By Patrick Galvan, Storage.com
Finding your place in this world can be pretty difficult, not to mention how hard it can be to move there. Storage.com is here to help with the moving process, either by providing storage or helping you find the ideal place to call home.
Florida recently dethroned New York as the third most populous state, and several Florida cities were ranked by the U.S. Census among the 20 fastest-growing cities in America. Here are the six fastest-growing cities and metropolitan areas in Florida and why people are moving there.
1. THE VILLAGES
A good portion of Florida’s incoming seasonal and permanent residents are snowbirds and retirees wanting to escape the frigid winters found up north. So it’s no surprise that The Villages, the state’s most popular retirement community, has become not only Florida’s fastest-growing city but the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the nation overall! Retirees adore The Villages’ quiet neighborhoods, minimal crime rate, numerous golf courses, and rec centers. And even though it’s larger than Manhattan, traffic here is less noisy and cumbersome—everyone gets around via golf carts!
2. CAPE CORAL – FORT MYERS
Located amid a series of canals on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metropolitan area is an alluring prospect for people who want to live on or by the water. The extremely affordable house market is hard to resist, as is the cost of living, which is approximately 5% below the national average. Fort Myers’ downtown area is also constantly developing, increasing local activity with the opening of new restaurants and retail outlets.
3. NAPLES – IMMOKALEE – MARCO ISLAND
Naples, Marco Island, and the unincorporated Immokalee are located in Collier County and provide excellent vistas complete with white sandy beaches on the Gulf of Mexico. However, there’s much more to these cities than meets the eye. In 2014, Naples was named the top city in the country for future job growth by Forbes. Work is plentiful, particularly in the retail and hospitality sectors. With an unemployment rate of 5.3%, Naples is abundant with career opportunities.
4. ORLANDO – KISSIMMEE – SANFORD
Orlando is well known as home to major tourist attractions such as Disney World and SeaWorld, but the immense population growth of recent years demonstrates this metropolitan area is much more than a vacation spot. Whether you want to live in the hustle and bustle of downtown or in a quiet surrounding neighborhood, this Orange County locale can satisfy people in many walks of life, hence why Forbes named Orlando one of the happiest cities for work in America! The city also sees a regular influx of college students, as the University of Central Florida has the largest undergraduate enrollment and second largest total enrollment numbers in the nation.
5. NORTH PORT – SARASOTA – BRADENTON
The North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton metropolitan area is bustling with neighborhood friendliness. North Port, for instance, has an annual event called North Port Newcomer Day to honor new and long-term residents alike, as well as provide insight and information for people considering a move to the city. The area is attractive to many with a low cost of living and multiple housing options to accommodate various living needs. Sarasota has been ranked by various publications such as Money Magazine and USA Today for titles such as “Best Small City in the United States” and “Great City for Retirees.” It’s also considered the state’s cultural capital due to its numerous opera houses, symphonies, art galleries, and residing artists!
6. PANAMA CITY
Gayle Oberst, mayor of Panama City, has proclaimed that her city has “has more than doubled in population in the past 10 to 15 years and yet we still experience that ‘beach attitude’ where you can watch the sunsets and sunrises; stroll on the beach; play in the water; or amble through acres of beautiful wooded natural Florida.” Between July 2013 and July 2014, Panama City’s population shot up by 4,158 people. Panama City is also home to the Naval Support Activity Panama City Naval Base, so the city receives a sizable number of incoming military personnel, as well.