State Guide for Florida

This guide was written by Francine Carrel, Assistant Editor of Guides.Global (office@guides.global).

It was written on 26 September 2016. The law and practice in the United States change all the time. Our guides are updated as frequently as possible - typically every three years - but may be out of date.

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flag of florida
The State Flag

Florida is the United State's 3rd most populous state. It's been a part of the US since 1845, when it became the 27th State.

Florida is one of the most popular expat destinations in the US. In 2014 it had 4 million foreign residents, behind only California (10.5 million), New York and Texas (4.5 million each). That adds up to nearly 20% of the Floridian population. According to Map the Impact, the top countries of origin are Cuba, Haiti and Colombia.

Florida is so popular with expats because of its proximity to South America (the state's a 'gateway' to the US), a warm climate, high tourism levels (many who enjoy holidays in Florida decide to retire there) and lifestyle (lots of amusement parks, beaches etc).


State capital: Tallahassee (2010 population: 181,376)

Size: 170,304 km² (22 of 50 states)

Coastline length: 2,170 km (2 of 50 States - only Alaska has more coastline)


Population: 19.89 million (2014) (3 of 50 states)

Expat population: 4 million (2014) (4 of 50 states) lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Expat population percentage: 19.4%

Languages: English (official state language, 73%), Spanish (20%), French Creole (2%) lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject


GDP: $893,189 million (4 of 50 states)

GDP per capita: $38,950 (42 of 50 states) lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Unemployment levels: 4.7% (35 of 50 states) lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Florida's economy is driven by a number of sectors.

Tourism (top visitor countries: Canada, the UK and Brazil) accounts for around $51 billion of the state's GDP (2015) and employs over 1 million people.

Agriculture (orange juice, tomatoes, sugar cane, dairy) employs a further 2 million people.

International trade is a huge part of Florida's economy: the state exported around $81.7 billion's worth of goods in 2014.

Aerospace and aviation is another big sector. Though it employs only about 87,000 workers, it contributes an estimated $144 billion per year to the economy.


Religions: Protestant (40%), Catholic (26%), Jewish (3%), Other - Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu (>1% each); Unaffiliated (24%: 3% atheist and 4% agnostic) lightbulb image - click here for more information on this subject

Florida is a gateway to South America, and popular with immigrant populations from around the world. Hispanic influences are obvious throughout the state, particularly in the south.


Florida's nickname is 'the Sunshine State'. See our Climate Guide for Florida.

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I hope you have found this guide useful. If you need any further help, please contact me.

Francine Carrel

26 September 2016


This guide was co-authored by John Howell (Email: John.Howell@Guides.Global or John@jhco.org. Web: www.jhco.org or www.Guides.Global)

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