Sports

Florida Has Five Times More Professional Athletes Than the Average State

Thanks to the monster contract the Dolphins threw at Ndamukong Suh this week, Miami is now home to three of the biggest deals in each of America's three biggest sports, with Giancarlo Stanton's record-breaking Marlins contract and Chris Bosh's elite Heat salary rounding out the Magic City pay scales.

That bank-breaking trio may not just be an aberration, though. Thanks to the lack of state income tax, four major metros stocked with pro franchises -- and, of course, the beaches and weather -- Florida actually is a national leader in resident pro athletes, a new study has found.

The study comes via the Pew Charitable Trusts, which crunched data released last year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate the most unique job in each state. In other words, Pew found the one job most overrepresented in each state compared to the national average.

Many of the results conform exactly to your stereotypes: Texas has 6.8 times more petroleum engineers than the national average, Kansas has five time as many agricultural operators and Washington, D.C., has a hilarious 120 times as many political scientists as anywhere else.

But others are more surprising. Missouri is stocked with psychiatric technicians, Mississippi is a gold mine for upholsterers and Minnesota is heaven for food scientists. Good old Hawai'i has 12 times more dancers than the norm.

And Florida's claim to fame, Pew found, is 4.9 times the number of pro athletes. Pew's study doesn't go into depth why that should be, but it's no surprise that Florida's an attractive option for people who make gobs of money they'd rather not lose to taxes and who would like a home with year-round outdoor training weather.

That stereotype is already so ingrained, in fact, that the Rock is filming an HBO show right now on the very topic. Ballers will follow the lives of current and retired pro athletes living in Miami.


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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink