Florida Ranks Very High in Economic Study; Unfortunately, It's About People Being Poor

A study from the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy says Florida ranks third, fourth, and fifth out of the 50 states in three different economic indicators.

Unfortunately, those indicators are the highest rates of residents without health insurance, the largest percentage of children under 18 without health insurance, and the biggest income gap.

The blame, the organization says, is on the Florida Legislature.

"It is in this environment of growing poverty that the Florida Legislature cuts safety net programs like unemployment compensation and Medicaid designed to cushion Floridians from the worst effects of economic downturns," the report says. "State policymakers also reject federal funding for health and social services for Floridians and oppose the federal health care law that would provide insurance coverage to millions of the uninsured."

The result -- one in six Floridians is in poverty, and that rate goes to one in nearly four for Florida's children. Poverty is defined as a two-person family earning no more than $14,676 per year and a three-person family earning no more than $17,374, according to statistics from the Census Bureau.

Just over 21.3 percent of Floridians don't have health insurance, and the gap between Floridians making the most income and those making the least income is the fifth-highest in the nation.

Here are some other facts dropped in the study:

  • Florida's poverty rate is 16.5 percent, up from 14.9 percent in 2009 and above the national rate of 15.3 percent. The poverty rate for children holds that same trend.
  • Poverty among black people is double that of white people. The percentage of Hispanic people in poverty is about halfway between the two groups.
  • Just 5.6 percent of Floridians with bachelor's degrees are in poverty, compared to 15.6 percent for those with a high school diploma and 28.1 percent for people who didn't complete high school.
  • Median income declined 2.2 percent in the United States from 2009 to 2010. Florida's declined 2.6 percent.
  • Nearly 1.4 million Floridians earn half of the income of the poverty threshold -- less than $6,000 for an individual.
  • More than 58 percent of poor children live in female-headed households.
  • Women employed full-time in Florida make 80 cents for every dollar earned by men.

Click here for more information from the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy.

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