Florida is now the fastest-growing state in the Union, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s estimates.
Between 2021 and 2022, Florida’s population increased by 1.9% to 22,244,823.
The last time the Sunshine State earned the distinction was in 1957.
Idaho, the previous fastest-growing state, has a rather small population of 1,893,410 people, roughly the population of Broward County.
Florida’s population growth took off in the postwar 1950s, a boom fueled, in part, by the more widespread availability of the air conditioner.
During that decade, Florida grew faster than the national average, which fluctuated between 1.5% and 2%. At the time, Florida was exploding with a 6.1% average that peaked at 8% in both 1956 and 1957. If the 8% growth rate had continued, the state would have doubled its population every nine years.
From 1960 to 1989, Florida grew at around 3%, twice the national average.
Growth has generally slowed over the decades, and hit its lowest point in 2020, at about .5%. The current uptick brings us back to rates akin to the 1990s and early 2000s, when the growth rate averaged 1.7%, well above the national average then of 1%.
All those new Floridians have to fit into a limited amount of space. Florida’s population density has increased by 800%, skyrocketing from 51.7 people per square mile in 1950, when we were the 29th most densely populated state, to 401.4 per square mile in 2020.
Florida’s population is nine times what it was in 1946. We are currently the 10th most densely populated state. Alaska, not surprisingly, is the least densely populated, with 1.3 people per square mile, and New Jersey is the most, with 1,263 people per square mile.
While our population rate was at its lowest in 2020, during the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 and 2022 saw an influx of new residents from other areas of the country, and the real estate market reflected that change.
“I’m amazed by the number of New Yorkers who are moving here permanently,” Craig Studnicky, CEO and president of the Related/ISG brokerage firm, told the Sun Sentinel last year. “They’re not just buying second homes. … It’s the most dynamic market I’ve ever seen. These are prominent homeowners moving here permanently. I’ve never seen this in South Florida before.”
The migration resulted in very low housing supplies and thus higher prices. The market has since cooled, in part, because of higher interest rates.