Florida’s population is anticipated to grow somewhat more slowly

Florida population growth slows – Florida Welcomes You Sign – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by Sean Pavone

The Sunshine State’s population growth is coming to a halt as deaths outpace births and as a rush of people moving from other states due to the COVID-19 pandemic slows down.

Still, with approximately 22.25 million residents as of April 1, Florida continues to see an increase in population size that is roughly equivalent to adding a city the size of Orlando each year, according to a state report published on Tuesday.

The Demographic Estimating Conference, a report by economists, revised Florida’s growth rate to 1.29 percent for the period through April 1, 2027. The conference had estimated the growth rate at 1.41 percent in December.

Amy Baker, the coordinator of the Legislature’s Office of Economic & Demographic Research, stated that the state is “just halfway” through the retirement period of Baby Boomers, which make up a large number of people moving down from other states. Meanwhile, younger generations are delaying having children.

“And when they have children, they’re having fewer children,” Baker said during a July 18 meeting of the conference. “That’s not a Florida statistic. That one’s national.”

During the past two years, Florida saw a major increase in people moving into the state from states that maintained COVID-19 health-safety measures and lockdown restrictions longer than Florida. But such increases have been offset by “more deaths and fewer births than previously forecast,” according to the report.

The “natural increase is expected to remain negative throughout the forecast horizon as deaths continue to outpace births,” the summary said.

Figures from the Florida Department of Health used by the economists indicated that deaths surpassed births by nearly 45,000 in 2021. The state had totaled 106,000 deaths and 96,000 births through June 22 this year.

“The births were lower than what we were expecting back in December, and the deaths are higher than what we were expecting, which obviously pushes down our natural increase,” Pam Schenker, who handles census issues and demographics for the Office of Economic & Demographic Research, said during the meeting on July 18.

According to the forecast, the pandemic-driven migration from other states is slowing down.

“The spike was related to COVID because you have fewer people moving out of the state than moving into the state,” Holger Ciupalo, policy coordinator for the governor’s Office of Policy and Budget, said. “As a result of that, you see the spikes for two years. And that goes back down with other states being as open as Florida.”

According to the revised projections, the state will add 808 people each day, or 294,756 net new residents during the next five years. This is below the December prediction of 849 new residents each day, or 309,867 new residents annually. Although the wider Orlando metro area has a far higher population than the city of Orlando alone, the figures are comparable.

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