Thursday, August 20, 2009

Is it slightly less crowded around here, or what?

So, it seems.

According to ye olde statisticians, Florida's population actually declined by about 58,000 in 2008.

And, that wasn't a function of the death rate exceeding the birth rate. That's always been a constant down here!

What has changed is fewer people are moving here from other places to find work.

Makes sense since there are so many fewer jobs to be had.

Fewer people isn't always a bad thing. Just ask the folks over at Universal Studios. They have reported a substantial drop in attendance, but a nice increase in actual revenue at the same time. Turns out, when people don't feel crowded together and herded like cattle, they loosen-up ye old purse strings.

So, let the whole quality vs. quantity debate ensue.

As a student of local history, however, I have to point out that we have experienced blips like this in the past. Most recently, our population dropped in 1946, as military men and women went back home after serving in Florida during World War II.

And, back in 1894/5, the Great Freeze killed off so much of our citrus crop that many, many people simply abandoned their blighted groves to return to their old stomping grounds up north.

In both of those cases, the population decline was quickly followed by a boom.

I'm not saying that's going to happen again this time around. Frankly, I'm not sure I'd want it to happen. But, in the long-term Florida has so many powerful population magnets: fun, sun, and low (or no) taxes.

So, don't get used to all the extra elbow room in this little corner of heaven . . .

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