Life and politics from the Sunshine State's best city

Florida is the Land of the Baller, according to new study

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

Remember in elementary school how almost every little boy wanted to be a professional football or baseball player? Well, they’re in the right place.

According to an analysis of job data, Florida has a disproportionate percentage of professional and comptetitve athletes compared to the national average.

So, if your kid is jonesing to be an NBA baller, don’t move out of the Sunshine State. Florida is home to 3,860 athletes and sports competitors. That’s 4.9 times the national average.

Apparently dancing doesn’t fall into the athletic category. Hawaii’s got the market cornered on that one. The island paradise has more than 12 times the national average of dancers living there.

Most of the nation’s most prevalent careers seem pretty appropriate based on the region. Washington, D.C., has 120 times more political scientists than the national average. That seems a given considering it’s the nation’s capital and fueled by politics.

Texas has nearly 20,000 petroleum engineers living within its borders. That makes Texas home to nearly seven percent more oil workers than the rest of the states. No surprise there in the state whose motto could be “drill baby, drill.”

Nevada has an unusually high number of gaming supervisors. Maybe not that unusual because, Las Vegas.

New York has a boat-load of fashion workers. Not surprising considering it’s the U.S. version of Milan.

So what gives

What gives, Florida? Why so many more athletes here than, say, Nebraska?

It could be the state’s miles and miles of coastline and countless numbers of pristine beaches. That certainly would attract athletes who often  can afford to enjoy a lavish waterfront mansion.

Florida is also a pretty good place to play sports. There are two major league baseball teams, two NBA teams, three NFL teams and two NHL teams. There’s also a Major League Soccer team in Orlando. The state is home to a pretty decent chunk of spring training for baseball, too.

There’s also a pretty awesome tax thing going on here. If you’re a professional sports player raking in millions a year, no state income tax sounds pretty awesome.

While at first glance this stand-out stat might make Florida look like it’s full of dumb jocks; at least it’s not Mississippi where there are nearly 17 times more upholsterers than the national average. I bet they have some killer second-hand couches, though.

And it would sure suck to be New Jersey, where marriages seem to be troubled. The Garden State may very well be the almost-divorced state considering there are five times more marriage and family therapists living and working within its borders than the national average.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email [email protected]

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