The truth behind those Sunshine State stereotypes

Florida: Fact or Fiction?

Every state has their stereotypes and no matter where you’re from, there’s a good chance you’ve probably been on the receiving end of quite a few jokes (I’m from New Jersey so I’ve taken a lot of abuse over the years).

When I told people I was moving to Florida, they often had something to say. One friend told me she had to convince her husband not to gift me with a box of Depend adult underwear.

TAKE THE QUIZ: How well do you know your Florida trivia?

So after four weeks down here, I took matters into my own hands. I verified a few of those Sunshine State stereotypes.

1)      EVERYBODY IS OLD

This stereotype is almost accurate! According to worldatlas.com, Florida has the highest percentage of senior citizens of all 50 states. 19.06% of Florida’s population is at least 65-years-old. In the Bay Area, Pew Research found Sarasota has one of the state’s largest senior populations at 34%.

2)      THE GATORS WILL GET YOU

Fortunately, this is false! The likelihood of a Florida resident being seriously injured by an alligator is 1 in 2.4 million. However, according to the FWC, about a dozen bites are recorded each year. There was one death in 2016 and one death in 2015. Prior to that, the most recent death by gator was 2007.

3)      EVERYBODY IS PACKIN’

They might call us the “gunshine state” but this stereotype is misleading. According to a 2015 Injury Prevention study, 32.5% of Floridians own a gun and that falls somewhere in the middle. Delaware has the lowest gun ownership population at 5.2% and Alaska has the highest at 61.7%.

4)      WORST SCHOOLS

This one is also false! In 2016, WalletHub compared the quality of education in all 50 states based on metrics including: student-to-teacher ratio, SAT scores, and dropout rates. Florida ranks 14th! States to our west like Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana are at the bottom.

What Florida stereotypes stick out most to you? Find me on twitter and let me know! @LizCrawfordWTSP

© 2017 WTSP-TV


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