From size to culture, Florida and Maryland are very different states. I’ve lived in both but each has its pros and cons depending on what you’re looking for. But it’s good to know a wide range of options when choosing the type of state you want to move to.
1. Cost of Living
You probably want to know how much money you can expect to be paying to live in each of these states. The chart below is a side-by-side comparison of the general cost of living and the cost of certain necessities.
|Cost of Living||99.8||127.2||104.63|
2. Tax Laws
Florida does not have a state Income tax, which is a huge bonus. You still have to pay Federal income taxes, but you get to keep more of your paycheck than usual in Florida. However, corporations in Florida do have to pay income tax. This includes anywhere that received income in or from Florida. On the other hand, property tax is fairly high in Florida, which local governments collect. There are a couple of exemptions which can be for widowers, blind persons, veterans, etc. (Source)
Maryland is one of the many states that have state personal Income tax. This can range from 1-5% of your income. This also means that they can tax both earned and unearned income. Some examples of unearned income include royalties, alimony, asset sales, etc. This money then goes to pay for schools, highways, and other resources for the community. (Source)
3. Government vs Attraction Based Economy
Florida is almost surrounded by water, which means a lot of commercial beaches. It also has over 10+ different theme parks. This means a lot of jobs come from running tourist attractions. It also means that a lot of sales taxes from Universal or Disney World are used to pay for the roads, schools, and surrounding communities. Tourism is one of the top industries in Florida.
Maryland on the other hand is right by the nation’s capital, Washington DC. This means a lot of capital workers need to have their homes nearby. DC is also home to a lot of major corporations, as well as in Baltimore. Maryland is a perfect home for these big corporate workers and capitol employees. This means their big business or government paychecks cover a lot of the surrounding areas.
Florida’s current minimum wage is $8.65 per hour. If you have a job that provides tips the minimum is $5.63. If you are working for a major theme park like Disney the starting wage is about $13-15 an hour. However, if you are a student or intern, then it drops closer to $9 an hour. (Source)
Maryland on the other hand has a higher wage of $11.75 per hour and plans to increase it. However, that is only if more than 15 employees are working. If there are less than 15, you only earn $11.60 an hour. If you are receiving tips and it is more than $30 in tips, you will be getting $3.63 an hour which is a whole lot lower. And if you are under the age of 18 your employer can only pay you 85% of the normal minimum wage. (Source)
Besides being home to major tourist attractions such as amusement parks and beaches, Florida has a couple of other major economic contributors. It is a hub for various major company headquarters because of the big cities it has. Some other major industries include Aerospace, Information Technology, Life Sciences, and Manufacturing.
One of Maryland’s top industries is National Security, which makes sense considering how close it is to the Washington DC area. Other major industries include Fishing, General Contractors, Energy, Agribusiness, and Military. Similar to Florida it also has Aerospace and tourism as major industries.
Florida was pretty evenly split between Republican and Democratic. At this last election, Trump won with 51.2% of the overall votes, making it a tight race. For House Representatives, they ended up with 11 Democratic seats and 16 Republican seats.
Maryland is a mostly Democratic state. Looking at this past election, most of the state voted democratic at 65% for the Presidential election. Out of the five House representatives they are sending, four of them were a strong Democratic win with over 65% of votes. However, one House representative will be Republican with a win of 64% of votes.
Florida is a little behind in its healthcare industry. About 20% of its population does not have healthcare. It also has about 5,000 (per 100K patients) preventable hospital admissions. This means that about 5,000 people who enter the hospital could have gone to a primary care provider instead; their injury or illness wasn’t as urgent as others. (Source)
Maryland is doing a lot better when it comes to healthcare. Only 8.3% of Maryland’s population is without health insurance. It also has only 4,000 (per 100k patients) preventable hospital admissions. They are a little more on top of things. However, they do have a smaller population, which could account for the lower numbers. They have fewer people to worry about. (Source)
Whenever I have flown into Florida, the view from the plane looks like Florida is sinking. There are so many lakes and it’s surrounded by water. On top of that, there is barely any real height for Florida. It has a low elevation that is really close to or at sea level. Its highest point is at Britton Hill, which is only 345 Ft above sea level. (Source)
Maryland is mostly landlocked, except for its small eastern shoreline. It also is known for its marshy Chesapeake Bay that runs through the middle of the state. This is a home for a lot of Maryland’s wildlife and its main industry of fishing. Near the western side of the state is its connection to the Appalachian trail, giving it a mix of mountains. Maryland’s general elevation is 5 ft higher than Florida’s and can go as high as 3,300.
9. Education Systems
Florida’s School for Advanced Studies and Design and Architecture Senior High School is pretty high for the best schools in the country. On top of that is has one of the lowest bullying incident rates. It has a graduation rate of 90% which is 5% higher than the national average.
Maryland on the other hand doesn’t really have a spot on the list of best schools in the country. It has a couple of good colleges and schools, but not good enough to make the list. It also has a graduation rate that matches the national average of 85.3%.
In my time at both a Maryland and Florida high school. I will say that Maryland was less crowded at schools, which made it easier to personally help students compared to Florida’s full classrooms. In some cases, these Florida schools would give free C’s out to keep their graduation rates up. However, Florida, is richer due to tourism, making their music programs a lot bigger than Maryland’s. Florida schools also had the opportunity to have field trips and proms on Disney or Universal property.
10. Florida Man or Baltimore Riots
Despite all the crazy Florida man stories you see in the news, Florida’s overall crime index has been dropping, going from 121,877 in total violent crimes in 2008 to 81,896 just 10 years later in 2018 (Source). This seems surprising considering how weird Florida can seem as a state. I will say that when I went to the school when the Stoneman Douglas school shooting happed. Despite the remorse, my fellow students felt for their friends at Stoneman Douglas, there was a bomb threat a couple of days later; which sums up the Florida crime experience.
Maryland isn’t that great compared to Florida. In 2006 it had 233,590 violent crimes and only 10 years later it dropped to 168,536 in 2016. That is almost twice as much as Florida’s total crime in 2008 (Source). Maryland always seemed more on the prevention side of crime with anti-bullying programs when I went to school. However, I lived a good hour away from Baltimore, which is known for having at least one murder a day.
11. Communities and Culture
Living in Florida is very touristy and they can be a bit stuck-up. Most people at least have a Disney or Universal park pass, and will read or make passive-aggressive posts about your neighbors not cutting their grass half an inch shorter. You’ll probably live in a gated community, and you are always at least 30 minutes from a tourist attraction. I never really felt that close with my neighbors, it was more formality to talk at community events.
Marylanders are obsessed with the Maryland Flag pattern. You could buy a whole outfit that is designed like the flag, pants, shoes, jacket, shirts, even a morph suit. On top of that, get ready for Old Bay becoming your favorite seasoning and Crab fests being the best time of year. Finally, Maryland’s communities are built around historical towns and sites. Where you are standing on the sidewalk, could be where a famous war happened. In Maryland, I felt so at home wherever I went. I knew a lot of people in my town and at different schools; very close-knit.
12. Tourist Hub vs Historical Homes
In Orlando, there are about 5-10 theme parks. Everywhere else there are famous beaches, homes of celebrities, and other touristy destinations. Hotels are full of tourists and when you moved here thinking you could visit Disney whenever you wanted, you find that most of the time Disney is at full capacity. On the bright side, living here helps you know the best times to visit your favorite tourist destinations. I suggest booking your trip to Disney during September or January because they are right after major vacation seasons.
Maryland is touristy in a different way. It is a hub for various historical sites. Antietam is a major battlefield here, Edgar Allen Poe’s grave is here, Francis Scott Key and Thomas Johnson call this place their home, and you can even stand where George Washington stood. Almost every city’s name starts with “Historical” and your downtown area has probably not been updated since it was first built. Let’s not forget the ghost tours you can go on everywhere.
In Florida, you can experience it all. You can pay to go through a wand ceremony or you can train to be a Jedi and built your own lightsaber. Dates, school activities, and just a family dinner could take place at any of Florida’s theme parks. There are wonderful beaches and lakes to spend the afternoon with friends. You’ll also go on plenty of boating trips and barbeques for relaxing Sundays. Let’s not forget their big cities with bars, hotels, and casinos for your Friday night parties.
Maryland is on the other side of adventure. Many of my friends have hiked part of the Appalachian Trail. There are plenty of mountain tops to go camping. The Chesapeake Bay is a wonderful place to go boating or fishing during spring break. A couple of major cities like Baltimore for nice restaurants. But the coolest thing you can do is walk through and learn about the major battles, people, and homes of the past.
14. Cicadas, Lovebugs, Chiggers, Mosquitos Oh My!
If you live in the big city, the tourist central of Florida, bugs are the least of your worries. If you live by a lake or the more rural parts of Florida, you are not going to want to even go outside. Mosquitos cover the top layer of lakes which means going outside results in a lot of bites even if you are covered in bug spray. Going barefoot could mean chiggers eating up your feet and leaving terrible rashes. Lovebugs will cover your car within 15 minutes of driving because they are clumsier than flies.
Maryland’s main problem besides mosquitos are cicadas. They are loud and will wake you up way too early in the summer. They are also huge and you can find them on almost any tree. The news is always saying that each year is going to be the worst ever for cicadas.
15. Gators and Crabs
If you live by a lake, which is very likely, you will see a gator outside at least once. I saw one on my way home from school waiting patiently on my doorstep. I was just lucky it was a baby! Because of this major problem, in every police duo, at least one is trained to wrangle a gator. Also, don’t forget to visit Gatorland in Orlando, to see just how powerful these creatures can be.
Luckily, Maryland does not have a problem with a carnivorous creature visiting your doorstep. But Marylanders are obsessed with crabs and are known for their blue crabs. One of your major summer parties here will include a crab feast. There you will learn how to break open their shells and identify the sweet meat inside.
16. Snow or Hurricane Days
Florida has pretty warm weather year-round. The lowest it gets is about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. With no snow as well, your kids won’t have any snow days. Instead, they get hurricane days that last about a week. Hurricane season is during the end of summer and early fall. You’ll get at least one in your area. Living by the coast there is a high chance of destruction coming to your home.
In Maryland, you get your fair share of snow days. Marylanders are also terrified of snow. So if the grass is dusted, it’s a two-hour delay or no school at all. You’ll get some extra days off throughout the winter for a couple of inches to a foot. And major storms will cause power outages and the state shutting down for a week while they clear it all out.
No matter where you live, during these seasons I suggest being stocked up and prepared because the weather is weird and anything could happen. Your extra resources could help your neighbor out or people who are more affected by the rough weather.
Florida is a great place to retire. Not only is it full of wonderful things to do during your free time, but it also has great communities for you to live in. There are a lot of neighborhoods with mostly older residents and the city plans activities dedicated to its elders. This could include playing older movies at the theatre, spring flings, etc. Let’s not forget all the time you have to spend at Disney, enjoying the parks and going on the more relaxing rides.
Maryland isn’t really a place known for retirement, but it would still be a nice quiet place to live. Most towns still look how they were built originally, and shops tend to have a retro theme to them. It would also be a great place to visit historical sites or depending on life experience become a speaker at some sites. The community as a whole is very close wherever you live, which is a great way to stay connected during this time in your life.
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