Creating a Path to Prosperity for All Zip Codes in Florida

The Florida Gap Map is now available. This interactive tool helps visualize the intersection of third grade reading scores for every public school in Florida with childhood poverty rates.  Equity gaps exist in Florida and Florida’s global competitiveness depends on a quality education system. For the business community, a commitment to this education system must begin early.


“We developed this interactive tool as the one source in Florida to show the correlations between school reading scores and poverty. The Florida Gap Map will help guide business leaders, non-profits, governments and philanthropists who are interested in helping improve
Florida’s public schools.”
                    –Dr. Jerry Parrish, Chief Economist, Florida Chamber Foundation

Visit  and share with businesses, educators, media and policymakers in your community to identify school level performance gaps, so business and community leaders can focus resources on helping close those gaps.  

To watch the webinar on the release of the new Florida Gap Map, click here.

In many ways, Florida is moving in the right direction. If Florida was an independent country, Florida would have the 15th largest economy in the world. Over the past few years, Florida has been creating one of out 11 jobs in the United States. Florida is the third-most populous state in the nation and welcomes 900 net new residents each day. For many, this is the Florida they live in- one that is prosperous, creates jobs, and propels economic opportunity. Yet, many Floridians live in a very different reality. Florida has led the way in economic growth and opportunity. We can and must do more to break the cycle of generational poverty by focusing on creating opportunities for all Floridians, especially those born into poverty. Businesses can, and are, leading the way in addressing this crisis and they are doing it through our Florida Prosperity Project. 

Find Your County's Poverty Rate

Florida has more than 3 million people living in poverty, or 14.8 percent. 829,342 of that total, or 20.1 percent, are under the age of 18. This is compared to the national overall poverty rate of 11.85 percent and 16.27 percent for national under-18. The sheer number of Floridians living in poverty in our state impacts not only individual families, but also businesses, Florida’s economy, and our state’s global competitiveness.

The 10 Root Causes of Poverty

Building pathways to prosperity isn’t made of one-size-fits-all solutions but instead, is made up of understanding the root causes and how they all interlock:

• Jobs
• Education
• Housing
• Transportation
• Health
• Food
• Safety
• Child and Family Care
• Justice
• Agency-Community Voice

The goal of these programs should be to get Americans who have fallen on hard times back on their feet – a lifeline, but not a lifestyle. While necessary, entitlement programs can have the unintended consequence of creating dependency, exacerbating the underlying issues and enabling a system that keeps those within it captive, unable to climb out. In order to create and sustain places for people to live, work, raise a family, learn, play and grow a business we must work to put an end to the cycle of generational poverty.

Watch Florida business, economic development, and community leaders discuss these root causes.

Ending Generational Poverty in Florida: Business Community's Commitment and Charge

Florida Chamber CEO and President Mark Wilson at the 2019 Business Leaders Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity

Florida Chamber CEO and President Mark Wilson urged the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources to begin breaking the cycle of generational poverty

Businesses are Leading the Way to Break the Generational Cycle of Poverty

See What Business Leaders Are Doing in Their Communities

Florida Chamber Foundation Prosperity Summit

Did You Know?

Less Poverty, More Prosperity

– Florida’s poverty rate for those under age 18 is 20.1 percent – that’s 829,342
children in Florida living in poverty.

– More than 3 million Floridians are on food stamps and more than 63 percent of Florida’s students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals.

– More than 75,000 homeless students are enrolled in Florida public school.

– In Florida, 3,480,886 households — 46 percent — could not afford basic needs such as housing, child care, food, transportation, health care, and technology in 2016.

– In Florida, the total number of households increased by 8 percent between 2010 and 2016. But the number of ALICE (the population in our communities that are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) and poverty-level households saw a 10 percent increase.

The Florida Chamber Foundation’s Less Poverty, More Prosperity: The Florida Fiscal Cliffs Report shows 3.129 million people in Florida live in poverty. The report outlines the impact of “fiscal cliffs. This “cliff ” occurs when a marginal increase in income results in a loss in public benefits, often times leaving families with fewer resources as income increases.

The large number of Floridians living in poverty in our state impacts not only individual families, but also businesses, Florida’s economy, and our state’s global competitiveness

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