Washington Post Criticized Over Incorrect Florida Migration Stat

The Washington Post published an article by columnist Jennifer Rubin which included an incorrect statistic about migration to Florida in an apparent attempt to criticize Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). The decision drew considerable criticism and a correction but no official retraction.

Rubin cited information from an article by Business Insider regarding migration trends in the nation. 

The author wrote that the Florida governor “likes to brag that more people are moving to Florida than ever. Not so fast. ‘An estimated 674,740 people reported that their permanent address changed from Florida to another state in 2021.’”

However, that figure was incorrect. Instead, the numbers were transposed. Florida actually accepted 674,740 new residents as compared to more than 400,000 who left California and almost 300,000 who left New York.

The error was caught by DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw, who recognized that the numbers were reversed. 

Business Insider issued a correction, this time using the correct statistic. 

The Washington Post issued a correction but did not take down the article.

“A previous version of this article mischaracterized Floridians’ state-to-state migration in 2021. According to the Census Bureau, more people moved into Florida than any other state that year. This version has been corrected,” the newspaper wrote.

Rubin’s original text used the statistic as a means to slight the state, and by extension, DeSantis’ 2024 presidential campaign.

“’That’s more than any other state, including New York or California, the two states that have received the most attention for outbound migration during the pandemic,’ according to the American Community Survey released in June tracking state-by-state migration,” she wrote about the incorrect population figure.

Late last year the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the Sunshine State was the nation’s fastest-growing in terms of population for the first time in 65 years.

The Bureau cited the increase in the state’s population of almost 2% between 2021 and 2022. 

“For the third most-populous state to also be the fastest growing is notable because it requires significant population gains,” the agency wrote.