Retiring Americans are flocking to Florida while California and New York are losing their grip on resident seniors, according to a new study.
HireAHelper, an online marketplace for finding moving services, recently released its third annual retiree migration study, which analyzes Census Bureau data to determine how many retirees moved in the last year, where they moved, and why.
It found that more than 338,000 Americans moved to retire in 2023, an increase of 44% compared to 2022.
“One of the reasons that 2023 was a big year for retirement moves has to do with the fact that housing markets have been cooling off, so home prices are a little bit lower even with mortgage rates up,” HireAHelper spokesperson and consumer advocate Miranda Marquit told Fox News Digital.
“The sheer cooling off of these prices make them seem more affordable to folks, and so they’re ready to do that. Inflation has been slowing down,” she continued. “And then on top of that, Social Security benefits have been increasing because those Social Security benefits come with a cost-of-living increase.”
Marquit believes these things combined offer Americans “a little bit more flexibility and leeway to consider” a move during retirement.
Once a retiree decides to move, it’s time to select a destination, and Florida was the top choice for retirees who crossed state lines in 2023, with the Sunshine State attracting 11% of them.
“You have good weather. It’s warm, it’s sunny. During the hot, humid months, you can turn on the AC, so you have that. But then also, Florida is generally considered a lower cost-of-living state when compared to some other states,” Marquit said.
“You don’t have to worry about an income tax. So, your retirement income is not going to be taxed while you’re in retirement. And then the other thing is that Florida is usually seen as one of the states with a lower property tax… even though you’re paying property taxes there, it’s usually lower,” she said. “You’ve got this mixture of things.”
In addition to weather and lower costs, Florida is also thought to be a great state for older Americans to easily find their health needs because the state has been a top destination for retirees for so long.
“You’re going to have access to the health care things that you want,” Marquit said.
While Florida was the most popular destination with 11% of retirees flocking there, other states such as South Carolina also attracted older Americans.
South Carolina ranked No. 2 with 10% of all cross-state retirement moves in 2023.
New Jersey and Texas each accounted for roughly 6% of such moves, while Washington ranked fifth with more than 5% of retirement moves that crossed state lines in 2023.
When it comes to where retirees fled, California topped the list with 18% of all out-of-state movers ditching the Golden State.
New York ranked No. 2, with 11%, meaning nearly 30% of all retirees who moved to a new state left either the Empire State or California.
Virginia finished third with 6.5% of migrant retirees ditching the state, followed by Ohio and Pennsylvania at roughly 5% apiece.
When examining which metropolitan areas across the country were most popular, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area of Florida topped the list with over 12% of retirees flocking to Dade and Broward counties.
“Our retirement survey shows that about 23% of all Americans moving to retire early were early retirees aged under 55. So, if I had to take a guess, I think those things have to do with each other. Miami-Fort Lauderdale is considered a top destination for entertainment,” Marquit said. “They want that warm weather. They want the relative low cost of living to where they might have been living before, and they want access to those entertainment options.”
El Paso, Texas ranked No. 2 with 8% of retirees heading there.
“We found those folks who moved to El Paso said they did so because of the cheaper cost of living, so they could still get access to warmer weather with a cheaper cost of living,” Marquit said. “Kansas City, Missouri was also high on the list, and folks who moved to Kansas City also cited a cheaper cost of living.”
But not every retiree is concerned about finances, and a pair of California metropolitan areas were popular despite the state being unpopular overall.
“Some of the top metro destinations in our survey were, in fact in California. Expensive places in California, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Rosa were two top retirement destinations for cross-country moves,” Marquit said.
“One of the things we found when we were digging into this data, and it also applies to Miami, which is one of the more expensive places in Florida… we found that the folks that were moving to these expensive areas were folks who happen to have a higher amount of savings and pensions,” she continued. “So, they had the money to move to these expensive places.”
The study found that 16% of retirees moved to be closer to family, 11% cited health reasons, 8% wanted better housing, 6% wanted a more desirable neighborhood and 6% wanted more affordable housing.
While many Americans are ditching blue states for red states, Marquit noted that politics did not come up as a top factor.
“Really what it comes down to is folks are looking at their family, their health, and their finances, and they’re saying, ‘Where can I go that’s going to fit my needs in these areas? And that’s where they’re retiring,” she said.
HireAHelper used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey and its Annual Social and Economic Supplements for 2023 for the study.