Updated: 4 days ago
By Maria Youssef July 22, 2022
Rising Costs In Communities
As the cost of living keeps drastically rising, Floridians are feeling the crippling effects. Marginalized communities are the ones hit the hardest. The low incomes of these communities make it so that a higher proportion of their income is spent on food, energy, and rent. The plight of these communities cannot be understated and needs to be acted upon. It is time to fight for the betterment of Floridians all around the state.
Price Gouging Hurts Poorer Floridians the Hardest
The decrease in commodities due to supply-chain disruptions and corporate greed affects marginalized communities harder than most. While many in the affluent sectors of society may only see small hikes in prices; paycheck-to-paycheck families see a huge decrease in their already small disposable income. With Florida becoming the most expensive state to live in, price gouging across many industries from gas, food, and rent, inflation has hit Florida residents hard.
In 2019, the median household income was $59,227, however, it is predicted that this number has been lower as of late. Wages are not keeping up with the cost of living in Florida. Breaking down expected expenses for a family of 4, there is an expected annual amount of $13,896 spent just on transportation fees covering gas, insurance, maintenance, and public transportation. The recommended minimum amount spent on food per month per person is between $300 to $450 depending on where you reside. These two necessary aspects of living take up approximately $15,000 of the annual income alone.
The sharp rise in rent is another significant drain on income. Without regulating large management corporations, tenants are falling victim to rent gauging and being priced out of their homes. Since 2020, there has been a 31.4% upswing in rent prices in Florida. Median rent prices have gone from $1,340 to $1,760. The lack of affordable housing options for prospective first-time home buyers is only exacerbating the low supply of rental units. The median monthly rent increased from $1,340 to $1,760. The scarcity of affordable rental housing alternatives is aggravating the shortage of available homes for first-time homebuyers. The result is that renters are left at the mercy of profit-driven businesses, with some being priced out of their longtime homes due to economies of scale as opposed to the conventional landlord.
When taking a look at marginalized family income, such as the Black community, the median annual income in 2022 is much lower at $48,998. This means that these families have even less available income to spend on necessary commodities. In 2022 almost 10% of families in Florida live below the poverty line, with 6% being families with children. March 2022 saw an 8.5% increase in consumer prices from March 2021 on all items; broken down by industry, there was an 8.8% increase in food price and an astonishing 32% increase in energy costs. This disproportionately affects communities that are underpaid and underrepresented: the poor, women, and minorities. Unlike the wealthy, poor and marginalized communities do not own assets that shield them from the full force of inflation.
The energy burden is not new for marginalized communities, this is not a new problem either. The poor in Gainesville spend 22% of their income on just their utilities, which is much higher than the national average. Those in marginalized communities, such as minorities and the poor, need substantial relief from the predatory pricing from companies looking to increase profits at the expense of the most vulnerable.
The Commissioner can help these communities by ending the economic warfare of corporations and helping our citizens who were hurt the most. If this issue is something you care about or want to learn more about, check out J.R. 's Platform and his plan to help to resolve increasing rent prices and stop price gouging.