By the numbers: Here’s what it costs to live in Central Florida

United Way breaks down monthly costs

ORLANDO, Fla. – A family of four needed to make roughly $93,000 a year to afford to live in Central Florida in 2021, according to the latest numbers from Heart of Florida United Way.

The group on Monday released a “Central Florida Survival Budget” as part of its annual ALICE report, which details what working families dealt with pre-pandemic. ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed individuals.

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“So, it’s essentially a fancy acronym for the families that we have right here in Central Florida who don’t exactly meet that level of poverty but still can’t make ends meet,” said Nancy Alvarez, senior vice president of community relations and equity impact at HFUW.

“These are families where both parents are working full-time jobs, sometimes even two jobs, but they still don’t make enough to meet the basic needs in their home,” Alvarez added.

The report found that 39% of families in Central Florida made more than the federal poverty line, but not enough or barely enough, to make ends meet in 2021.

The budget includes the following monthly costs:

  • Housing: $1,594
  • Child Care: $1,544
  • Food: $1,605
  • Transportation: $1,501
  • Health care: $803
  • Technology: $100
  • Miscellaneous: $621

Added up, the total monthly cost to live in Central Florida is $7,769, with an annual total of $93,228.

The least you could make to survive -- housing, food and transportation -- in Central Florida right now is $29,000 a year, according to United Way.

The United Way said 147,000 families do not have access to SNAP benefits, commonly known as food stamps, but did have food insecurity. Even with two working parents, 42% of families do not have enough to meet basic needs.

“When you consider the cost of things like rent, gas, food, health insurance, when you look at that, that is the figure that we’re focusing on right now, $93,000 a year for a family of four and that’s just not the reality,” said Alvarez.

To learn more about the ALICE report, head to the Heart of Florida United Way website.

About the Authors:

Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.