Fields: Florida Does Not Need More People




Up until about thirty years ago, groups like the AAA would offer predictions about road deaths for upcoming holiday weekends.  By Sunday,  I started to feel this was a telethon hoping to break last year’s record.

I thought about this when I read the Herald’s lead story on December 28th. It celebrated that Florida has moved ahead of New York and become the third most populous state behind California and Texas.

And no one is happier than Gov. Rick Scott. He reacted to the news of our population explosion by declaring, “Florida is on a roll.”

Well I’m here to say that, along with traffic deaths, when it comes to Florida’s population, “bigger is NOT better”.  I think most people in South Florida would agree with me and not the Guv or the rest of the cheerleaders for an exploding population.

There is no evidence that more Floridians–as distinguished from more tourists who pay about 35% of our sales taxes—will produce a better quality of life.

To the contrary, air, water, fishing, beaches, traffic, etc., are more stressed every year.


Fort Lauderdale Traffic

More growth, more traffic, more inconvenience


We all know the definition of overpopulation.  That’s everybody that comes after you.  In my case, that was June 1955 when Florida had a population of 3.5 million.  We are now a bit south of 20 million and I can’t say that the extra 16 million have turned this place into a paradise.

The claim that population growth will produce an economy of scale and cut taxes is a myth. I don’t know anyone who pays lower Florida taxes today than they did three years ago much less thirty years ago.

Florida’s growing population is emptying our freshwater aquifers faster than we can replenish them.  As a result, saltwater intrusion has pushed the freshwater aquifers from the Intracoastal to miles inland. Wells that used to water Eastside Broward lawns are now saltwater and no longer usable.  The sinkhole problem throughout the state is a direct result of draining the aquifers.

Tourist season traffic jams are now year round.

The funny thing is that the public understands what the politicians don’t…Florida does not need more people.  In the last twenty five years Broward voters have passed two bond issues for the sole purpose of buying up vacant land to slow population growth.

Notwithstanding, Tallahassee’s relentless legislative thrust has been to grease the skids of population growth.

In the early years of his administration, Jeb Bush set a series of public hearings on his plans to eviscerate the Department of Community Affairs’ control of large developments.

I, along with a couple of thousand, attended the one in North Dade.  After the presentation, I was the first person to comment.  I looked out at the audience and asked the following:  “Will all of you who think that the solution to South Florida’s problems involves a bigger population raise your hand or stand up.” Not one person or hand went up.  Nevertheless, DCA’s development authority was eviscerated and our population surged.

I can’t say the same for the quality of life.

5 Responses to “Fields: Florida Does Not Need More People”

  1. Floridan says:

    A recurring theme in the Sunshine State — I’ve hear these sentiments expressed for the last 60+ years, and in the 1920s, many Florida residents complained that the state was getting too crowded.

  2. Hmmm says:

    Well Sam, for an open boarders guy, you sure switched to a NIMBY.

  3. SAM FIELDS says:

    when did i become an open boarders guy?

  4. Kevin Ceribo says:

    This is hilarious. A guy from New York complaining that too many people are moving into Florida.

  5. Commissioner Angelo Castillo says:

    Yea, well. They’re coming anyway Sam and they have been for decades. We’re irresistible. So we’d better get busy thinking about how to deal with it instead of wishing it would just go away.