Record number of New Yorkers switching driver’s licenses to Florida

New report comes at a time when New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has urged New York Republicans to leave and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has welcomed new residents.

Updated: September 25, 2022 - 11:51pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

A record number of New Yorkers are switching their driver’s licenses to Florida, according to a New York Post analysis of Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles data.

The analysis comes at a time when New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has urged New York Republicans to leave and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has welcomed new residents to “the free state of Florida.”

In August, 5,838 New Yorkers switched their driver’s licenses to Florida, the highest recorded number for a single month in history, the report found.

From Jan. 1 to Sept. 20, 41,885 New Yorkers have turned in their licenses after officially leaving the state.

Last month, at a campaign event for now newly elected U.S. Rep. Pat Ryan, Hochul said, “And we’re here to say that the era of Trump and [U.S. Rep. Lee] Zeldin and [Dutchess County Executive Marc] Molinaro – just jump on a bus and head down to Florida where you belong, OK?” referring to Republicans in the Empire State.

Ryan won a special election in New York’s 19th congressional district, defeating Molinaro.

“Get out of town. Get out of town. Because you don’t represent our values,” Hochul said to New York Republicans. “You are not New Yorkers.”

According to US Census Bureau data, roughly 319,020 residents left New York between July 2020 and July 2021. This represented a 1.6% year-over-year loss catapulting New York to the top of the list of state’s leading in population decline. Over the past decade, it’s population loss also contributed to it losing a congressional seat.

From July 2020 to July 2021, Florida gained 211,196 residents. Its population increase over the past decade also led to it gaining a congressional seat.

Among those moving to Florida are former New York police officers and state National Guard members, citing a lower cost of living and Gov. Ron DeSantis’ “freedom first” policies as reasons for doing so.

Last November, the Lakeland Police Department said an initial 14 NYPD officers had left New York City to relocate to the Tampa area town as part of its recruiting campaign.

Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch told the New York Post at the time, “'Many New York City cops are weighing our sub-standard salary against the ever-increasing challenges, scrutiny and abuse, and they're voting with their feet.”

One of the first to join Florida’s newly reestablished Florida State Guard was a former New York State Guard member and former New York resident who said he moved to the lower-taxed and less regulated “free state of Florida,” saying DeSantis’ “leadership was the deciding factor.”

Earlier this year, the DeSantis campaign launched “mugs for New Yorkers” who still live in New York. The mugs say, “I’m a New Yorker but I wish my governor was Ron DeSantis.”

“Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers have left the blue state to move to the ‘Free State of Florida,’ but there are still many New Yorkers that have yet to make the trip down south,” the campaign said. The mugs were a way for “the people of New York who support the Florida governor … to show their support for both their hometown and DeSantis.”