New Yorkers keep moving south, and a record number of them are getting Florida licenses

People from New York are flooding into Florida because of COVID, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight.

A Post analysis of data from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shows that a record number of people from the Empire State switched to driver's licenses from the Sunshine State last month.

The numbers show that 5,838 New Yorkers made the switch in August, which is the most ever for a single month in the city's history.

So far this year, 41,885 New Yorkers who moved south have turned in their licenses. This is a very fast rate that points to a new annual record.

Some people thought that the number of people leaving would slow down when COVID went away and the cities reopened.

But the most recent numbers show otherwise.

During the pandemic, well-known fashion designer Alvin Valley moved his main home to Palm Beach. He said that the number of people moving there has been "staggering."

A record 5,838 New Yorkers switched their driver’s licenses to Florida in August, according to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles data.
A record 5,838 New Yorkers switched their driver’s licenses to Florida in August, according to Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles data.
AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

He said, "First it was the billionaires." "After that, it was the rich who followed them. The middle class is now here."

Valley, who has already opened one Palm Beach boutique and is in the process of opening a second, said that the move to Florida was mostly about improving the quality of life.

"Many families just started to feel like New York was becoming impossible to live in," said Valley. "Especially for younger couples in their thirties and forties who have children. The subway is not something they want to do. It's a matter of safety and schools."

Renowned fashion designer Alvin Valley said many former New Yorkers are leaving the state due to quality of life issues.
Renowned fashion designer Alvin Valley said many former New Yorkers are leaving the state due to quality of life issues.
Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage

A retired Lieutenant from the NYPD who moved to Jacksonville with his family last year told the Post that New Yorkers still have a lot of reasons to leave.

John Macari said that people were leaving because of COVID-19 rules, rising crime, and boring schools.

He said that making public employees get vaccines made thousands of working-class New Yorkers unhappy with city government and look for ways to leave.

"When you add that to the fact that crime is getting worse and our elected officials aren't doing their jobs, a lot of people just don't see a future for themselves in New York City," Macari said.

The man from Brooklyn runs a taxi service in Jacksonville with retired NYPD officers and hosts a podcast with former officers. He says he talks to friends every day who want to leave.

Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, has used the state's newfound popularity as a political weapon in his long-running fights with officials from New York and California.

A total of 41,885 New Yorkers have switched to Florida licenses so far in 2022.
A total of 41,885 New Yorkers have switched to Florida licenses so far in 2022.
Shutterstock / Katherine Welles

In April, New York City Mayor Eric Adams put up digital billboards in Florida to try to get New Yorkers to move back to their home state.

License switching is a proxy for a permanent or long-term move and shows how people are moving within their own country. It was not clear right away how many Floridians have changed their licenses to ones from New York.

In August, California also set a new record for the number of license swaps it did with Florida. With 3,059 swaps, it went over the 3,000 mark for the first time.

The same was true last month in New Jersey, where a record 3,259 licenses were switched.

The data shows that a lot of other states, like Washington, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, set new records for the number of driver's license applications in Florida.

In 2022, 321,881 requests to trade licenses from other states have been sent to Florida.

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