Given the cold and snow that this time of year brings to the Northeast, it’s not hard to imagine why people want to leave New York for other states. This past week, reports surfaced backing up the notion that while the state has a lot to offer, living in New York leaves some people cold — for reasons not limited to the wintry weather.
More people are leaving the Empire State than are coming in, according to the United Van Lines' annual study of customers' state-to-state moves. Among the company’s moves to and from New York last year, more than 60 percent involved people leaving New York. That's the third highest exodus, according to the report, with New Jersey and Illinois the only states showing a higher percentage.
Where are the people going? Oregon, South Carolina and North Carolina had the highest percentages of people moving in last year. Meanwhile, the Associated Press projects that at some point early this year, Florida will surpass New York as the third most populous state.
From high taxes to chilly weather, government regulations to gray skies, people cite multiple reasons for exiting New York.
Anna Claes said after she and her husband Ben Claes were married in 2006 in their hometown of Naples, they felt they needed to move out of state for job security.
“We felt Ben would not have an easy time finding a job,” said Anna of staying in New York. “We felt it would increase our chances if we lived somewhere else.” With thoughts toward a warmer climate, and more sunshine, they moved to Taylors, S.C., a city in Greenville County about twice the size of Canandaigua, in the northwest part of South Carolina.
Ben found work quickly with a commercial construction company, and after his first temporary job ended he was offered a supervisor position. Now with the same company, Fairview Residential Services, he is vice president. Anna is a real estate agent with Joy Real Estate, a job that offers the flexibility she wants as they raise their kids, Lily, 8, and Atticus, 5, she said. The market in Greenville County has been good for her business as well as Ben’s, she added — and they don’t feel the tax and regulatory pressures they would in New York.
Cal Cobb is another one sold on the South. A retiree and former president of the Farmington Chamber of Commerce, Cobb and his wife, Patricia, maintain a home in Farmington because of family ties to upstate but hope to eventually make their permanent home their residence in Daytona Beach, Fla.
“The ambiance is magnificent,” Cal said of Daytona. “The weather is pleasant year round.” Another reason to like Florida: Personal and property taxes. “Live here six months and one day, and you get the Homesteaders tax relief — it actually cuts property tax in half,” he said.
Page 2 of 2 - In addition, the cost of living overall is much lower in Florida, Cobb said. That goes for gas prices, food buys, hard goods, eating out and so forth. He also likes the attractions: the Daytona 500 NASCAR race; Bike Week, when 500,000 motorcyclists congregate each year; other races at the track that attract tens of thousands of tourists — “plus, of course, Daytona Beach is the world's most famous drive-on beach, which also was the site for the founding races of NASCAR,” he said.
Cobb said the tourism industry is strong and the "snowbirds" boost the economy seasonally, “enough to allow them to ride out the lean months.” He added that Florida's number-one attraction is the ocean and its hundreds of white, sandy beaches, accompanied by warmer climate: “All else exists on that simple fact as I see it," he said. "I used to be an avid snowmobiler, but as I aged, my thoughts drifted to Florida until we decided to buy a home after years of renting condos."
A fellow Florida fan is John Blankenberg, who grew up in Palmyra and then lived for years in Fairport before moving to The Villages, a retirement community an hour north of Orlando in central Florida. After retiring in 1995 from his business in plumbing, heating and air-conditioning, Blankenberg and his wife, Mary Ellen, moved to Florida in 2009.
The main attraction? Activities such as swimming and golfing, John said, plus the weather: When the temperature dips below 50, he said, that is really cold.