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Florida attracts more ultra-wealthy movers than any other state

couple walking on the beach at sunset

It’s anyone’s guess whether they’re flying south for the tax benefits or the year-round sunshine. Colin Anderson Productions pty ltd – Getty Images

There’s a lot to love about Florida, despite what its haters may say. Just ask the outsize number of millionaires and billionaires who have set up shop there over the last decade.

Between 2012 and 2022, a handful of cities experienced millionaire growth by over 70%, finds the latest wealth report from investment migration firm Henley & Partners and New World Wealth. The research firm tracked the movements and spending habits of over 150,000 high net-worth people, focusing on those with over $10 million in investable assets. 

Austin, Texas, took the cake with a 102% growth rate over the course of that decade thanks to 30,500 millionaire residents. But two cities in Florida—West Palm Beach and Miami—ranked in the top five. Here’s what that list looks like, ranked by millionaire growth rate over the past decade:

  1. Austin, Texas: 102%
  2. West Palm Beach, Florida: 90%
  3. Scottsdale, Arizona: 88%
  4. Miami, Florida: 75%
  5. Greenwich and Darien, Connecticut: 72%

Of that list, the most billionaires—12—live in Miami; nine live in Austin. Miami is also home to the most millionaires and centi-millionaires (those who have a net worth of over $100 million) on the list.

“Economists will tell you that an excellent barometer for the health of a country and its economy is to scrutinize what its millionaire class is up to, and in the USA, we can clearly see that a growing number of wealthy individuals are on the move,” Mehdi Kadiri, managing partner and Head of North America at Henley & Partners, wrote in the report. 

He points out “a notable internal semigration” of millionaires from cities like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York City to places like Miami. 

Why the Sunshine State wins

Ultra-wealthy people looking for a tax break and an escape from winter have been flocking to Florida for years. More high-earners moved to Florida than to any other state between 2019 and 2020, per an analysis by SmartAsset of IRS data. It found that Florida saw a net influx of 20,263 households earning over $200,000 a year—nearly four times how many high-earners decamped to Texas, the second-most popular destination. 

As it did with many trends, the pandemic accelerated the movement as a big chunk of tech and finance savants headed to the Sunshine State. Miami, alternately referred to as the “sixth borough” or the next Silicon Valley, has drawn in both Wall Street bankers and startup entrepreneurs. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has been gunning to transform his city into a budding crypto destination. Felice Gorordo, CEO of tech giant eMerge Americas, told Yahoo Finance that Miami is “going through a renaissance at all levels, but especially in terms of technology.”

Even beyond the city limits of West Palm and Miami, and even for the non-millionaires, Florida has a great deal to offer. For one thing, the state unemployment rate stood at 2.5% in December, below the 3.5% national rate in the same month. It could also be especially enticing for remote workers looking for a change of scenery.

Flexible work arrangements “opened the door for more people to move farther away from the workplace and explore living in a new area,” Randy Ryerson, vice president of marketing and communications for rental truck company Penske, told Fortune in May.

Thirty-year-old software engineer Harshneel More told the Tampa Bay Times he and his wife moved from San Francisco to Tampa for more space, better weather and—most importantly—his same Bay Area salary, but without the California taxes. “I really liked the amenities, like swimming pools, gyms, things you couldn’t get back home,” he said. 

On the other hand, many of those uprooting millionaires and billionaires are probably not working at all. Florida has the market cornered there too; Bankrate named it the best state for retirees. Even if you’re not retiring with a hefty nest egg, you’ll be in good company: 21% of residents are older than 65.

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