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The Future of Florida’s Growth – Net Migration

By Erica Plemmons

Florida Realtors economist: Economists predict there will be an additional 1.4 million Floridians by 2025 – a good omen for real estate. However, not all of the state’s counties will see equal growth over the coming years.

ORLANDO, Fla. – What will Florida’s population be in 2025? Estimates from both Florida’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research (EDR) and the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) anticipate over 23 million people will reside in the Sunshine State.

That’s a 7% increase from their 2020 population estimate of 21.6 million (created before the release of the official Census count) and good news for real estate – increased population generates demand for housing.

There’s insight to draw from each of the different, but similarly trending, estimates. EDR provides breakdowns into the components of population: net natural increase (births-deaths) and net migration, while BEBR presents a projection for each Florida county. Before we look ahead, let’s revisit the past. Since 2010, Florida added nearly 2.9 million people. Of that growth, approximately 10% of the gain happened through natural increase. The remaining 90% was attributed to net migration; more residents come to Florida than leave, and the share of growth due to net migration increased over the years.

Now we go back, back to the future. EDR provides a bleak picture for natural increase. It anticipates the number of deaths will be higher than births. Still, net migration will more than cover the losses from natural increase through 2039, where the estimates stop.

Population gains will not be distributed evenly across counties. Using BEBR’s baseline estimates, which they believe generally provide the most accurate forecast, rural counties are expected to have less growth than other areas of the state – a continuation of a familiar trend. On the other hand, many counties are predicted to see double-digit increases.

Top 10 Population Growth Counties (2020-2025)

  1. Sumter: 18.7%

  2. Osceola: 17.2%

  3. St. John’s: 16.3%

  4. Walton: 15.0%

  5. Flagler: 12.4%

  6. Lake: 11.6%

  7. Nassau: 11.1%

  8. Lee: 10.5%

  9. St. Lucie: 10.4%

  10. Orange: 10.1%

BEBR estimates county growth through 2045. Sumter (68%) and Osceola (66%) still achieve the highest gains among Florida counties.

While reviewing your business plan, population estimates can serve as an informative piece of the puzzle. BEBR incorporates past estimation errors to calculate low and high estimates. The range is useful to evaluate potential diversions that may reflect reality once the population is known.

Whether you’re in a high growth area or a low growth area, your next step is finding the source of the population gain and whether these new residents could be your next client. Geographic mobility data can be found on the Census website and county-to-county movement is available through the Census Flows Mapper.

Erica Plemmons is an economist and Florida Realtors Director of Housing Statistics

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