The number of Floridians living at or below the poverty level across all demographic groups has continued to rise since 2007.

The Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy and the Research Institute on Social & Economic Policy at Florida International University report this month that 2.7 million Floridians were living in poverty in 2009.

According to the Research Institute:

Since the recession began, Florida has seen the largest increase in poverty in the nation. 2.7 million Floridians, roughly 1 in 7 people, were living below poverty levels in 2009.

Working age people had the largest increase in poverty, but children under 18 years old continue to have the highest poverty rate. 30.8% of all people living in poverty are children under 18 years of age.

Extreme poverty is defined as the share of people living below half the poverty level, or about $11,000 annually for a family of four. Between 2007 and 2009, Florida had the largest increase of all 50 states in the percentage of people living below half the poverty level.

The Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy report indicates:

Although 1.7 million of the 2.7 million Floridians in poverty are white, the poverty rate is “only” 12.4 percent among whites, up from 9.7 percent in 2007. But poverty now claims more than one in four black residents of Florida (26.8 percent) and almost one in five Hispanics (19.3 percent).

The numbers are grim: 2.7 million people in Florida live below the poverty level, including 850,000 children. That’s an increase of 550,000 overall in two years.

This report also sates that “another key indicator of people struggling economically is the number without health insurance. More than one in five of all Florida residents lack health insurance, ranking the state fourth-worst in the nation in the overall percentage of uninsured.”

This data on poverty illustrates the depth of the economic crisis impacting communities across Florida. In a recent story about the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, The Florida Independent reported that 20 percent of African-Americans and over 13 percent of Latinos are unemployed while the overall unemployment rate in Florida is about 12 percent.

Both organizations used U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey data for their reports.

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