Where Are People Moving To in the U.S.? Florida!

Posted: August 30, 2022 | Categories: News | General Info
By Highland Homes

Updated on August 30, 2022: This article was originally published on November 1, 2018, and has been updated with new information.

Tampa, FL Skyline
Tampa, FL


We may be biased about how great Florida is since it’s where we live, work, and play, but you don’t have to take our word for it. According to a new list from U.S. News & World Report, Florida is THE state where people want to live with 11 Florida cities making this year’s list of The 25 Fastest-Growing Places in the U.S.

It’s not just the legendary sunshine, attractions, and beaches - though those are part of what makes Florida a great place to live. Florida offers a strong job market, no state income tax, and diverse culture, and Florida cities seeing the most growth offer a relatively low cost of living compared to elsewhere in the country.

For the 2022-2023 rankings, U.S. News used the U.S. Census Bureau’s net migration data from 2016 to 2021 to calculate each metro area’s growth over a five-year period. Out of the 11 Florida cities on the list, four of them are locations where we currently build Florida dream homes. Let’s take an in-depth look at what makes these Florida cities so desirable to move to!

Lakeland, Florida

The highest-ranked Florida city on the list, Lakeland landed as the No. 2 fastest-growing city in the U.S. The Lakeland-Winter Haven metropolitan area is comprised of the entirety of Polk County and has a current population of about 705,000 people, with around 110,000 of those living within the city of Lakeland.

Housing costs in the Lakeland metropolitan area are more affordable than both the national average and the neighboring cities of Tampa and Orlando. In 2021, U.S. News calculated the average price of homes in Lakeland as $304,274 – Compared to a national average of $365,616, it’s no wonder that people are choosing to call Lakeland home. 

Housing Costs in Lakeland, FL
Courtesy of U.S. News


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Located about halfway between Tampa and Orlando, Lakeland is a mid-sized city that retains a small-town atmosphere. Named after the abundance of lakes in the area, Lakeland boasts incredible opportunities for enjoying nature and recreation, as well as convenience to all the culture, employment opportunities, and attractions in the neighboring cities of Orlando and Tampa (both are less than an hour away!).

Sound amazing? Check out these popular neighborhoods of new construction homes in Lakeland and learn more about living in this highly-desired Florida city. 

Bonus stats: Lakeland also ranks as the #5 Safest Place to Live and #12 Best Place to Retire in the U.S.

Ocala, Florida

Coming in at the No. 6 spot on this year’s list of fastest growing cities, Ocala has grown by 10.64% in the past five years and has a current population of 360,210, making it the smallest Florida city to make the list. It’s also among the most affordable for housing, with a median home price of $280,000.

Affordability isn’t the only draw to Ocala – it offers a lot of activities for residents, with natural attractions you won’t see anywhere else in Florida. Known as the “Horse Capital of the World,” Ocala is home to over 600 thoroughbred farms and is one of a few thoroughbred centers in the world. The area’s tree-lined streets are steeped in Southern Charm, and the area flourishes with natural beauty thanks to the Ocala State Forest, sparkling Florida springs, and trail systems such as the Cross Florida Greenway.

aerial of Kingsland Country Estates in Ocala

Sound like somewhere you might want to live? Check out this article with more reasons to move to Ocala, Florida, including beautiful Ocala new homes priced for your budget and available now!

Bonus stats: Ocala also ranks as the #10 Safest Place to Live and #16 Best Place to Retire in the U.S.

Tampa, Florida

Tampa Bay, FL

Next up is Tampa, earning a spot at No. 15 on the 25 Fastest-Growing Places list. With a populational of nearly 3.2 million people, Tampa is the second-largest metro area on the list behind Phoenix.

Tampa Bay offers a unique mix of lifestyles ranging from laid-back beach vibes to cosmopolitan, big city energy. From world-class beaches to cultural attractions, professional sports to entertainment hot spots, there are things to do in Tampa for almost everyone!

Tampa has a median home price is $369,299, placing the cost of living on par with the national average. Check out these neighborhoods of new construction homes in Tampa to learn more about living in this desirable and growing Florida city!

Bonus stats: Tampa also ranks as the #39 Best Place to Live, #6 Safest Place to Live, and #6 Best Place to Retire in the U.S.

Orlando, Florida

Orlando FL aerial

Rounding out the list of the 25 fastest-growing cities is Orlando. One of the most well-known Florida cities thanks to a multitude of theme park destinations including Walt Disney World, the Greater Orlando area is home to more than 2.5 million people, with 5.48% net migration growth over the past five years.

And Orlando isn’t only about theme parks – known as “The City Beautiful,” Orlando is also home to an abundance of golf courses and parks, year-round sunshine, and exciting nightlife. Orlando has a flourishing downtown complete with a prosperous business district, as well as a sleepy residential area shaded by towering trees, and numerous suburbs offer easy access to the best of Orlando.

With a median home price of $399,846, Orlando home affordability is close to the national average, while offering so much more than other American cities. Browse new construction home in Greater Orlando and discover even more reasons to make the move to Orlando.

Bonus stats: Orlando also ranks as the #18 Best Place to Retire and the #19 Safest Place to Live in the U.S.

About Florida Home Builder, Highland Homes


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With more than 25 years of experience building new construction homes in Florida, our team is dedicated to providing you with the best in new home quality, choice, and satisfaction, and we look forward to helping you find your dream home in these desirable Florida cities. Call or email us today and start planning your move to one of the fastest-growing cities in Florida!

Tags: Lakeland Ocala Tampa Bay Metro Orlando Cross Florida Greenway Florida's natural springs Ocala State Forest Beaches Walt Disney World Relocating to Florida