If you had to make a list of the most opposite states in America, Utah and Florida would probably be high on this list.
If you’re moving to either of these states there is actually more good than bad so rejoice in knowing that either will be a wonderful experience. But again, just thinking about my experiences in both states is almost comical how different they are. They are at least both similar in natural beauty but that is basically where the similarities end.
So, let’s look at the pros and cons of the Sunshine State vs. the Beehive State!
17. American History: Advantage Florida
Florida began to be developed and colonized in the 1500s by Spain among other European countries. Because of that, Florida has a lot of history and boasts of being established well before the United States.
Utah does not have the same interesting history. Utah became settled by Europeans mainly during the Latter-Day Saint movement in the 1840s. There is indeed history in Utah, but it has to do with pioneers instead of founding fathers.
16. Voting Responsibility: Advantage Florida
If you live in Utah, you should still vote, but the outcome is basically always known beforehand. Utah hasn’t voted for a Democratic candidate since LBJ and the difference between the winner and loser of the state is usually about 30%.
Florida is the complete opposite. Voting in Florida can make a huge difference in the results, as it is a swing state.
15. Government regulation: Advantage Utah
This is a divisive subject, but I am looking at this in terms of literal interference from the government. To be honest, no one likes to be interfered with, it is simply just a question of if it is worth it. So if you’re someone that prefers more government interference that is totally fine, but that is not the matter.
Utah has been consistently Republican for many years, and as a result, the norm is a relaxed relationship between government and people. Taxes are generally lower, business set their own terms and environmental regulations are low.
14. Schools: Advantage Florida
Utah doesn’t spend a ton on education and doesn’t heavily focus on education, plain and simple. Their programs aren’t bad on a national level, but they’re nothing special.
Florida is surprisingly known for a solid education program and does well to prepare its students for higher education.
13. Weather: Advantage Florida
Overall, the weather in Florida suits most people’s preferences. The pros of Floridian weather are well known: sunny skies, warm weather year-round, and beautiful thunderstorms. Utah’s pros are that it is almost always nice out during non-winter months, and when it snows it is beautiful. The cons of Utah are the lack of precipitation and the dryness. The cons of Florida’s weather are the humidity and hurricanes.
12. Drivers: Advantage Utah
Controversial and as much objective as subjective, Utah has better drivers than Florida. While living in Utah, I believed they had the worst drivers, but after looking up some statistics, it would appear Floridians are actually worse.
The difficult part in measuring the quality of driving is that it is impossible. Everything I looked at used different metrics like percentage of insured drivers, number of accidents per millions of residents, or percentage of drivers with a driving violation on record.
Not a single ranking had any agreement except that Mississippi was the worst in America. But it would appear Florida is worse than Utah. Florida just has so many retired people and non-natives that it is not easy to cultivate a consistent driving culture.
Instead, it is a free-for-all where the most aggressive drivers come out on top except for when they come out and over the highway ,barriers. There is nothing like driving in Miami, Florida and seeing a vehicle flipped upside down and other drivers just driving around it.
11. Sports: Advantage Florida
Florida is home to 9 professional sports teams of the 4 major leagues in America (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB), while Utah is home to just one: The Utah Jazz. Maybe that is why Utah Jazz fans are surprisingly intense! They only have one team to root for, so it has to count.
Meanwhile, Floridians have a history of winning with the following sports teams:
- Miami Heat
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- Miami Marlins
- Miami Dolphins
Maybe this is the year for the Florida Panthers, Orlando Magic, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tampa Bay Rays?
Florida is also stacked with good college teams including the Seminole and Gators. Utah has BYU and Utah University, who are sometimes good at niche sports like rugby and skiing and turn out occasional NFL studs.
10. Skiing: Advantage Utah
Florida is the flattest state in America. While in Florida, the highest point I ever reached that wasn’t a building was an overpass while on the I-75. Meanwhile, Utah is one of the best states in America for skiing, boasting the cite of the 2002 Winter Olympics. So many skiers come to Utah that the airport has a very unique baggage claim conveyor belt that is specialized for skis.
If you enjoy skiing, you should definitely move to Utah rather than Florida.
9. Diversity: Advantage Florida
Utah has wonderful people that have advantages in many areas, but one they lack and cannot fake is diversity. A very large portion of Utahns were born in Utah and many more have common ancestors that trace back only a few generations to the pioneers of the 1800s.
Utah is about 85% white with the rest of the population being Hispanic, Polynesian, or sometimes a different ethnicity. To be fair, it is not the most accessible state in the Union, and with housing prices growing, it is not very conducive to immigration.
On the other hand, Florida is extremely diverse, with only about 53% of the population being white. Florida’s location makes it an easy destination for immigrants, and following that are large populations of minorities.
While in Florida, I have met people from the following countries:
- El Salvador
- Costa Rica
- Puerto Rico
There are many areas where Spanish is the dominant language and even somewhere Haitian Creole is the most spoken.
Florida holds a rich blend of cultures and people. Utah has a very distinct culture, but one that lacks global roots.
8. Pests: Advantage Utah
To make this quite clear: Florida is invaded by all kinds of animals and plants, many of which make living in Florida a nightmare of the most vivid type.
Mosquitos rule the Sunshine state with their hideous friend, the cockroach. These two are so bad it is likely you will overlook all of the ants, ticks, rats, flies, and spiders. It is horrible to constantly be guarding your exposed skin against the world’s favorite disease carrier and worrying about what is crawling around your room at night.
Though the mosquitos and cockroaches are constant fears, all the other pests combine to form formidable backup.
Utah barely has bugs unless you go to the mountains, so there is little to worry about. Utah wins big time when it comes to bugs.
7. Real Estate: Advantage Florida
Would you believe that Utah is quickly becoming a nightmare to purchase real estate because of how popular it is becoming? Utah is in the top 10 states with the most expensive homes with an average of $351,000. Florida sits at just $237,900. That is astonishingly over $100,000 difference, a highly noticeable difference.
The homes in Utah tend to be newer because of all the recent growth, but it is hard to believe a regular split house can cost over a half million dollars whereas in Florida you can get the same house for less than half that price.
6. Travel Opportunity: Tie
Florida may seem like it is the obvious winner, but let me make an argument.
Firstly, Florida is itself a hotspot for travel, but with being on the edge of the Caribbean, a whole world of travel is right before you. Islands like the Bahamas, Haiti, Aruba, and Jamaica are very accessible, as are Mexico and other Latin American Countries.
Utah, while not as traveled to, lies in the middle of a plethora of options. I am not sure why but it seems like Utahns travel more than anyone. I would be willing to say that more than half the people I know have been to Hawaii. California and Seattle are also popular travel destinations. Mexico and Canada are similarly not far away and popular to travel to.
The Salt Lake City Airport also recently became international, making traveling even more possible. Flights to London and Paris are becoming more and more popular.
5. Wildlife: Advantage Florida
Utah has huge amounts of wild and undeveloped land, but its arid nature does not offer a haven for wildlife quite like Florida does.
Florida has bears, panthers, alligators, crocodiles, iguana, pythons, and tons of birds, fish, and lizards. A rich assortment of plants covers medians and parks. It also has the Everglades. It is breathtaking to go down to Everglades City and see just how surrounded by wildlife you are.
In Utah, you are surrounded by nature that lacks the variety and intrigue that Florida offers. Honestly, this is one of the saddest parts of Utah for me. It is rare to spot even a squirrel or fly without being in the mountains. Even if you’re in the mountains, it is unlikely that you will spot panthers or deer around every rock and tree.
4. Entertainment: Advantage Florida
Florida is one of the most popular vacation spots in America and it is pretty self-explanatory why. The combination of good weather, pristine beaches, and nightlife contribute heavily to the influx of vacationers. If you are looking for a place to live that readily offers accessible entertainment, move to Florida.
Utah has a lot of entertainment opportunities, but not in the same amount as Florida.
3. Lack of Tourists: Advantage Utah
Florida has been invaded not only by mosquitos but by tourists and seasonal residents. Here are some stats to help solidify this point. About 65% of Utah residents were born in Utah. The percentage of Floridians born in Florida is just 36%.
The amount of visitors and turnover in Florida is exhausting. There’s nothing like having thousands of college students traveling to the beaches to trash them, cause disturbances, and pretend like they own the whole state. It honestly really takes away any seriousness and concern for real problems in Florida. Instead, it is just a vacation spot to be forgotten about the second your hotel keys are returned.
Utah does get a fair amount of visitors, but they all come to ski and visit the national parks. In fact, it is quite flattering for Utahns to see such a steady flow of international visitors to appreciate the grandiose of the beautiful state.
2. Economic Growth: Advantage Utah
Utah is the fastest growing state in America by percentage and has had the second fastest growth by GDP over the last two years. So many people are moving to Utah that it has driven up real estate prices astronomically. The area around Salt Lake City has been nicknamed the Silicon Slopes because of the huge increase of tech industries in that area.
Utah is developing wildly and has been a terrific catalyst for opportunity. Utah is where it is at for economic growth.
1. The people: Tie
This is less of a sentimental conclusion to say that no matter where you live you will love the people, but more to say I genuinely believe the two states are equal when it comes to this category.
Actually, the more I think about it the more I would say both states are equally disliked as well as liked. There are stigmas against Utah culture, especially towards the religion in Utah, but it is over-exaggerated and not usually well-founded. Florida is infamous for the “Florida Man” as well as all the retired people, but it is also exaggerated.