ORLANDO, Fla. — Sometime this year, Florida will surpass New York in population, becoming the nation's third-most populous state, and sun-seeking seniors are not driving the growth.
Once Florida passes New York, only California and Texas will have more residents.
"Florida is kind of an icon of the 21st century in terms of the shifting population and the growing role Latin America is playing in transforming the country," said James Johnson, a business professor at the University of North Carolina. "I think it's going to be for the 21st century what California or New York was for the 20th century."
New York isn't shrinking in population; it's just that Florida's growth is outpacing it by a 3-to-1 ratio, and ex-New Yorkers are the biggest domestic source of new Floridians. More than 537,000 residents moved to Florida last year, and about a tenth of them came from New York state.
As of last July, the two states were separated by about 98,000 people: New York had 19.6 million residents and Florida had 19.5 million residents, according to Census figures released earlier this week. As of today, that difference likely has been whittled down to about 20,000 people.