How much must you pay to live in the Sunshine State?

A recent email request from a visitor to this site prompted me to look into the question. I am certainly no economist. I researched the web looking for data. Other information is from my own experience.

The answer depends on where you want to live in the state. Just as is the case when buying real estate, location is everything. The data below is from Career  Trends website.


The overall cost of living in Florida is rated from about 5% lower to 10%higher than the national average. Just where you decide to put down roots makes a big difference in that figure. The more desirable locations naturally have a higher cost of living. Housing, food, energy and medical care all cost more along the coasts of the state. Move inland, the rates drop.

For instance, it will cost you almost 20% less to live in rural Florida than it would to live along the Gulf Coast. But the interior of the state does not offer all that much in the way of things to do unless you are into farming and ranching. For the most part, it costs more to live on the Gulf of Mexico coast than it does to live on the Atlantic Coast.

The cost of health care is about 25% higher than the national average, while the cost of taxes is substantially lower.

Car insurance rates are higher here as is wind insurance for your home. Read more about home insurance costs.

As of this July 2016, the unemployment rate is 59% in the state; the minimum wage is $8.05.

Food prices in our area are substantially more than what they are in our home state of Pennsylvania. On a recent trip north, we went to a grocery store to purchase a beef roast, potatoes and rolls. The cost here in Florida would have been close to $50.00; in PA it was $28.00. Eating in restaurants is pretty much the same, especially in eateries in popular tourist spots.

For many items, the price drops once the snow-birds (the winter residents) leave. Restaurants start to offer discounts on meals, the grocery stores offer deals on food and many entertainment venues cut their rates. While I am not a golfer, I do see the ads for reduced fees on many golf courses during the summer season. Even with a discount, I can’t imagine golfing in the heat of the day with 90 degree temperatures and 80% humidity.

We moved to Florida to escape the cold northern winters and have not regretted it. In our area, the cost of living is more than what we had in Pennsylvania, but the quality of life is so much better. As in most things in life, you get what you pay for. If you are considering moving to Florida, do you own research, please don’t rely strictly on what you see on the Internet. Take a trip to the state and drive around, ask questions of the locals. Most people have moved here from another state, they are pretty willing to share their experiences.



FOG sez: I never took up golf; there are too many other ways to get frustrated in life. Besides, I don’t like the goofy clothes they wear.