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Eat Florida’s dust, New York.
The Sunshine State saw twice as many new businesses open last year compared to its rival in the Northeast, according to the latest federal data.
The number of newly opened small businesses surged in Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic as the state largely shunned lockdowns and restrictive measures that spurred residents of New York and California to leave.
Floridians last year filed 632,105 applications for new businesses — a 27% increase from the year before, according to federal data.
More than a third of those new businesses were opened in the state’s economic heart — the three large countries that comprise South Florida.
In Miami-Dade County, there were 135,710 business openings, according to federal data — a 26.7% increase from 2020.
Neighboring Broward County saw 84,045 business applications last year — a 20% increase from 2020.
In Palm Beach County, business owners filed 51,211 applications for new ventures last year — a 23.9% jump from 2020.
New York also saw an increase in the number of business applications filed with authorities, but the Empire State still lags behind Florida’s white-hot pace.
Last year, New Yorkers filed 309,170 new business applications — with Brooklyn recording the highest figure. The borough saw 53,588 new business registrations last year — an 18.1% increase compared to 2020.
Florida and other low-tax jurisdictions in the Sun Belt have been the beneficiaries of increased positive net migration in the two-and-a-half years since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
States like New York, California, and Illinois have seen more residents move out as remote work has made it possible to relocate to areas with overall lower cost of living and cheaper housing.
The trend has benefited states like Florida, Texas, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arizona, and others.
Florida, which was credited for avoiding the lengthy lockdowns seen in other parts of the country, is on pace to record economic growth this year that is forecast to exceed the national average.
The state’s population grew by 211,000 people between July 2020 and July 2021, according to the latest census figures.
Florida’s population growth was second only to Texas. The Sunshine State’s booming economy has elevated its Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, to national prominence — stoking talk he may make a bid for the White House.
In contrast, California, Illinois, and New York registered the steepest population losses last year.
The US Census Bureau put out data which showed that in the three-month period beginning in April 2020, there was a nearly threefold increase in the number of applications for small businesses filed with authorities.
In April 2020, the state processed 26,410 business applications. In July of that same year, the number of applications processed reached 62,147.
In Orange County alone, more than 50,000 new businesses were formed in the year 2021, according to federal data.
Christopher Buxton told WFTV-TV that after his restaurant was forced to shut down at the start of the pandemic, he and his business partner began to think of their next step.
“I am a person that can’t sit still,” Buxton said. “So I needed to do something.”
Buxton opened Dolce, a restaurant in Orlando that offers all-day brunch. He said that the success of Dolce showed that the pandemic was a blessing in disguise.
“We’re always discussing, how can we come out of this pandemic better than we were when we went into this pandemic,” Buxton said.