Indian River County- Working Families
Historically, agriculture and tourism are Indian River County’s largest industries. These industries are complimented by an increasing number of firms in the healthcare and information technology industries along with a steady stream of light manufacturing and service sector jobs. However, the county’s unemployment rate has fluctuated dramatically in the last year, most likely because many of our citizens rely on seasonal employment. Indian River County’s 5.4 percent jobless rate was tied for eighth-highest in the state, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s June statistics.
According to the United Way, the median household income in Vero Beach is just about at the state’s average of $49,426. However, of the 55,494 households in the county, forty percent are either in poverty (11 percent) or earn more than the Federal Poverty Level but less than the basic cost of living for the county (29 percent). Due to high costs and factors often beyond their control, these families must live paycheck to paycheck. Who are these hardworking Indian River County families? The United Way ALICE Report (2017) notes:
- They are the laborers, clerical staff, mechanics, legal aids, and city workers who build and support our homes and businesses.
- They are the workers fill our hospitals, doctors’ offices and homes as aides, orderlies, therapists, and even nurses who care for us and our families’ health.
- They are the workers who harvest, transport, package, and sell Florida produce around the state and the world.
- They are the workers who shape our future workforce and leaders through their work in day care centers, public and private schools, libraries, community centers, and even our colleges and universities.
Children bring additional expenses to families. Thus, it is not surprising that many families with children live below the subsistence threshold. Most Indian River County families with children live in married families, however a greater percent of single-parent families have incomes below the threshold.
As the United Way warns,
“For many, a small emergency can quickly become a major financial crisis. Car repairs and health care emergencies, to name just a few, can plunge these working families over the edge into poverty and financial chaos. When this happens, families, employers, and our economy suffer.”
Democrats of Indian River County are working for working families.