Best place to raise a family in Florida

Old Apr 27th, 2009, 09:19 AM
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Best place to raise a family in Florida

I'm looking to move the family from Maine to Florida but have no idea what part of Florida to consider. I'm looking for an area that was a good job market, good schools and low crime. Can anyone make a suggestion? Thanks!
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 09:28 AM
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Have you googled relocating to florida, looked at the best places to live magazine (I think it is a special issue of Money, but I am not sure), tried to find books on the subject, etc.??
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 09:29 AM
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How old are the kids? Want beach, rural? You asked to broad of a question. What kind of jobs?
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 10:04 AM
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I live in Central Florida. Orlando was recently rated #6 in "Most Dangerous U.S. Cities," Miami was even worse, and Ft. Lauderdale area was right in there too. Overall, another study ranks the state of Florida as the #5 most dangerous.

Economics -- we slipped into recession before the rest of the country. The housing bubble burst, and our red hot construction came to a screeching halt. With the retirement of the space shuttle program, there will be thousands more looking for work soon.

There are tons of houses in foreclosure even in our nice neighborhood. We have a rental property (near the beach) that was valued around $200K, we owe $135K, and can't even get a short sale at $65K - which is about what the homes originally sold for 30+ years ago. A Red Lobster that opened in town had a line of about 1,800 people for a few open positions as servers.

Schools -- well, Florida is not known for good schools, and with this economy, things are really getting bad. Social services are overburdened and being cut back as well.

Other than the fact that you won't freeze to death here, I'm not sure you want to consider Florida at this time. What type of job are you looking for? If you are a healthcare professional or the like, you may be able to find work.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 10:36 AM
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Looking for jobs in Insurance or Accounting. Near the coast (not sure if west or east) and the kids are 3 and 7.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 11:23 AM
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Wayne- what would you considered the upscale beach communities?
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 12:12 PM
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You might want to find some jobs first, then that may help you decide where...If it were me, I would opt for the JAX area. Again, depends on what you are looking for. Your vagueness is overwhelming.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 01:02 PM
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I didn't mean to sound so dire. It's just that Florida used to be the place to come for jobs -- that's why I moved here, way back when. Now I have friends losing their homes, living in their cars, etc. It's certainly not bad everywhere; Wayne has listed areas mainly to the north. Wayne's advice concerning areas to avoid if you want to find low crime and a good family atmosphere. Beaches are usually within reach, even though you may not end up living on the coast.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 01:55 PM
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What does this have to do with travel?
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 02:04 PM
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My suggestion would be not to move to Florida until you have secured a job. Unemployment is high and jobs are few and far between..... The only saving grace is the weather. You will not freeze to death living under an Interstate Bridge in Orlando, Tampa or Miami.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 02:47 PM
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Tourism cities have extremely high crime rates because the FBI averages the total number of crimes, including the ones tourists commit, with the permanent population.

It skewes the numbers to the extreme.

Example, Orlando may only have a population of 200,000 year round residents but gets 25 million visitors a year.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 03:41 PM
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You forgot the population density of the area surrounding Orlando.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 04:42 PM
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Mike T -what do you care?
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 04:58 PM
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Before making any decision on where to live I would do a lot of investigation of public schools. FL is known for having quite poor public schools (so many retirees aren;t interested that there is limited support for school expenditures). If it were me I would look at the states with the best public schools and then start choosing based on job opportunities/economy.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 06:48 PM
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Our schools are not all bad, every County has some that are very good and some that are not so good. Florida schools are not poorly funded anymore. We have made huge strides in lowering class sizes and making new textbooks available. Each school in each County is graded so a person can see how well a local school is doing. The problems associated with finding a job are real. If you can find a job the real estate market is great. Many houses are selling at half of the value they had three years ago. Don't be afraid of beach communities like Sarasota, St Pete, or Fort Myers, conditions may not be perfect but they are far from dire. One great savings for Floridians is that shorts and flops cost a lot less than boots and coats. Real Floridians and many transplants are warm caring people that enjoy life with 300+ days of sunshine a year.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 08:01 PM
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redrock - good point; the Orlando area is more like 2 Million, whereas the city itself is on the 200K size. Since cities have all grown together (Orlando, Winter Park, Maitland, Altamonte Springs, Pine Hills, Longwood, etc.), one really must consider the Orlando metro area figures.

nytraveler - I live in an area with tons of retirees. The neverending story we hear is that they don't want to pay property taxes to support the schools. "We don't have any children going to school, why should WE have to pay?" This really gripes me -- others paid for them when they were in school. That's the whole idea...well, let me just stop right there.

stpeterb - looks like we're about the scrap the class size amendment due to budget constraints. Oh well, it was never really implemented in my area anyway. And that FCAT is just a joke. But it IS cheaper to live here -- no income tax, no lined pants or heavy jackets. As you said, flip flops and shorts will get you through 9 months of the year, at least.
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Old Apr 27th, 2009, 09:27 PM
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We enjoy the Naples area a lot. Not quite so blue-haired with lots to see and do. That area is very south, so all winter you would have amazing weather, but the summer could get a bit much!
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Old Apr 28th, 2009, 04:17 AM
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The Gulf coast may offer more of what you're looking for. Check ut Naples and Bonita Springs. Both are upscale beach communities.
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Old Apr 28th, 2009, 06:15 AM
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This is a great place to ask a question about relocating (which is sort of like the ultimate type of "traveling" in my opinion). This is a very active forum with many people who have travelled all around the country or already live in the area you may want to know about. They are people who enjoy talking about different areas of the country and enjoy helping others learn more about them. I have found many people here to be friendly, welcoming and an endless source of useful knowledge. So, just ignore those who are being negativ. If they're not going to answer the question - they should just move on to another post!

Back to the question... I think unless you can afford to live in Palm Beach, Wayne's suggestions are very good. I especially like Bartow & Madison.
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Old Apr 28th, 2009, 06:53 AM
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"So, just ignore those who are being negativ. If they're not going to answer the question - they should just move on to another post!"

This is a travel website, not a relocation one. There is a forum for mindless chit-chat--the Fodors Lounge--where relocation questions (and the OP ONLY posts relocation questions) are better handled.
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