Creating a Path to Prosperity for All Zip Codes in Florida

In many ways, Florida is moving in the right direction. If Florida was an independent country, Florida would have the 17th 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 economic opportunity. Yet, there is a very different reality many Floridians live in. 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 Initiative. 

Michael Williams

Director of the Florida Prosperity Initiative

Phone: 850.521.1284

Find Your County’s Poverty Rate

Florida has more than 3 million people living in poverty, or 14.8 percent. 870,505 of that total, or 21.3 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.

Visit to find your county’s poverty rates, ALICE households and more.

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

Florida Chamber President and CEO Mark Wilson at the 2019 Business Leaders Summit on Prosperity and Economic Opportunity
Mark Wilson, President & CEO of the Florida Chamber of Commerce 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 Cycle of Generational Poverty

See What Business Leaders Are Doing in Their Communities

Click here to share your community’s story

Florida Chamber Foundation Prosperity Summit

Learn more about the Prosperity Summit and be the first to know when registration opens for the 2020 Summit.

Did You Know?

Less Poverty, More Prosperity Report

-Florida’s poverty rate for those under age 18 is 22.3 percent – that’s 901,772 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.

The Top 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:

-Child and Family Care
-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.

Additional Resources