‘We Got It Wrong’; Insider Caught Peddling FAKE NEWS About Florida’s Population

July 11th, 2023 3:24 PM

Armed with a Columbia Journalism degree and pronouns in her Twitter bio, Insider real estate reporter Kelsey Neubauer published a story just after 6:00 a.m. Eastern Tuesday that she must have thought would impale the image of Florida and its governor, Ron DeSantis (R), thanks to this supposed finding: “More people actually moved out of Florida than New York or California in 2021”.

But for anyone with a pulse, that made little sense, given anecdotal and statistical evidence. In fact, it was all a lie, based on a simple reading of census data under the column “different state of residence 1 year ago.” Somehow, Neubauer’s liberal brain took it to mean people who left.

After a serious drubbing on Twitter, Insider deleted a tweet of the story and, instead of a full correction, rewrote it with a measly note at the bottom and this headline: “We got it wrong: More people moved out of New York and California than Florida in 2021”.

First, the fake story. Neubauer began with this attempted dunk on the Sunshine State in the article’s three takeaways in bullet points at the top:

  • While out-of-staters were flocking into Florida in 2021, 674,740 residents moved out. 
  • That's more than the total number of people that left California or New York that year.
  • Those who moved out previously told Insider the state had become too unaffordable and crowded.

“During the pandemic, sunny Florida was a hotspot for movers looking for beautiful weather year-round and lax pandemic restrictions. But while newcomers were hoping to get a piece of paradise, Floridians were moving out, newly released census data shows,” she boasted.

She argued this squared with previous Insider reporting “that Floridians were moving out because of extreme heat and the rising cost of living — driven in-part by new residents coming in.”

Huh, it’s as if they’re doing this on purpose!

She even bragged like she had discovered the Holy Grail: “The data also undercuts the narrative that people are leaving states like New York and California more disproportionately than other highly populated states.”

She even fetched quotes from Realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale to back her up (click “expand”):

“Anytime you have a lot of newcomers in an area, it takes time for the market to adjust,” Realtor.com chief economist Danielle Hale told Insider. “What happens in the short run is that housing gets more expensive.” 


“If you only look at incoming or outgoing migration, you're going to miss some important pieces of the story,” she said. 

Even though less people are buying homes anywhere right now, many of people that are looking to do so are searching outside their market Realtor.com's data shows, indicating that affordability is still driving movers across state lines, Hale added. 

“I think that it is going to continue to be a driving force for people who want to buy or want to rent and save a little bit of money on their housing costs, and a lot of times they have to move somewhere else in order to do that,” she said.

Once the story was tweeted, an epic dunk squad assembled, which our friend Mindy chronicled at the great site Twitchy.

DeSantis spokesman Jeremy Redfern spelled it out with a chart of his own:



The initial second story dwarfed in size (270 words to 507 words for the fake one) and, after the mea culpa headline, admitted “[o]ut-of-staters flocked to Florida in 2021, with some 674,740 people moving there” and a net gain of 205,163 people.

Other than a sentence that remained about “the American Community Survey,” it was a hatchet job that, other than the correction at the bottom and headline, made no mention of their blunder (click “expand”):

During the pandemic, sunny Florida was a hot spot for movers looking for beautiful weather year-round and lax COVID-related restrictions. Fresh data shows the scale of that move.

More people moved into Florida in 2021 than any other state, recently released Census data shows. 

An estimated 674,740 people reported their permanent address changed to Florida from another state that year, according to the data.


Florida also saw 469,577 residents move out, giving it net growth of 205,163 residents, per the estimates. California and New York saw a net decline in residents in 2021, according to the data.

To see the full text of the original (fake) story, click here.