If you were wondering how much it actually costs to live in Central Florida, a new study reveals the breakdown of expenses, and it's worse than most of us thought.
The study found that a family of four would need to earn approximately $93,00 per year or $7,769 per month to maintain a "modest" lifestyle in Central Florida.
For the purposes of the study, "living modestly" means that you can meet most of your family's basic needs. However, the modest budget does not allow for non-necessity or luxury items.
For example, the "model budget" allotted $1,594 per month for housing, $1544 for childcare, $1605 for food, $1501 for transportation, $803 for healthcare, $100 for technology, such as internet and cell phone charges, and another $621 for miscellaneous items like clothing, entertainment, and utilities.
However, this data was collected in 2021. Things like housing, food, and energy costs have increased dramatically over the past couple of months. For example, the average rent for a 962 square foot apartment in Orlando is now $1,820. That's $226 a month over the amount budgeted for in the study.
Using just that example, one could safely assume that it now costs well over $8,000 per month to cover basic living costs in Central Florida today.
The study also found that 71% of Hispanic children and 69% of Black children living in Central Florida lived in households that could not afford to meet their basic needs.
There are many households in this area who earn more than the federal poverty line, which disqualifies them for public assistance benefits, but who are unable to cover basic living expenses and experience food insecurity on a regular basis.
You can read more about this report on the Heart of Florida United Way website.