From January 2012 to February 2013, the top results were family/marriage (29 percent), job (22 percent) and climate/weather (18.9 percent). The “other” category, which includes reasons such as retirement, makes up 14.6 percent of results.
Jobs are the main reason people relocate to Florida in their 20s, 30s and 40s, said Stan Smith, professor of economics and director of the Population Program in the Bureau of Economic and Business Research (BEBR) at the University of Florida. For those in their 50s and 60s, climate is the No. 1 reason. Family reasons are a factor in basically each age group, he said.
“Freedom” itself is not a category, though 2.1 percent said they moved for the low cost of living and 1 percent said political reasons.
Florida’s cost of living used to be substantially lower than the rest of the states 30 or 40 years ago, but the state moved to the middle of the pack in recent years, Smith said.
Finally, the conservative Mercatus Center at George Mason University releases an annual report examining freedom in each state, using a comprehensive checklist that looks at measures such as taxes and government spending, the liability system, property rights and even the cost of throwing a bachelor party. Florida falls in the middle of the pack at No. 23.
Florida ranks well above average for education and its fiscal policies, but the state lost standing for its debt burden and restrictions on civil liberties. The center recommended spending less on services such as police and fire, airports, parks, and sanitation and ending mandatory minimum sentences for victimless crimes.
There’s no real evidence to suggest it’s freedom — as in the business and tax climate — that is prompting people to move to Florida, as Weatherford says. Survey data shows most people move here because of family, jobs and weather.
And in fact, when you look at Florida history, the state has seen similar population growth under both Republicans and Democrats.
Therefore, we rate Weatherford’s claim Mostly False.