Florida is the nation’s second most poverty-stricken state, at 19.5 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s supplemental poverty measure in 2012, and reported by the Tallahassee-based Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy (FCFEP) in a new August brief released Monday.
Entitled ‘The Condition of Florida by the Numbers,’ the FCFEP paper also notes that about 1.4 million Floridians or 7.5 percent of the population lived in deep poverty in 2012, an increase from 5.5 percent in 2000. For children under 18 years, the poverty rate was 25.4 percent in 2012.
Perhaps just as shocking as the poverty numbers are those on wages and income inequality. In 2010, the U.S. Census found that Florida ranked as the fifth-worst state in terms of income inequality – the gap between those making most of the income and those making the least. In Florida, the top 1 percent earned on average 32.2 times as much as the bottom 99 percent, the paper notes.
Average wages in Florida trails the national rate and declined further in 2013 to 87.6 percent of the U.S. average wage. In 2012, the median household income in Florida was $46,071, 39th in the nation and well below the $51,017 median for the entire U.S.
Known as the sunshine state and presumably attractive to the elderly, Florida ranked 43rd among the states in a report by the AARP which examined services that assist older people, adults with disabilities and their family caregivers. The state ranked 35th in affordability and access to care.
On measures of education expenditures and health insurance coverage, Florida fared no better.
Regardless of the measurements and sources used, Florida ranks near the bottom of all states. The state ranked 49th among the nation in per capita expenditures of state and local government for all education in 2010-2011. And it ranked 50th in percent change in total educational revenue per FTE, during the period 2008-2013.
About four million Floridians (20 percent of the population) are without health insurance giving it a rank of 48th among the states. Only Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi have a higher percentage of residents without health coverage.
The brief notes that Florida ranks 51st among the states and the District of Columbia, in per capita funding received under the Affordable Care Act, foregoing at least $300 million in tax revenue and not including the loss of $51 billion due to the failure to expand Medicaid.
Florida also failed to spend $400 million of its allotment for Children’s Health insurance which resulted in a loss of an additional $200 million in revised funding allocations, the paper points out.
Despite increases in enrollment of uninsured children, excluding Texas, Florida still has the largest percentage of uninsured children of the Southern states. About 11.4 percent of Florida children remain uninsured.
Regarding fairness of the tax system, or lack thereof, the sunshine state has the second-most regressive in the nation, hitting low-and middle-income Floridians harder than upper-income residents, the paper states.
The FCFEP paper laments that, while the 2014 legislature reduced taxes and fees and other bills affecting revenues to the tune of $558 million, there was no effort made to utilize these revenues to boost reductions in programs and services that had been made during the session and in prior years.
See the full FCFEP brief HERE.