Homestead has become a victim of its own success. The town, which is located about 30 miles south of Miami, has grown rapidly in the past decade, attracting many newcomers from other parts of Florida and the country. However, this growth has also brought challenges, such as traffic congestion, overcrowding, crime, and pollution. Homestead is also vulnerable to hurricanes, as it was severely damaged by Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and Hurricane Ian in 2022. Many residents are looking for quieter and safer places to live.

3. Belle Glade

Belle Glade is a small town in the heart of the Everglades, known for its sugar cane production and high poverty rate. The town, which has a population of about 18,000, faces many social and environmental problems, such as unemployment, crime, disease, and water contamination. Belle Glade is also exposed to the threat of Lake Okeechobee, which is the largest freshwater lake in Florida and a source of drinking water for millions of people. The lake is polluted by agricultural runoff and prone to algae blooms and breaches of its aging dike. Many residents are leaving Belle Glade for better opportunities and living conditions.

4. Apalachicola

Apalachicola is a historic town on the Gulf Coast, famous for its oysters and seafood industry. The town, which has a population of about 2,300, relies heavily on the Apalachicola Bay and River for its economy and culture. However, the bay and river are in peril, due to overfishing, drought, and a decades-long water dispute with Georgia and Alabama. The oyster population has declined dramatically, affecting the livelihoods and well-being of many fishermen and their families. Many residents are moving away from Apalachicola in search of more stable and prosperous careers.

5. Everglades City

Everglades City is a small town on the edge of the Everglades National Park, known for its ecotourism and fishing opportunities. The town, which has a population of about 400, is surrounded by nature and wildlife, offering a unique and scenic lifestyle. However, Everglades City is also isolated and vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as sea level rise, storm surges, and saltwater intrusion. The town has been hit hard by several hurricanes, including Hurricane Ian, which flooded most of the town and damaged many buildings and infrastructure. Many residents are leaving Everglades City for more secure and accessible places to live.

6. St. Cloud

St. Cloud is a suburban town in Central Florida, near Orlando. The town, which has a population of about 54,000, has experienced rapid growth and development in the past decade, attracting many families and retirees. However, St. Cloud is also facing many challenges, such as traffic congestion, urban sprawl, noise pollution, and loss of green space. St. Cloud is also close to several theme parks, such as Disney World and Universal Studios, which generate a lot of tourism and revenue, but also a lot of noise, crowds, and waste. Many residents are leaving St. Cloud for more peaceful and natural places to live.

7. Fernandina Beach

Fernandina Beach is a coastal town on Amelia Island, near Jacksonville. The town, which has a population of about 12,000, has a rich history and a charming downtown, with many shops, restaurants, and attractions. Fernandina Beach is also known for its beaches, golf courses, and festivals, making it a popular tourist destination. However, Fernandina Beach is also facing many pressures, such as rising property taxes, gentrification, and overcrowding. Fernandina Beach is also at risk of coastal erosion and flooding, as it is located on a barrier island that is constantly changing and reshaping. Many residents are leaving Fernandina Beach for more affordable and stable places to live.

The Human Cost and Ripple Effects

The exodus of people from Florida is not only a personal decision, but also a social and economic phenomenon. It has implications for the state’s demographics, politics, culture, and environment. For instance, the departure of many residents could lead to a loss of tax revenue, a decline in public services, a shortage of skilled workers, and a decrease in diversity. It could also affect the state’s political balance, as Florida is a swing state that often decides the outcome of presidential elections. Moreover, the exodus of people from Florida could have ripple effects on other states and regions, as they receive and accommodate the influx of newcomers. This could create opportunities and challenges for the host communities, such as increased demand for housing, infrastructure, and services, as well as potential conflicts over resources, values, and identities.


Florida is a state of contrasts, offering both advantages and disadvantages for its residents. While many people still enjoy living in Florida, many others are choosing to leave for various reasons. The towns that are losing the most residents are those that are facing the most challenges, such as high costs, extreme weather, political turmoil, environmental degradation, and social problems. The exodus of people from Florida is a complex and dynamic phenomenon, with consequences for the state and the nation. Whether this trend will continue or reverse in the future remains to be seen, but it is clear that Florida is undergoing a significant transformation.

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