Household income approaches prerecession level in Florida

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Median household income in Florida has returned to the same range as it was before the recession, and fewer people in Florida are married than a decade ago, according to figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Median household income in Florida last year was almost $47,500, an increase of more than 3 percent from 2013, and the highest since the start of the recession. In 2008, Florida’s median income was almost $47,800.

Alachua, Monroe, Martin and Flagler counties had jumps in income of more than 12 percent. Citrus and Columbia counties had income declines of more than 10 percent.

The Census figures showed that the marriage rate in Florida last year was almost 46 percent, while it was almost 53 percent in 2005. The matrimonial decline in Florida mirrors a similar trend nationwide. Nationally, the marriage rate was 53.4 percent in 2005 but 47.7 percent in 2014.

The Census figures also showed Florida’s poverty rate declining slightly from 17 percent in 2013 to 16.5 percent in 2014. Among age groups, the highest poverty rate – 23.8 percent – was for children under age 18. Flagler and Monroe counties had the biggest poverty declines last year.

More Floridians are deciding not to marry, the Census figures showed. Almost 32 percent of adult Floridians had never married last year. A decade ago, more than a quarter had never married.

“The lower rates of marriage reflect an ongoing trend toward delayed marriage, never-marriage and high rates of cohabitation among the large cohort of millennials,” said Tanya Koropeckyj-Cox, a sociology professor at the University of Florida. “The economic strains experienced by young adults over the past decade, as well as attitudes that favor later marriage and non-marital cohabitation, have contributed to these demographic patterns.”

Florida also has the nation’s largest share of senior citizens, and they are cohabitating with unmarried partners in larger numbers than their predecessors.

“As the baby boom cohort ages, their demographic patterns reflect many of the social changes that have occurred during their lifetimes, including lower rates of marriage,” she said. “Older adults today have much higher rates and greater acceptance of cohabitation than earlier cohorts.”

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