The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Prosperity Initiative has published a set of maps that outline childhood poverty numbers across the stats.
The maps dig down to the county and ZIP code levels. At the low end, about 8.5% of children in St. Johns County live in poverty. Hardee County fares worst, with a childhood poverty rate of 43.5%.
“Florida has 870,505 children living in poverty; that’s 21.3% of all of Florida’s children,” said Florida Chamber President Mark Wilson. “Half of those children live in just 150 of Florida’s 983 zip codes. The Florida Chamber Foundation’s 2030 Blueprint goal is to reduce the number of children in Florida living in poverty to less than 10% in the next ten years.
“To accomplish that goal, Florida’s business community will lead the way, working with elected officials, and non-profit agencies to create pathways to prosperity for all Floridians.”
The Chamber said it published the data to help business leaders, elected officials, and community leaders identify where childhood poverty is most prevalent so they could work toward solutions.
“No child in Florida should go to bed without knowing if they will eat tomorrow. Sadly, for too many children in Florida, that is a reality.” said Karen Moore, CEO of The Moore Agency and Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee. “Through the Florida Chamber Foundation’s Prosperity Initiative, Florida’s businesses have the opportunity to lead in helping Florida’s children move from poverty into prosperity.”
Florida Prosperity Initiative Director Michael Williams added, “Finding long lasting solutions to poverty is not an easy task but identifying the zip codes who could benefit the most is a great first step. These maps can be used by business and community leaders to show where the root causes of poverty are affecting the lives of young Floridians.”
The Florida Chamber Foundation produced the maps using data available through the American Community Survey conducted annually by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Prosperity Initiative is a brainchild of Wilson and former House Speaker Will Weatherford and has the express goal of slashing the childhood poverty rate over the next decade.
Represented by Wilson, the initiative has testified before the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources on breaking the cycle of generational poverty.