The pandemic appears to have driven an exodus from New York to Florida with more than 33,000 New Yorkers heading south for more sun, looser COVID-19 restrictions and cheaper taxes, over the past year. 

According to data from the Florida's Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles 33,565 people from New York applied for Florida drivers licenses from September 2020 through March 2021. 

The number represents an increase of 32percent over the previous year, when 25,370 New Yorkers applied for Florida IDs. 

While the pandemic appears to have driven the uptick in transplants, Florida has long been a popular destination for New Yorkers, more than from any other state, with data from April 2019 to April 2021 showing 104,960 New Yorkers trading their New York drivers licenses for Florida ones. 

Florida was the number one destination for Americans moving during the pandemic, according to a study by Move.org, while New York was the second most popular place in which Americans were seeking to leave

Florida was the number one destination for Americans moving during the pandemic, according to a study by Move.org, while New York was the second most popular place in which Americans were seeking to leave 

New Yorker Sara Guando moved to Tampa in February due to pandemic concerns. She was among the 33,565 who fled the state for Florida during the pandemic, according to Florida DMV data
New Yorker Beth Goldin plans to move to Florida in October

New Yorker Sara Guando (left) moved to Tampa in February due to pandemic concerns. She was among the 33,565 who fled the state for Florida during the pandemic, according to Florida DMV data, and may stay there. Beth Goldin (right) plans to move to Florida in October

Data from the Florida DMV appears to show a mass exodus of people from New York who exchanged their New York drivers licenses for Florida ones. Movers can be seen in Manhattan in September

Data from the Florida DMV appears to show a mass exodus of people from New York who exchanged their New York drivers licenses for Florida ones. Movers can be seen in Manhattan in September

New Jersey came in second with 53,901, with Georgia, Illinois and California trailing with 48,143, 46,042 and 43,801 respectively, according to an analysis by the New York Post

The mass transplantation appears to have contributed to a population surge in the Sunshine State, with its Office of Economic and Demographic Research estimating that throughout 2020 it had added 387,479 new residents, a 1.83percent change from the previous year when it had added 368,021 to its population. 

The state's annual Demographic Estimating Conference said the pandemic had led it to revise its population growth estimates upward, which it said was, 'supported by an apparent shift in lifestyle preferences away from the more dense urban areas found elsewhere.' 

While the pandemic has prompted a large number of moves, New York's high cost of living also appears to be a driver of people down south. 

Sara Guando, 34, who is originally from Ridge, Long Island, told ABC7 that she moved to Tampa in February, but that the cheaper locale might prompt her to stay there. 

'I don't feel like I'm living paycheck to paycheck as much as I did on Long Island,' she said. 

The pandemic appears to have driven population surge in the Sunshine State, with its Office of Economic and Demographic Research estimating that throughout 2020 it had added 387,479 new residents, a 1.83percent change from the previous year

The pandemic appears to have driven population surge in the Sunshine State, with its Office of Economic and Demographic Research estimating that throughout 2020 it had added 387,479 new residents, a 1.83percent change from the previous year

Millennials appeared to make up the bulk of people moving throughout the pandemic

Millennials appeared to make up the bulk of people moving throughout the pandemic 

A third of people who moved during 2020 said it was due to the coronvirus pandemic

A third of people who moved during 2020 said it was due to the coronvirus pandemic 

Huntington, Long Island resident Beth Goldin told the station she too planned to move to Florida in October. Her reasons were simple.

'Taxes are better,' she said. 'No more winter. I've already given away all my shovels.'

Bonnie Heatzig a real estate agent in South Florida, said that the largest influx of New Yorkers looking to move there came at the end of 2020.

'New York was closed, New Jersey was closed. There were people who were saying, "I really want to come down to Florida. I want to accelerate my plans."'

The most common buyer from New York, she said, were from Manhattan, with many still keep a second home in the city, but some are seeking to make Florida their permanent home. 

For 2020 the website Move.org, ranked Florida the most popular destination in the country, according to a study based off of US Census data and a Pollfish survey of 700 Americans. 

New York, on the other hand, ranked the second highest state where people were leaving for other locales, trailing only behind California. 

Nearly a third of the people it surveyed said the move was prompted by coronavirus concerns, and the largest demographic of people who moved were those in the 25-34 age range, with 33percent of the respondents, with the second largest in the 35-44 age range at 32percent.  

For New Yorkers, in particular young ones, the county of Palm Beach was by far the most popular destination, receiving 14,045 New York transplants from 2019 to 2021, with Broward and Miami-Dade counties trailing with 8,422 and 8,033 respectively, the Post also reported. 

Palm Beach (pictured) has been the most popular destination for New Yorkers migrating south

Palm Beach (pictured) has been the most popular destination for New Yorkers migrating south 

By late 2020, Palm Beach had seen a dramatic transformation from the influx of New Yorkers, with many appearing to be young families  

Many of those moving to county are young families no longer interested in the complications of living in New York City at such a perilous time, with a Sotheby's Realtor claiming in December that the median age in Palm Beach was 'dropping faster than SpaghettiOs from a toddler's highchair,' Bloomberg reported.  

The changes taking place in Palm Beach are echoing the changes the Hamptons saw in the 1980s as finance workers began to shape the region into what it looks like today.

Sarah Wetenhall, president of the Colony Hotel, and Andrew Wetenhall, a finance worker, are native New Yorkers who moved to Palm Beach in March. 

Sarah Wetenhall is redesigning her Colony Hotel in Palm Beach to accommodate New Yorkers

Sarah Wetenhall is redesigning her Colony Hotel in Palm Beach to accommodate New Yorkers

During the coronavirus pandemic, Sarah Wetenhall even redesigned parts of the Colony Hotel to make it more friendly to the influx of families moving to the area, adding de Gournay wallpaper and making some of the furniture stain-proof.

Another New Yorker who recently moved from New York to Palm Beach is Anna Raytcheva, who used to work at Citigroup before starting her own hedge fund. 

'Without the pandemic, it wouldn't have been as easy to make the move,' Raytcheva told Bloomberg. 'I'm able to focus without much distraction, but have the flexibility to take advantage of the nice weather.'

Palm Beach Day Academy, a co-ed private school for Pre-K to ninth grade students, has added 65 new students from the northeast United States over the last several months of 2020.

Hedge fund owner Anna Raytcheva also moved from NYC to Palm Beach in late 2020
Raytcheva said the pandemic made it easier for her to leave New York for Florida

Hedge fund owner Anna Raytcheva also moved from NYC to Palm Beach in late 2020

The Palm Beach Day Academy has seen at least 65 new students from the NE United States since the start of the pandemic

The Palm Beach Day Academy has seen at least 65 new students from the NE United States since the start of the pandemic 

Additionally, the demand for nannies and housekeepers has grown with the influx of young families from New York.

The Wellington Agency, a domestic staffing agency with outposts in both New York and Palm Beach, is training new hires over Zoom before they begin working with wealthy clients for the first time.

There are no signs that New Yorkers are going to stop planting their roots in Palm Beach anytime soon, either. 

The South Florida Business Journal reports a New York investing group purchased an apartment complex on the island for $47 million.

Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs may be looking to move their asset management division to Palm Beach, though not everyone is a believer in the rumor.

'This whole idea that financial services, like hedge funds, are going to be this huge jobs creator is ridiculous,' developer Jeff Greene told The Palm Beach Post.

'I think some will come down here, they will try it out, move a few people and see if more people come, but I think the idea that every hedge fund is leaving New York City and moving to Palm Beach is just silly.'  

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