In the heart of the Southeastern United States, Florida and Georgia shine as radiant gems, each with its unique allure. With pros and cons inherent to both states, choosing either requires embracing both the good and the bad. The United States is home to some beautiful places!
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This blog aims to shed light on the experience of living in Florida vs. Georgia. I’m from Georgia, pursued higher education and work in Florida, and now reside in California, I can provide insights into life in both Florida and Georgia.
My grandparents chose Florida as their retirement destination, and I’ve also written a blog on retiring in Florida—covering both the positive and negative aspects. Feel free to check out the blog and share your thoughts
With that, let’s start the debate on living in Florida vs. Georgia.
Table of Contents
Florida vs Georgia
1. Climate and Weather
The climate of a place is the silent conductor of human migration and as per Georgia vs. Florida weather, for me, Georgia wins the game over Florida.
Georgia offers a unique experience by showcasing all four seasons, sometimes even in the span of a single day. Whether you consider it good luck or bad luck, Georgia provides a diverse climate experience.
Georgia boasts chilly winters with occasional snowfall, refreshing springs, scorching hot summers, and abundant rainfall without the threat of tropical storms and hurricanes.
Floods are also a rarity in this state. In contrast, Florida’s climate is dominated by the constant fear of hurricanes and floods, with no snowfall or chilly winters, maintaining warm temperatures throughout the year.
If you’re someone who relishes having a wardrobe for all seasons, from winter coats to summer attire and raincoats, like me, Georgia is the ideal choice. Flood insurance isn’t a necessity for your home in Georgia, unlike in Florida, where it’s a must.
However, if you appreciate the soothing coastal breeze, Georgia’s weather may not align with your preferences. My mothers, a fan of such breezes, once mentioned she’d rather keep her AC running all year in Florida and contend with the electricity bills than endure Georgia’s climate.
It’s important to acknowledge that Georgia has its drawbacks, such as the occasional disruption caused by spring rains or snow, leading to temporary shutdowns.
Therefore, there are pros and cons associated with living in both Georgia and Florida, each with its unique weather and climate characteristics.
2. Cost of Living
When comparing the cost of living in Georgia to that in Florida, Georgia emerges as the winner. I understand that some might argue that Floridians do not pay income tax; making it seem cheaper, but allow me to explain…
Living in Florida vs. Georgia: Income Taxes
In Florida, whether you earn $20,000 or $800,000, you don’t owe any state income taxes—there’s no percentage of your income going to the state. In contrast, Georgia operates on a progressive tax scale ranging from 1% to 5.75% until 2023. Starting in 2024, it will switch to a flat rate of 5.49% for everyone.
So, if you earn $200,000 in Georgia, you’ll owe a specific amount as income tax to the government. Let me know how much you’re paying to the State!
Living in Florida vs. Georgia: Property Taxes
Recently, my uncle, who relocated from Orlando, Florida, informed me about the stark contrast in property taxes.
In Florida, he had to pay $6.65 for every $1,000 of his property’s value, which is relatively high. Now, in Cherokee County, Georgia, he pays a rate of 0.92% for his home.
It’s worth noting that property tax rates can vary significantly from one county to another, even within the same state.
In general, the difference in property taxes between the two states isn’t enormous because it tends to balance out with other factors like the standard of living.
However, it’s crucial to remember that in Florida, you’ll need to purchase flood insurance for your home, and if you happen to own a beachfront property, be prepared for a substantial cost associated with it.
Living in Florida vs. Georgia: Sales Taxes
The biggest benefit of moving to Georgia is that you pay a state sales tax of 4%. But, if you move to a big city, the tax rate rises higher to 9%.
In Florida, on average the state sales tax is 6% with a high rate in Tampa at 7.5 %. Hence, it depends on the county you’re choosing.
Living in Florida vs. Georgia: Lifestyle
According to bestplaces.net, Florida boasts an overall score of 103.1, exceeding the U.S. average of 100. The average annual per capita cost of healthcare in Florida is approximately $7,676, while food expenses amount to $3,886. Gas and energy costs come in at $909, and other miscellaneous utility expenses total around $28,500.
On the other hand, Georgia recorded an affordable cost of living with a score of 93.4 (on a U.S. average of 100). The average annual per capita cost of healthcare in Georgia is approximately $6, 595, while food expenses amount to $3, 699. Gas and energy costs come in at $1,212, and other miscellaneous utility expenses total around $24,481.
So, to the popular question – Is Georgia cheaper than Florida? Yes. An individual aged 65 and older enjoys benefits of deduction of up to $65,000 per person on retirement income, excluding social security, and a deduction of up to $ 130,000 per couple.
So, tell me is Florida a cheaper place to live than Georgia?
3. Housing price
These days, nearly 1,000 people are moving to Florida every day, gradually driving up property prices by 0.5 times. Yes, there are a few affordable places to live in Florida, but they are located away from the city center.
An average home in Jacksonville, Florida, now costs $320K, while in Atlanta, it’s priced at $379K. Properties near the Florida coast command higher prices compared to other areas.
However, whether you prefer a ripe peach or a ripe orange, is a matter of personal taste, and it remains constant moving in and moving out. In both Florida and Georgia, you can find homes to suit your budget. If you’re a working professional you can check out the growing cities near Florida and Georgia.
4. Economy and Job Market
I would certainly agree that a major reason why people are moving to Florida is due to the high job opportunities and a robust economy. However, this does not diminish Georgia’s appeal in any way.
As per a report realized by Metroatlantaceo, Georgia ranks 8th in terms of job opportunities in the USA and Florida ranks 3rd. So, yes, there are more job opportunities in Florida compared to Georgia.
Additionally, in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best States for Employment rankings, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee all have received high marks for their job growth.
However, the labor participation in these 5 states is low which shows that the percentage of residents aged 16 or older engaged in part-time or full–time employment.
Florida is termed as “Hollywood of the South” – did you see movies like Esther William’s Easy to Love, Moon Over Miami, or Apollo 13, or there are so many… Florida’s economy is influenced mostly by scientific and technical services and information.
Whereas Georgia’s economy is mostly on the healthcare sector and education.
Another pro of living in Florida for students is quality and affordable education. Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. states that – “The Florida education model stands alone as a shining example for all other states to follow.”
Florida’s education quality has been ranked 3rd in the nation. The participation rate of students in the schools of Florida in 2022 was 2,834,000 whereas in Georgia it was 1,686,318.
Undoubtedly, Florida’s sheer size and population naturally result in higher participation compared to Georgia. Again, in Atlanta, the job choices are diverse compared to Florida.
However, when it comes to education quality, Florida boasts prestigious institutions like the University of Florida, the University of Miami, the University of South Florida, and the University of Central Florida, which have garnered a strong global reputation.
On the other hand, the University of Georgia and Emory University have been ranked 19th in terms of quality. In terms of education affordability, Florida takes the lead.
For instance, at Gulf Coast State College in Florida, a student pays an average tuition fee of $1,750, while at East Georgia State College, the cost is $2,280. It’s important to note that fees vary from school to university and cannot always be directly compared.
6. Quality of Life
In the Georgia vs. Florida showdown, these two remarkable states each bring their own unique set of advantages and disadvantages to the table.
Georgia boasts a diverse landscape, featuring both picturesque mountains and inviting beaches, offering a balanced blend of urban and rural living.
The “Peach State” exudes its own distinct charm and beauty, particularly in the quaint towns nestled within the Appalachian region.
In contrast, the ‘Sunshine State’ is synonymous with palm trees swaying, expansive sandy beaches, a bustling cosmopolitan atmosphere, and a generally more fast-paced lifestyle compared to Georgia. Did you check out the gorgeous beach towns of Florida?
However, navigating Florida’s roads can sometimes be a source of irritation due to its extensive network of toll roads, numbering around 700.
7. Natural Disasters
On August 30th, 2023, Le Monde published the headline: “Hurricane Idalia Unleashes Fury on Florida and Georgia.”
It’s indeed true that Florida regularly faces the wrath of hurricanes and flooding, resulting in submerged streets near the coast. Inland areas are affected by high winds, flying sheet metal, falling trees, and the unfortunate toll of storms.
Both Southern states, Florida vs Georgia, are susceptible to such natural disasters, but the likelihood of Florida being impacted is significantly higher compared to Georgia.
That’s the reason you’ll see – houses in Georgia often have basements because the risk of flooding is considerably lower.
Conversely, many Florida houses lack basements because, during floods, they could be swept away.
In Georgia, it’s common to spot two-story homes, while in Florida, compact concrete studios are prevalent. Florida homes are typically closer to the ground, with Stucco houses being a prime example of this architectural style.
According to Jeff Ostrowski, an analyst at Bankrate.com, retiring in Georgia stands out as a superior choice compared to Florida due to its affordability, favorable weather, lower crime rate, and strong sense of community.
In my perspective, Georgia’s understated reputation as a retirement destination is actually a positive aspect.
The state’s emphasis on family-centric values is evident in the delightful sight of children playing in the streets, which is a common occurrence.
Moreover, for individuals aged between 62 and 64, there’s the advantageous option to exclude up to $35,000 from their state taxes in Georgia. The Government cares for you! But it’s not that Florida doesn’t care; it also has some affordable places for retirees. However, in comparison to Georgia, it’s less affordable.
9. Natural Environment
Florida proudly showcases palm trees, while Georgia’s claim to fame is lush pine trees. Renowned travel websites and magazines like Travel + Leisure and VIE Magazine have featured Florida as the ultimate dream destination. Did you explore its affordable romantic destinations?
Gray Malin, a well-known travel photographer, hails Destin, Florida, as the luckiest fishing village and Panama home to the most beautiful beaches, among other accolades.
Florida’s beaches offer a Caribbean-like experience with their pristine waters and pure white sands. The sight of the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico is particularly soothing for beach enthusiasts. Did you explore the clothing-optional beaches in Florida? Go, and read my blog on nude beaches! And, also, the warm beaches in the winter especially in January.
Florida’s diverse landscape includes lakes, springs, small rivers, and beaches, providing endless opportunities for activities such as swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, scuba diving, tide pooling, sunbathing, savoring seafood, and enjoying various water-based fun.
Additionally, Florida boasts numerous parks and pristine wilderness areas like the Everglades National Park, the Historic Castillo de San Marcos, The Ocala National Forest, and Osceola National Forest, where both locals and travelers can revel in camping, hiking, and immersing themselves in the heart of nature.
Apologies, Georgia, but when it comes to beach lovers, Florida’s 1,350 miles of coastline easily outshines Georgia’s 100 miles.
Do you know what some of Georgia’s most significant pros and cons are? One of its most remarkable attributes is its incredible diversity. From the majestic Caucasus Mountains to the tranquil Black Sea, from rugged peaks and picturesque valleys to breathtaking vistas, meandering rivers, cascading waterfalls, mysterious caves, and enchanting forests, Georgia truly offers a wide range of natural beauty and attractions.
For nature enthusiasts like me, Georgia will always be the preferred choice. Here, you can explore the enchanting Okefenokee Swamp, marvel at the grandeur of Amicalola Falls, wander through the unique landscapes of Providence Canyon, visit the iconic Stone Mountain, bask in the warmth of Warm Springs, traverse the awe-inspiring Tallulah Gorge, or simply soak in the natural beauty of Brasstown Bald.
10. Cultural Differences
In Florida, you’ll discover a strong influence of Hispanic and Latino culture, infused with vibrant Cuban vibes. In contrast, Georgia boasts a predominantly African-American population.
When it comes to cultural influence and demographics, Florida and Georgia offer distinctive and enriching experiences. You’ll relish the opportunity to savor Georgia’s delectable BBQ and Florida’s renowned Key lime pie.
For Georgians, family holds paramount importance, and the pace of life tends to be slower compared to the hustle and bustle of Florida. In contrast, Miami, Florida, stands as a vibrant melting pot of various cultures and diversities.
Florida’s culture is undeniably lively, and you’ll be thrilled to partake in events like the Florida Strawberry Festival, the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, Miami Art Week, the enchantment of Disney, and so much more.
However, if your interests lean more toward exploring architectural culture, then Savannah, Georgia, is the ideal destination for you.
11. Safety and Crime
If you reside in Florida, chances are you’ve encountered an iguana in your backyard. However, if you hail from Georgia, like me, your backyard sights are more likely to be limited to flies and sometimes deer.
Of course, I’m aware that there are also possums, skunks, and grouse in Georgia. But, let’s be honest, they are considerably less threatening when compared to encountering a gator. Care to argue with me on that?
Also, in terms of crime, Georgia experiences a lot less. I’m an hour south of Savannah and in my area once a year I would hear big cases like shooting but even that from illegal groups.
Places like Macon, Albany, and other big cities experience crimes but comparatively less than Florida’s big cities. So, in the debate of Florida’s crime rate vs. Georgia, Georgia wins the game!
Pros and Cons: Georgia Vs. Florida
|Pros of living in Georgia
|Pros of living in Florida
|Family centric people
|Young professionals, and party people
|Affordable cost of living
|Beach front property
|Experience all four season
|Experience all coastal breeze
|Fewer beach and more lakes
|Clear blue water beaches
|Cons of living in Georgia
|Cons of living in Florida
|People love having peaches resulting in obesity
|It’s no snow here
|Continental climate results in extreme summer and extreme winter
|A constant fear of natural disaster
|Nightlife is not that vibrant compared to Florida
|Traffic is huge
|A lot of tourists
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FAQ: Living in Florida Vs. Georgia
1. Why Georgia is better than Florida?
A. Personally, I have a deep affection for Georgia because I find that the people there are generally more family-oriented and friendlier. In my experience, in Florida, people are often caught up in their busy lives, leaving little time to simply stop and savor the moment. Even when they’re at the beach, it seems like they’re either partying or working. Perhaps I’m biased, but Georgia holds a special place in my heart!
2. Where should I not live in Georgia?
A. I would strongly recommend avoiding College Park due to its high crime rate. There are various reasons behind this, but in short, it’s a place best avoided.
3. Which state has a better public transportation system, Florida or Georgia?
A. Florida’s public transportation facilities are significantly more modern, punctual, and cost-effective, offering well-planned routes. However, they also contend with traffic congestion.