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.
- 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
- In 2007, 8.2% of Martin County residents (about
11,400 people) lived at or below below the poverty
Federal poverty levels in 2010 were defined as $10,830
in annual income for one person; $22,050 for a family of
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.
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%
- 29% of children under age 18 are in poverty, up
- 5% of people over age 65 are in poverty; down from
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.