Sep 19, 2023 - News

Tampa Bay and Florida get richer and more popular, census data shows

Change in estimated population, 2021–2022
Data: U.S. Census; Map: Alice Feng/Axios

Despite being a hotbed for controversy — and just plain hot — Florida is still a top state to move to, according to census data released last week.

State of play: Florida saw the nation's highest population percentage increase, with Tampa Bay fueling that move. The median income also rose statewide.

By the numbers: The state's population increased by more than 463,000 residents to over 22 million people — a 2.1% rise from 2021 to 2022.

  • Tampa Bay saw a 2.2% increase over the same time period moving from 3,219,514 residents to 3,290,730.

Why it matters: The Census Bureau's American Community Survey is one of the best resources available for a regularly published quantified look at myriad facets of American life, down to a remarkably local level, writes Alex Fitzpatrick, author of Axios What's Next.

The big picture: Florida, Idaho (+2%) and South Carolina (+1.8%) saw the highest rates of population growth between 2021-2022.

  • New York (-0.8%), Louisiana (-0.7%) and Illinois (-0.7%) saw the biggest decreases.
  • Population is affected by in- and out-migration, but also births and deaths.
Change in the share of Tampa Bay metro area households, by income
U.S. Census; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

Plus: The median household income across the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area rose 3.5% between 2019 and 2022, per ACS data.

  • Tampa Bay's median income was $69,290 in 2022, up from $66,938 in 2019, adjusted for inflation.

By the numbers: The share of Tampa Bay residents making making over $100,000 increased from 26% to 34% between 2019 and 2022.

The intrigue: The COVID-19 pandemic "changed the geography of where money is made in the United States," Axios Macro's Neil Irwin reports, as many higher-income Americans decamped from cities like New York and San Francisco to "rural and exurban places and popular vacation destinations."

Of note: Because the latest ACS release is based on 2022 data, it's capturing what some call the "late pandemic era," when many elements of normality returned but the pandemic still loomed in the background, affecting many aspects of life.

What we're watching: Florida is still a pandemic protocol outlier, recently becoming the first state to discourage COVID boosters for people under 65.

  • Fans of Gov. Ron DeSantis and his extra-lax COVID rules may keep moving in.
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