Key Findings

Across the board, workers in Florida are not earning enough to make ends meet.

For all five household types, less than half of all workers earn a living wage.

Only 47 percent of workers in the state earn enough for a single adult to make ends meet.

Only 20 percent earn enough for a single adult with two children to make ends meet.

Race and Ethnicity Matter in Florida

Data was available for white, black, Asian, Native American, and all workers of color, as well as for Latino and non-Latino workers. Black workers and workers of color overall were less likely to earn a living wage for all household types than was true for the overall working population. Latinos were less likely to earn a living wage than were non-Latinos.

Forty-seven percent of all workers earn a living wage greater than or equal to the living wage for a single adult, but only 38 percent of workers of color were able to provide the income needed for that family type. Further, only 35 percent of black workers enough for a single adult.

Only 10 percent of black workers earn enough to for a single adult with two children to make ends meet, and only eight percent earn enough for two adults and two children, with only one adult working.

Only 12 percent of Latino workers earn a living wage to support a single adult with two children, and only 11 percent earn enough to support a family with two adults and two children, with only one adult working.

Gender Matters in Florida

Across all household types, women were less likely than men to earn a living wage.

Only 44 percent of female workers earn a living wage for a single adult, compared with 50 percent of male workers.

Only 14 percent of female workers earn enough for a single adult with two children to make ends meet, and only 12 percent earn enough for a family with two adults and two children, with only one adult working.

Citizenship Matters in Florida

Across all household types, non-citizens were less likely than citizens to earn a living wage.

The widest gap between non-citizens and citizens is for the household with a single adult. Only 25 percent of non-citizens earn enough for a single adult to make ends meet, compared to 50 percent of citizens.

Only 9 percent of non-citizen workers earn enough for a single adult with two children to make ends meet, and only 7 percent earn enough for a family with two adults with two children, with only one adult working.

FL-Mia

Mia Arnold – Orlando, Florida

“I was trapped in a cycle of poverty, making minimum payments on my credit cards and never bringing the balance down.”

Personal Testimony: Mia Arnold

I am a married mother of three children, and I was living paycheck-to-paycheck and struggling to make ends meet. Three years ago I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of owning a business, and started Quality Indoor Janitorial Services with the help of a fellow business owner and mentor. My husband and I now work at our business full-time, are able to provide more for our children and are finally on our way to paying off our debts. Before starting my business, though, life was tough.

I had been working at a local Walgreen’s Pharmacy earning just above minimum wage, and well below a living wage. I wanted more for my family than I could afford — it’s not easy to say no to your kids, and we barely had enough to pay for necessities—and I quickly fell into the credit card trap. I was never taught how to properly manage credit and, before I realized it, I was trapped in a cycle of poverty, making minimum payments on my credit cards and never bringing the balance down. I was just throwing money away, and still couldn’t provide everything that I wanted for my family.

I knew I needed to get out of low-wage jobs, but I didn’t have the confidence I needed to start a business and I no longer had the credit to access capital. Thankfully, I met my mentor and he hired me to work for his company before teaching me the skills I needed to open my own business. I don’t know what we would have done if I hadn’t met him.

My husband and I bought an old van to haul our cleaning equipment, fixed it up and got it on the road, and we never turned back. I never lost faith and never gave up on my dreams, and now I own a business that is doing well. I know that not everyone is as blessed as I was, though.

So many people in my community dream of owning a business, but they don’t have the means. I know that I was lucky to meet my mentor and find a way forward. My advice to those who are struggling is to never give up, and never stop fighting. As my business gains success I hope I, too, can mentor someone with a passion to start their own business, and give back to the community that supports me.

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