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Florida named fastest growing state in the US for the first time in over 60 years

By Sarah May
|
December 23, 2022

According to Politico, Census data released this week shows that Florida is the fastest growing state in the union, a development that serves as a testament to the broad appeal of Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' approach to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as his “freedom first” economic policies, both to newcomers from other states as well as from other countries.

Under DeSantis' leadership, the Sunshine State reclaimed the impressive title for the first time in over six decades, the outlet added.

Record population growth

Between 2021 and 2022, Florida notched a population rise of 1.9%, a level not seen anywhere else in the country since 1957, and though the state has seen population growth every single year dating back to 1946, it has regularly been outpaced by increases in Nevada, Politico further noted.

“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.” said demographer Kristie Wilder of the Census Bureau.

Not only did Florida see the greatest increase in population as measured by percentage, it also saw the second-largest boost in raw resident numbers, trailing only the state of Texas, according to CBS News.

Freedom first

The strong economic climate DeSantis has created in Florida has attracted a great deal of attention as one of the primary drivers of the population influx seen in the state, a scenario exemplified by its comparatively low unemployment rate.

Back in September, the governor announced that Florida led the entire nation with the lowest such rate out of the ten largest states, also seeing the largest number of new business formations anywhere in the United States.

Remarking on the impressive state of the economy in Florida, DeSantis explained that the result was attributable to the fact that “we have encouraged workforce development, kept the economy open, and put Florida families first.”

Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) Secretary Dane Eagle stated, “Our economy is steady and resilient – proof that Governor DeSantis' freedom first policies are working, despite the nation's economic uncertainty.”

“More people are moving to Florida than any other state in the nation. We are first in the nation for net migration because their families can thrive here,” Eagle added.

Anti-lockdown “citadel”

Not only has Florida's positive economic environment thought to have contributed to its impressive population growth, so has DeSantis' strong leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw him hold the line against the restrictions and lockdowns that crippled economies elsewhere.

DeSantis explained his position earlier this year while addressing the 2022 Conservative Political Action Conference, suggesting that it has played a major role in attracting new residents from all across the country.

“[W]e refused to let this state descend into some kind of Faucian dystopia where people's freedoms are curtailed and their livelihoods are destroyed,” asserted the governor, noting that he pursued that course of action despite the political pushback he received for rejecting the “biomedical security state.”

“My job is to stand up and protect the freedoms and the jobs of the people I represent and if that puts me in political jeopardy then so be it,” DeSantis proclaimed.

Culture warrior

In addition to the aforementioned policy pillars, DeSantis has also attracted a surge of new Floridians by standing firm on a host of cultural issues involving “woke” priorities such as critical race theory and gender ideology.

Upon securing a landslide re-election victory in November, DeSantis made no bones about his commitment to fighting back when it comes to the injection of those radical elements, whether in the classroom or the boardroom.

“We fight the woke in the legislature. We fight the woke in the schools. We fight the woke in the corporations. We will never, ever surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die,” DeSantis said.

As The Hill notes, DeSantis is poised to publish a memoir in late February entitled, The Courage to Be Free: Florida's Blueprint for America's Revival, stoking speculation that the governor may indeed be planning to take the winning formula from his own state into a 2024 campaign for the White House.