Census: Highlands workers earn less than rest of state
Gary Pinnell | Highlands TodaySEBRING - Highlands County residents are more likely to be married and retirees draw bigger Social Security checks than the rest of Florida, but workers earn $10,000 a year less.
Published: January 6, 2013
Published: January 6, 2013
That's according to the latest census figures.
In 2011, 40,000 households were in the county, compared to 7.1 million in Florida.
The average Highlands household size was 2.4 people; compared with 2.6 in Florida.
Married couples accounted for 51 percent, versus 46 percent around the state. Other families totaled 13 percent here, 18 percent in Florida.
Of those other Highlands families, 4 percent were female householder families with no husband present but with children under 18 years. The corresponding figure was 7 percent in Florida.
Nonfamily households made up 35 percent of all households in Highlands County, 36 percent in Florida. Most of the nonfamily households were people living alone, but some were composed of people living in households in which no one was related to the householder.
The biggest differences in families: in Highlands County, 21 percent of all households have one or more people under the age of 18, compared to 28 percent in Florida. Fifty-two percent of all Highlands households have one or more people 65 years and over, versus 32 percent in all of Florida.
In Highlands County, 2,100 grandparents — 450,000 in Florida — lived with their grandchildren under 18 years old. Of those grandparents, 36 percent were financial responsible for their grandchildren.
Ninety percent of the people living in Highlands County were American natives; which is 9 percent higher than the rest of Florida. Thirty-three percent of these residents lived in the state where they were born.
Ten percent of Highlands citizens were foreign born. Of those, 41 percent were naturalized U.S. citizens, and 65 percent entered the country before the year 2000.
Highlands people at least 5 years old are more likely to speak English at home, 19 percent here versus 28 percent in Florida. Of that 5 percent, 83 percent spoke Spanish; 40 percent (43 percent in Florida) reported they did not speak English very well.
Thirty-six percent of people25 years and over had at least graduated from high school; 15 percent had a bachelor's degree or higher; 20 percent were dropouts — non-graduates who were not enrolled in school.
College or graduate school enrollment was 3,300.
Among the civilian noninstitutionalized population, 13 percent of Floridians reported a disability, and not because Highlanders are older. Eighteen percent of Highlanders, but only 10 percent of Floridians, aged 18 to 64 years old are disabled.
Only 38 percent of the population 16 and over were employed; 55 percent were not currently in the labor force.
Eighty percent of the employed in Highlands and Florida were private wage and salary workers; 13 percent were federal, state, or local government workers; and 6 percent were self-employed in their own unincorporated business.
Seventy-seven percent of Highlands workers, compared with 80 percent of Floridians — drove to work alone in 2009-2011, and 13 percent carpooled. Among those who commuted to work, they took an average 22 minutes to get to work, versus 26 minutes for Floridians.
The median income of Highlands households was $34,772, $10,000 less than the rest of Florida. Sixteen percent of households had income below $15,000 a year and 2 percent — 7 percent of Floridians — had income over $150,000 or more.
Fifty-five percent of Highlands households worked for their daily bread; 72 percent in Florida. Thirty-three percent in Highlands counted on retirement income other than Social Security, versus 19 percent in Florida.
Highlanders draw bigger Social Security checks though: the average income was $18,087; $17,150 in the rest of Florida.
In 2009-2011, 20 percent of Highlanders lived in poverty, 3 percent higher than the rest of the state; 33 percent of related children under 18 were below the poverty level, compared with 11 percent of people 65 years old and over.
Thirteen percent of all families and 35 percent of families with a female householder and no husband present reported incomes below the poverty level, compared with 29 percent of Floridians.
Eighty-one percent in Highlands had health insurance coverage, 2 percent better than the rest of Florida.