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Poverty In Florida Falls, But Still Above National Average

Workers and volunteers help sort and stock a Tallahassee food bank.
Workers and volunteers help sort and stock a Tallahassee food bank.
Workers and volunteers help sort and stock a Tallahassee food bank.
Credit Margie Menzel / WFSU News
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Workers and volunteers help sort and stock a Tallahassee food bank.

The number of Floridians living in poverty has fallen since the Great Recession. But it’s still higher than the national average. The federal government has released two reports showing about 14 percent of Floridians had incomes below the poverty line. 

The figure is closer to 13.2 percent nationally. Reverend David Beckmann heads the Christian-based advocacy group Bread for the World. He says raising the minimum wage could help, but there are other solutions that don’t cost money as well: like criminal justice reform.

“That would help us reduce, in a responsible way, to have fewer people in prison, and then also have better programs and policies so that when people come out of prison they can go back into the job market," he says.

Federal data show single mom’s and African Americans are more likely to live in poverty which the federal government defines as $25,000 for a family of four. Yet far more people above that figure struggle with food insecurity, housing, healthcare and childcare costs.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas. She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.