Florida loses population for the first time since 1946

fl_population081809A fast-growing state no longer, Florida lost population from 2008 to 2009, the University of Florida Bureau of Economic and Business Research says.

About 58,000 people left the state, leaving Florida with an estimated population of 18.7 million, said Stan Smith, head of the Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Smith blamed the twin banes of Florida’s economy: a soaring jobless rate and a hapless housing market.

For decades, Florida was adding jobs, which lured migrants. But the state has shed jobs in the past year, and the unemployment rate has soared from 3 percent in 2006 to 10.6 percent in June.

Meanwhile, the national housing downturn has made out-of-state migrants less likely to move here.

“When people can’t sell their homes, they tend not to move,” Smith said.

He doesn’t expect Florida to become a fast-growing state again in the near future.

“This is certainly the worst recession that the country has experienced since the Depression of the 1930s,” Smith said. “We’re not going to see much of a population rebound until the national economy strengthens significantly.”

UF’s full population report, with detailed estimates for counties and cities, is scheduled to be released Wednesday. Continue reading “Florida loses population for the first time since 1946”