"I am leaving New York City for Florida." wrote self-confessed "New York supremacist" and New York Post columnist Karol Markowicz in a widely circulated article for Fox News. She's not happy about it, but she's also not apologizing. What drove her out of the city she and her husband called home for decades was the arbitrary and capricious treatment of students, including her three young children, stuck in public K-12 schools during the pandemic. She's vamoosing "because they took away school during the pandemic and not enough of my fellow New Yorkers cared. I kept looking around at a civilization that does not value education. Or worse, values it for their own kids, in the form of private pods or putting them into open private schools, but won't fight for their less fortunate neighbors to have the same."
Markowicz is not alone. In 2020, some 320,000 people left New York City. Her family's destination is Florida, where the cost of living is cheaper and the schools—and just about everything else—have stayed open during much of the past two years.
Her story is representative of a large swath of refugees leaving big-population blue states for places like Texas and Florida. For the first in recorded history, California lost people year over year and a congressional seat. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reported that "51,108 New Yorkers moved to Florida between April 2020 and April 2021." The Sunshine State surpassed New York in population in 2014 and over the course of the decade between 2010 and 2020, it gained 14.6 percent in residents while New York scratched out a gain of just 4.2 percent, well below U.S. growth of 7.4 percent. The gap between the two states continues to grow, with Florida boasting 21.8 million people and New York at 19.8 million people in the latest Census data.
"It's ridiculous to live anywhere else," Markowicz tells Nick Gillespie. "But it turns out that the city hates children and I can't be a part of that anymore."