Shocking Survey: Is Florida Failing? Half of the Country Thinks So

Florida, the Sunshine State, is often portrayed as a paradise for tourists, retirees, and businesses. But is there a dark side to this seemingly successful state? A recent survey conducted by YouGov for The Times suggests that many Americans think so. The survey asked 1,500 U.S. adults to rate the performance of 10 states on various indicators, such as health care, education, economy, environment, and quality of life. The results were surprising: Florida ranked last among the 10 states, with 50% of respondents saying that it was failing or performing poorly. Only 19% said that it was succeeding or performing well.

What’s Wrong with Florida?

Why does Florida have such a bad reputation among the public? There are several possible reasons, some of which are based on facts, and some of which are based on perceptions or stereotypes. Here are some of the main issues that may contribute to Florida’s low rating:

COVID-19: Florida has been one of the hardest-hit states by the coronavirus pandemic, with over 3.7 million cases and over 59,000 deaths as of November 2021. The state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, has been criticized for his handling of the crisis, especially for his resistance to mask mandates, vaccine requirements, and lockdown measures. DeSantis has claimed that Florida has one of the lowest daily case and death rates in the country, but this ignores the fact that Florida has the 10th highest cumulative case rate and the 8th highest death rate among the 50 states.

Health Care: Florida has a large and diverse population, with over 22 million residents, of whom 20% are 65 or older. However, the state’s health care system is not well-equipped to meet the needs of its citizens. Florida ranks 42nd among the states in terms of health care access, quality, and outcomes, according to a 2021 report by the Commonwealth Fund. The state also has the third-highest rate of uninsured people in the country, with 13.5% of its population lacking health coverage in 2020.

Education: Florida’s public education system is also underfunded and underperforming, compared to other states. Florida ranks 45th among the states in terms of school funding per student, spending only $9,346 per pupil in 2018, well below the national average of $12,612. The state also ranks 40th in terms of student achievement, based on test scores, graduation rates, and college readiness, according to a 2021 report by Education Week.

Environment: Florida’s natural environment is one of its main attractions, but it is also one of its main challenges. The state faces multiple threats from climate change, such as rising sea levels, coastal erosion, saltwater intrusion, extreme weather events, and coral reef degradation. The state also suffers from pollution, habitat loss, invasive species, and water scarcity, affecting its biodiversity and ecosystem services. The state’s environmental policies have been criticized for being weak and ineffective, favoring development and industry over conservation and sustainability.

Quality of Life: Florida’s quality of life is a subjective and complex concept, influenced by many factors, such as income, safety, culture, and recreation. Some people may enjoy living in Florida for its warm weather, diverse population, and abundant leisure opportunities. Others may dislike living in Florida for its high crime rate, low wages, and social problems. According to a 2021 ranking by U.S. News & World Report, Florida ranks 13th among the states in terms of quality of life, based on indicators such as air quality, voter participation, social support, and community engagement.


Florida is a state of contrasts and contradictions, with many strengths and weaknesses. The survey results reflect the mixed and negative views that many Americans have of Florida, based on its performance on various indicators. However, the survey also has some limitations, such as the small sample size, the selection of states, and the lack of context and nuance. Therefore, the survey should not be taken as a definitive or comprehensive assessment of Florida’s situation, but rather as a snapshot of public opinion and perception. Florida is not a failing state, but it is a state that faces many challenges and opportunities for improvement.

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