(FLORIDA) — Kissimmee-St. Cloud, 30 miles south of Orlando, was the top American city with the most do-it-yourself movers in U-Haul® trucks in 2021. In fact, Florida was the fastest-growing state in 2022, per a Census Bureau report. From July 2021 to July 2022, Florida’s population grew to over 22 million people, according to new Census Bureau data. The 1.9% increase was the largest of any US state over this period, just exceeding Idaho and South Carolina — which saw their populations grow by 1.8% and 1.7%, respectively.
“While Florida has often been among the largest-gaining states, this was the first time since 1957 that Florida has been the state with the largest percent increase in population,” Kristie Wilder, a demographer in the Population Division at the Census Bureau, said in a press release. The Census Bureau’s latest estimates show that a net total of about 320,000 Americans moved into Florida between 2021 and 2022, the largest number among the 49 states and Washington, DC.
Kissimmee-St. Cloud, which ranked second for growth in 2019 and 2020, earned the No. 1 spot in 2021. It is one of 10 Florida markets among the top 25 growth cities, according to the annual U-Haul Growth Index.
Growth cities are calculated by the net gain of one-way U-Haul trucks entering a city/market versus leaving that city/market in a calendar year. Migration trends data is compiled from well over 2 million one-way U-Haul truck customer transactions that occur annually. Neighboring cities in U-Haul markets are often packaged together for migration trends purposes.
“Florida remains competitive, especially during the COVID era,” said Miguel Caminos, U-Haul Company of Orlando president. “We’ve pushed through and business is thriving. It’s not just people moving to Florida, but businesses moving because they see better opportunities here.”
Other Florida cities in the top 25 are: Fort Myers-North Fort Myers; Clermont; Sarasota-Bradenton; Daytona Beach; Port St. Lucie; Brandon-Riverview; and Ocala.
Arrivals of U-Haul trucks into Kissimmee-St. Cloud climbed 31% while departures rose 29% as overall moving traffic spiked in the market. Arriving trucks accounted for 53.2% of all one-way U-Haul traffic in Kissimmee-St. Cloud.
“Florida has always been a destination location for retirees, but more so (in 2021), I think a lot of people took early retirements and decided to come down,” said Mario Martinez, U-Haul Area District Vice President of Southern Florida.
“There are many other reasons why people are coming to Florida, and have come in previous years. We have lower cost (of living) than other states. There is no state income tax – that’s a huge factor. The warm weather. Basically, we have summer weather all year long. Attractions. Our beaches. The activities. There’s just so much to do. Jobs that are available play a very important part in people moving into Florida. And during this pandemic for the past two years, we’ve also pretty much been open the entire time. This state has kept on going, and (2021) has just been busy all the way around.”