From the Windy City to the Sunshine State
For a long time now, Florida has been a safe haven for retirees. But they are not the only ones chasing after the southern sun. Young adults in their 20s and 30s have been moving there as well. Freezing temperatures and bone-chilling winds force Chicagoans to leave the city for the warmer climate of the Sunshine State.
In Florida, unlike in Chicago, you will experience summer temperatures all year round. But, also be prepared for extreme heat and high humidity. Ironically, Florida is not all sunshine either. The state has 17 out of the top 30 cities for lightning, making it the lightning capital of the U.S. And hurricanes have become a regular occurrence across the peninsula. All that still doesn’t stop Chicagoans from making their way to the Sunshine State.
Meet the Floridians
Once in Florida, you’ll be surprised at the number of people who are not permanent residents. The state has become a real melting pot of folks from all over the country, and the world, mainly thanks to the snowbirds. You can search for snowbirds communities online and start making connections before you head down to the Sunshine State. And even if you are moving to Florida on a permanent basis, you may still find valuable information within the snowbird communities.
The two Floridas
People who have visited Florida confirm that there are differences in the atmosphere in the two regions, too. Usually, the panhandle is considered socially conservative and more economically disadvantaged. The northwest Florida’s economy depends primarily on military bases, beach tourism, agriculture and fishing. By contrast, central and southern Florida has theme parks, NASA and a very strong defense contracting industry. Naturally, this defines the diversity in people, too. Their mentality and attitude towards life is rather different, so make sure you do your research in advance. Visit the two Floridas, meet locals and get a feel of the environment before you decide to settle.
Cost of Living
In moving to Florida from Chicago, you may be able to afford a bigger house as real estate prices are lower than in the Windy City. Unless, of course, you chose Miami to be your new home. Another perk of being a Florida resident is the absence of personal income tax, and lower sales and property taxes.
Economy and Employment
The state’s economy is mainly fueled by trade, financial services, manufacturing, construction, and transportation services. Tourism keeps thriving and contributing to the economy as well.
Job opportunities in the Sunshine State are also abundant with open job positions in various industries. The state is also one of the best states for starting a business. So if you plan to open your own company and be your own boss, Florida is one of the ideal states to do so.
Moving to Florida with a car
If you are planning on one of the following:
- spending more than six consecutive months in Florida
- accepting employment in the state
- registering to vote
- enrolling your kids to one of Florida’s public schools
- filing for a homestead exemption
you will be considered a resident of the state. Hence you’ll need to get a Florida drivers license. You will have 30 days from establishing your Sunshine State residency to apply for the new document. Registering your out-of-state vehicle in Florida is also a must, and you only get 10 days to complete it once you have officially moved. Visit Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Administration for exact vehicle registration and Florida drivers license requirements.