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Poverty in Martin County

Martin County is rated as one of the wealthiest areas in the nation, but thousands of residents — including low-wage workers and fixed-income seniors — are struggling to keep up with the basic necessities of life.

Below are the most recent poverty statistics available for Martin County, and they reveal the necessity for a safety net organization like House of Hope (2010, the U.S. Census Bureau).

  • In 2010, 11.5% of Martin County residents (about 16,534 people) lived in poverty.

  • By comparison:
    - In 2009, 14.6% of Martin County residents (about 20,410 people) lived in poverty.
    - In 2008, 11.3% of Martin County residents (about 15,700 people) lived at or below the federal poverty guidelines.
    - In 2007, 8.2% of Martin County residents (about 11,400 people) lived at or below below the poverty level.

Federal poverty levels in 2010 were defined as $10,830 in annual income for one person; $22,050 for a family of four.

Think about those definitions of poverty and consider the low wages paid to many workers in Martin County (2010, the U.S. Census Bureau):

  • More than 41% of all jobs in Martin County pay $25,000 a year or less.

  • 20% of all households in Martin County earn less than $25,000 a year.

  • 32% of all households earn less than $35,000 annually.

The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting analyzed data relating to poverty rates, homeless students and subsidized meals for all school districts before the financial crisis began up to and through the 2010-11 school year. The analysis showed that the Martin County School District experienced the largest increase in student poverty in Florida, from 2,198 children in 2007 to 3,796 in 2009, a 73% jump.

Some of our most vulnerable residents have been hardest hit by poverty.  Census figures from 2009 showed:
- 59% of single mothers were in poverty, up from 30% in 2008.
- 29% of children under age 18 are in poverty, up from 17%.
- 5% of people over age 65 are in poverty; down from 7%.

Imagine...

You are a 54-year-old man, raising your 3-year-old grandson while caring for your elderly aunt and uncle – both of whom have dementia.

You are coping OK until the day your workplace goes out of business. You have to wait a few weeks until you can receive unemployment, but the rent is due and you are unable to pay.

That was the situation James was in when he came to House of Hope.

“I was frantic,” he said. “But the people at House of Hope understood where I was coming from, and within days my rent was being paid.”
With that crisis past, James said, “I have a solid plan to take care of my family in the months ahead, but it was this month I was struggling with. House of Hope really helped me when I needed it.”
 

 

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House of Hope + 2484 SE Bonita Street, Stuart, FL  34997-5004
772-286-HOPE (4673) + Fax: 772-286-7696 + www.hohmartin.org