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Politics / Issues

Fact-Checking Senator Nelson's Florida Population Claims


U.S. Senator Bill Nelson wants Florida to be ready if and when a hurricane strikes.

That's why during a recent Senate Armed Services committee hearing, Nelson argued against cuts to the Florida National Guard.

As he made his argument, Nelson also took a little jab at New York State.

Nelson said, ""My state of Florida is now the third-largest state. We have surpassed New York in population."

But Florida's senator may be just a little ahead of the population curve.

"Well, we rated this one mostly false," said Josh Gillin of PolitiFact Florida. "We have to say, let's give him a little bit of credit. It's pretty close, it's pretty close."

But, at this point, it can't be said with certainty that Florida is now home to more people than New York.

"Recent census figures that came out in December said that we were about 98,000 people less than New York," Gillin explained. "The thing is the Census Bureau measures that from July to July and we're due for new numbers in December of this year."

So how did Nelson get it wrong?

"To be fair, he got that from a newspaper article in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that said in all likelihood this had happened," Gillin said. "We talked to a lot of experts who said that it likely did happen but there are no concrete numbers yet."

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