The Wealth Effect: Money Moves


Florida is enjoying a positive net inflow of new residents, especially those who are wealthy and high earners, from across the country and world.

ORLANDO – Florida’s reputation as an affordable place to retire has long attracted people of all classes to the Sunshine State when their working days are done. Florida was also an acceptable place to earn a modest living while enjoying the incredible amenities and weather. The perception has long been that working in coastal employment hubs offered the best shot for those looking to climb the corporate and thus financial ladder.

Florida has worked hard to change the economy first, and its perception of it second. Investing in a variety of industries, supporting the advancement of quality education and overall raising the standard of what businesses could do here has transformed the state’s economy. It only took years of marketing and a pandemic to really rise to the top of the list of places to go for high-income earners.

Florida was certainly a net recipient of in-migration of all kinds during the pandemic. The latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show Florida’s population grew by 1.6% between 2022-2023, the second highest rate among all 50 states. That equates to about 1,000 net new Florida residents each day or 365,205 total, according to U.S. Census Bureau vintage 2023 national and state population estimates.

While that trend has slowed somewhat as the drivers of migration associated specifically with the pandemic (open versus closed economy and schools, for example) have waned, Florida is still enjoying a trend of positive net inflow of people from throughout the country and the world.

In-migration cuts across all types of people, but we’re starting to see not just an influx of all people, but specifically, wealthy people and high-wage earners. To get a better sense of this trend, we took a deep dive into the data collected by the Internal Revenue Service comparing 2021 to 2022 returns. If someone moved between those years and between states, where they moved from and to were captured, along with their reported income. This allowed us to get a sense of where working age people are moving, and how much they are earning.


For this analysis of high-wage earners, we wanted to look at two subgroups of working age people, specifically those starting out in their careers, or young professionals, ages 26–34, and those in their prime working years, ages 35–54. We identified high-wage earners as those who earned over $200,000.

Between 2021 and 2022, Florida had a net in-flow of over 1,700 young professionals who earned over $200,000—the highest in the nation. Texas and Colorado took the second and third spots, respectively. For those in their prime working years, Florida had a net in-flow of over 10,600 high-wage earner, according to Census data.

California and New York were the top two states to lose high wage earners in their prime working years. This tracks with migration patterns of all people in those states, with these states reporting the highest gross out-flow between 2021 and 2022—at nearly 396,000 and 284,000 respectively. For young professionals, California and Illinois saw the highest losses, with Illinois experiencing a gross out-flow of almost 155,000 people across all age and income groups from 2021 to 2022.

Wealth migration typically was the story for retirees who cash out of expensive coastal areas elsewhere and live large in Florida’s sunshine during their golden years. Hot locations for these people included the Naples and Palm Beach area, as well as parts of the Panhandle and northeast Florida. These areas catered to this demographic who required healthcare and wealth management services as top priorities.

With wealth also coming in at younger ages, that demographic has different priorities. They need schools and offices, daycares and business centers. This younger age group has the potential to change the economies around them for a long time. Understanding this potential shift in clientele is key to focusing messaging and services to this younger and wealthier demographic.

Jennifer Warner is an economist and the Director of Economic Development

© 2024 Florida Realtors®

©Florida Realtors®

Source link