Florida photo by Martin Zangerl on Unsplash

Opinion

By Linda Williams

With over 21 million people, Florida is the third most populous state in America, behind California and Texas. It’s projected to have a population of about 25 million by the year 2030. Annually, approximately 331,000 people move into Florida, making it one of the most popular places in the US to call home.

Due to a surging population, there are notable benefits: higher availability of intellectual capital, increased tax income, and booming small businesses. However, there are several significant detractions of exponential population growth, such as disastrous environmental consequences (i.e., lung-damaging pollution), increased traffic congestion, and lagging income growth, all of which can affect residents’ physical and financial health.

Before you pack your belongings into boxes and start looking into shipping a car to Florida, consider the adverse effects that your new residence may have.

Implications of a growing population in Florida

The population growth spurt has both positive and negative impacts. A certain level of growth is acceptable. However, a rapidly increasing population can be a cause of headaches for both authorities and the residents.

Let’s explore the impact of an increasing population, using Florida as an example.

Congestion

What was once the tranquil and tropical paradise of Florida has attracted US citizens from all walks of life due to the favorable tax benefits. As a side effect, its current residents are paying the price of a growing population. Existing infrastructure can no longer support the community’s needs. For more information on how Florida’s infrastructure has been directly affected, be sure to refer to the information below.

Education

Unfortunately, the consequences of surging population growth are insanely congested learning institutions, known to impact local Floridians’ education quality. The situation has reached a point that legislators have considered sponsoring students to attend private schools in an effort to alleviate overpopulation in public schools.

Transport network

The population of Florida makes up 5.5 percent of the national population. However, the road network coverage is 2.8 percent of the national road mileage. The outcomes? Massive road traffic. Not even the widening of existing roads can resolve the situation at hand. Currently, Florida traffic congestion is so dire that emergency vehicles take significantly longer than anticipated to reach their destinations—which can have life-threatening implications.

The state’s attempt to build a high-speed railway system is a step in the right direction. But frankly speaking, it won’t resolve the traffic gridlock unless community leaders address the root cause: soaring population.

Urban sprawl

With the surge in Florida’s population, urban sprawl complaints are on the rise. This situation will continue as people move from concentrated urban areas to suburbs. If left unregulated, Florida’s urban sprawl can increase water and air pollution and spike citizens’ risk of being involved in potentially life-ending traffic accidents.

Environment impact

The state of Florida is in the crosshairs of climate change’s ruinous effects. With an upsurge of settlements along the coastline, there’s a greater likelihood of rising seas, porous bedrock, and the increasing occurrence of tropical storms.

Let’s explore the impact in detail.

Water resources

Approximately 2.4 million live within four feet of the tideline (at least). Thanks to global warming, sea levels are continuously rising as ice caps melt and seawater expands. In South Florida, residents are already paying the price for climate change. Saltwater is seeping through porous bedrock into drinking water sources, posing a more significant risk of dehydration.

Housing and other forms of settlements have also infiltrated wetlands that covered much of Central and Southern Florida. With the disruption of local wildlife’s natural habitats, animal populations, including Florida panther and manatee populations, are slowly diminishing.

Pollution

The pollution level has been increasing due to the rising number of vehicles and industries in Florida. As a result, there have been detrimental effects on aquatic life and human life. When we allow this sea pollution to wreak havoc on delicate ecosystems, we will jeopardize many of Florida’s primary food sources.

Economic effects

While these steep increases in the population can benefit born-and-raised Floridians and new residents alike, it’s vital to acknowledge the potential downsides of population booms, as well. If you’re one of the thousands considering permanent Florida residency, review the information below.

Low-income population growth

Due to a rapidly growing population, income growth per person in Florida is low compared to the national average. Because Florida is a well-known hub for retiring persons, income tends to fall with age, skewing the income averages in this US state.

While an exploding population in Florida results in some adverse effects, there are positive effects of a growing population. These include the following:

Business growth

In any region, people pass on, and businesses close. To replenish a city’s local businesses, a new population has to come in place. Simply put, a growing community ensures the sustainable growth of a region.

Increased tax income

A growing population means that a larger pool of people contributes towards the national cake.

Greater economies of scale

A region with a higher population has more business, as there’s a greater demand for products and services. Note that when an area increases in population, the cost of production per head decreases.

Broader labor market

Florida, unlike those least populous states, isn’t short of intellectual capital. With a wide variety of skill sets and specialties, employers have access to a diverse applicant pool, allowing these business owners to choose from the cream of the crop.

Conclusion

There are obvious economic and environmental implications of an increasing population. Unsurprisingly, Florida isn’t an exception. Floridians face a mixture of impacts like congestion, straining of resources, reduced per capita income, booming business, and environmental impacts.

While many experts suggest family planning and government incentives as a solution to overpopulation, some contest the importance of restricting population growth for economic and religious reasons. Regardless of your personal opinion, unregulated population growth can cause species endangerment, lower life expectancy, and depleted resources. Therefore, be sure to consider these consequences before planning your move to the Sunshine State.

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