The U.S. Census Bureau reports Florida’s median family income has fallen during the past four years. It's seven percent lower than in 2000.
Only two other states show this low of a drop in income, Mississippi and Missouri. The numbers are not a good indicator of financial strength for the Florida family. But there is a slight hint of good news and that is job growth in the service sector.
Randy Cosec is a typical example of the Florida median income. He and his wife earn around $36,000 a year. He says for him, it's just enough to get by.
"We're doing pretty good now, but in a couple years we'll have to make adjustments to have children to be able to afford and provide what they need."
Working as a front desk manager in the hotel industry, he has hopes of earning closer to $40,000 on his own one day. But it's a different world on the second floor of the hotel.
Verna Jackson works as a housekeeper for $6.25 an hour. "It's really hard because you're just going from paycheck to paycheck every week."
Jackson has children, and that makes the money even tighter. "You just try to pay all the bills that you can and then you gotta think about food clothing you know and basically you're just working just to pay bills."
In 2002, the national median income for families was at $42,000. Florida's was at $38,000. It's dropped to $36,000 this year.
"Something to keep in mind is that Florida’s jobs typically come in the service industry, something that usually does not pay very high wages."
Economists say there is good news. Service jobs are on the rise, so while the pay is low, there are a higher number of jobs available.
It's a mixed economic look. The good news is there are more jobs. The bad news is they pay less money.
In 2002, Georgia’s estimated median income per family was much higher, coming in at around $43,000 per year.