Survey: Florida’s Hardworking Families are Struggling to Stay Afloat

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Survey of over 3,600 Florida residents indicates people across the state are struggling, want more support for families, and oppose reopening schools during the pandemic.

Since the Coronavirus crisis hit, ParentsTogether has been continually surveying our members nationwide to find out how it’s impacting parents and families. This time, we partnered with Opportunity for All Floridians to see how things are going in Florida. Between July 16 and 19, we surveyed over 3,600 people in Florida. Here’s what they told us:

Florida families are struggling.

  • 74% say they are struggling (this is even higher than the national average of 70%).
  • 56% have lost income, only 5% of whom have seen their income return to pre-pandemic levels. 
    • Re-opening has not helped most respondents regain a financial foothold. Of those who have lost income, less than half did so because they were laid off or their place of work was closed.
  • Of those who have lost income, 76% have had to make trade-offs between essentials like rent, healthcare, and food.
  • People have seen their economic situations deteriorate significantly this year:

Before this crisis hit, how would you have rated your financial situation?

How would you rate your financial situation now?

Floridians are worried.

  • 65% of survey respondents are worried about getting sick.
  • The education and safety of children are major concerns: 51% worry about keeping their kids on track with schooling, and 44% about keeping them safely occupied.
  •  61% are worried about lost work/income and/or paying their rent/mortgage/other bills.

The unemployment system is failing Floridians.

  • 71% of those who have lost income say they are ineligible for unemployment benefits (UI), or don’t know if they are eligible. 
    • 22% say they’re ineligible because they were self-employed, 17% because they didn’t earn enough money.
  • Of those who say they are eligible or were not sure, only 24% have received everything they are owed to date. Nearly half of those surveyed — 46% — have not received any financial assistance yet.

What Floridians want from their elected leaders:

  • 89% think FL unemployment benefits should be up to $500/week for 26 weeks. The current maximum in weekly benefits is $275 for up to 12 weeks. 
  • 77% believe schools should not re-open this fall.
  • 87% support extending federal unemployment assistance. 
  • 90% believe the federal government should send more money directly to states and local governments for food assistance programs, access to healthcare, and other essential services during this crisis.

Key Findings by region:

  South FL Tampa Bay Orlando Jacksonville
Respondents (n) 804 628 595 273
Biggest concern (above 50% concerned) Getting sick (65%), losing work/income (50%), keeping children on track with ed (52%) Getting sick (66%) Getting sick (67%), paying bills (52%) Getting sick (70%)
Top industries healthcare and education healthcare and education healthcare healthcare and education
Race White (34%), Hispanic (34%) Black (26%) White (60%), Black (18%), Hispanic (16%) White (45%), Black (21%), Hispanic (28%) White (55%), Black (33%), 
Say they are struggling 73.58% 73.73% 72.27% 78.39%
Making trade-offs of essentials 75.65% 75.78% 77.82% 73.58%
Say they are ineligible for Unemployment (UI) or don’t know 68.27% 65.71% 63.18% 75.63%
Support raising FL UI max 83.98% 81.53% 82.19% 81.28%
Say schools shouldn’t reopen 77.33% 70.21% 79.21% 70.74%
Support extending federal UI 83.27% 80.85% 80.23% 79.26%
Support sending federal funds to states for services 88.79% 83.33% 85.81% 84.04%

What some of our members told us about what they are experiencing:

“It’s been so stressful not being able to work and not qualifying for any assistance . I have been very depressed and can’t get help with that either.”

Tiffany, Largo

I cannot afford to make mortgage payments because I am paying for increased food costs and other bills. I’m about to lose my business, not enough to sustain my household. I work in a service industry that was forced back too soon and now likely to close again. [When I applied for unemployment,] I could’t get through. I am an independent contractor […] I was denied twice then got the federal aid for three weeks then told I didn’t qualify until I fix something on the application but I can’t ever get in the system

Michelle, Groveland

My husband and I have not received a stimulus check yet. This would have helped us immensely, but now we are just stuck . My daughter and her little baby live with us. So at this time we’re also juggling baby food diapers all of this and she was a preemie.

Kim, Spring Hill