Florida Chamber of Commerce discusses poverty reduction at annual forum

by | Oct 24, 2022


  • Florida Chamber of Commerce leaders at the Chamber’s annual forum on Monday discussed initiatives attempting to lower the childhood poverty rate in Florida 
  • The Florida Chamber Foundation aims to lower the childhood poverty rate below 10 percent by 2030 
  • The foundation unveiled a refined version of its Gap Map tool that allows local leaders to better examine contributing factors to child poverty in each county 
  • An analysis conducted by the foundation deduced ten root causes of poverty, ranging from healthcare access to housing availability 

The Florida Chamber of Commerce discussed its initiative to reduce poverty rates across Florida by 2030 at its annual forum on Monday, introducing a refined Gap Map tool that allows business owners and local leaders to assess potential correlations between mitigating factors and poverty.

As part of the Florida Chamber Foundation’s goal to help reduce childhood poverty to a rate below 10 percent, the tool allows for an analysis of how varying rates of poverty affect local communities, broken down by county.

Using the Gap Map, interlinked variables with poverty like school performance, safety, and housing availability can be seen and utilized in tailoring efforts to ensure specific resources are deployed to combat the economic barriers.

“We know that poverty is dependent on much more than education. In fact, poverty is an outcome of many interlinking factors that run the gamut of the experience a family and child would have throughout the day,” said Dave Sobush, Director of Research for the Florida Chamber Foundation.

Sobush discussed an analysis and subsequent diagnoses of poverty catalysts in the state, deducing ten root causes spanning a variety of sectors like healthcare access, transportation, and education.

The analysis serves as a framework of understanding that can serve to allow leaders to better dissect methods of improving economic equity and mobility within struggling communities.

Beyond the three aforementioned root causes, Sobush also deems job opportunities, housing, food security, child and family care, safety, justice, and community voice as contributing factors.

“In addition to shining a light on concentrations of childhood poverty at the zip code level and third-grade reading proficiency at the school level, this data visualization and analysis tool helps users identify the root cause challenges Florida’s children and families face that ultimately impact Florida’s workplace and economy,” the Gap Map site states.

Presently, 18.7 percent, or 773,801, of children in Florida live in poverty, though the figure is a decrease from years prior, according to the Florida Equality of Opportunity Initiative Florida Prosperity Project.

Notably, more than half of the 18.7 percent of poverty-stricken children are dispersed across just 15.4% of the state, largely concentrated in dense urban areas.

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