Data from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey is making its rounds in news headlines, and there are some key findings worth noting. Most notably, based on these single-year estimates, Florida has seen movement from 2019 to 2021 in several key metrics and rankings: child poverty (17.7% to 17.8%, currently 34th), poverty (12.7% to 13.1%, currently 34th), associates’ degree and higher educational attainment (40.6% to 43.2%, currently 28th) and bachelors’ degree and higher educational attainment (30.7% to 33.2%, currently 26th).
These data points differ from the reporting of TheFloridaScorecard.org, which will see significant updates to these metrics in December with the release of the five-year estimates, also from the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Why wait for those? The multiple-year estimates provide a smaller margin of error and the ability to report results for geographies smaller than the state, major metro area, or large county. These attributes are key to better understanding and, ultimately, solving issues such as poverty.
The Florida Chamber Foundation and the Florida Equality of Opportunity Initiative fervently believe that, while state policy plays a key role in the overall health of the Florida economy and the prosperity of its residents, poverty is too big of a problem to be tackled at the state level alone; Local insights are a necessary component to move the needle. That’s why the Florida Gap Map, reporting child poverty rates and figures for each of Florida’s 983 ZIP codes and the 3rd-grade reading scores for each public elementary school for each one of Florida’s school districts, is such an important tool. It’s why the Florida Gap Map 2.0 will expand that effort, and allow business leaders, government actors, and local stakeholders to drill down onto the ten root causes of poverty in each ZIP code to better understand community needs, prioritize resources, advocate for improvements and – ultimately – measure progress towards our Florida 2030 Blueprint goals.
What gets measured is what gets done – and in that spirit, the Florida Chamber Foundation’s data tools (TheFloridaScorecard.org, Florida Gap Map, and Florida Gap Map 2.0) take a leading role to ensure an opportunity at earned success is available to every Florida resident.