Cost of Living Increases in Florida and Clearwater

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Cost of Living Increases in Florida and Clearwater

Unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, you may have noticed that everything has gotten wayyy more expensive. Just how much has the cost of living gone up in Florida and Clearwater anyway?

Since 2020, Florida has experienced significant increases in the cost of living, affecting various essential expenses. This article explores the specific percentage increases for housing, insurance, building materials, gas, groceries, dining out at restaurants, utilities, medical care, prescriptions and the overall cost of goods.

Housing Costs Skyrocket

Housing costs in Florida have surged by approximately 18% from 2019 to 2023. This spike includes both rent and home prices, driven by a high demand and limited supply of housing.  www.marketplace.org/2023/10/20/here-is-how-much-more-everything-costs-since-the-pandemic-began

Insurance Premiums Soar

Homeowners’ insurance premiums have seen a sharp rise, increasing by about 23% from 2020 to 2024. This increase stems from heightened risks related to natural disasters and other factors.  www.wuwf.org/florida-news/2022-06-06/the-high-and-getting-higher-cost-of-living-in-florida

Building Materials Prices Climb

Building materials costs have escalated dramatically. Prices have risen by 35.6% since the start of the pandemic. Softwood lumber, for example, experienced a 60.4% increase in recent years, while steel products surged by 128% in 2021.  www.bls.gov/blog/2021/a-look-at-the-price-of-construction.htm,  www.nahb.org/blog/2022/05/building-materials-up-more-than-19-percent-year-over-year

Gas Prices Increase

Gas prices have fluctuated but overall increased by about 52% from 2019 to 2023. The rising costs result from global supply chain issues and increased demand.  www.marketplace.org/2023/10/20/here-is-how-much-more-everything-costs-since-the-pandemic-began

Grocery Prices Rise

Grocery prices have consistently climbed. From January 2020 to January 2024, food prices increased by approximately 23%. Notably, the price of eggs went up by 50% during this period.  www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2024/consumer-prices-up-3-1-percent-from-january-2023-to-january-2024.htm

Dining Out Costs More

Dining out at restaurants has become more expensive. From January 2023 to January 2024, the price for food away from home increased by 5.1%, continuing a broader upward trend.  www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2024/consumer-prices-up-3-1-percent-from-january-2023-to-january-2024.htm

Utilities Bills Up

Utility costs, including electricity and other energy services, have increased significantly. Energy services prices rose by 15.6% in one year, although recent fluctuations have occurred.  www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2024/consumer-prices-up-3-1-percent-from-january-2023-to-january-2024.htm

Medical Care Expenses Grow

Medical care costs have also increased. Health insurance premiums, out-of-pocket expenses, and other related costs have risen by approximately 10% annually since 2020, reflecting broader healthcare inflation trends.  www.wuwf.org/florida-news/2022-06-06/the-high-and-getting-higher-cost-of-living-in-florida

Prescription Costs Surge

The cost of prescription medications has surged by about 8% per year since 2020. This rise results from increased drug prices and higher demand for medical treatments.  www.marketplace.org/2023/10/20/here-is-how-much-more-everything-costs-since-the-pandemic-began

Overall Cost of Goods

The general cost of goods has followed the overall inflation trend, with the Consumer Price Index for all items rising by about 3.1% from January 2023 to January 2024. This increase mirrors the broader price hikes across many categories of consumer goods.  www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2024/consumer-prices-up-3-1-percent-from-january-2023-to-january-2024.htm

Income

Since 2020, income trends in Florida show a mixed picture, with some increases and decreases depending on various factors and types of employment.

Overall Income Trends:

Median Household Income: The median household income in Florida decreased by 2.9% from 2019 to 2020. This decline reflects the broader economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on household earnings. www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2021/income-poverty-health-insurance-coverage.html

  1. Wage Growth in Certain Sectors: Despite the overall decline, specific sectors experienced wage growth. For example, wages in the “accommodation and food services” sector, which includes restaurants and hotels, rose by 18.4% between 2020 and 2021, after an initial drop in early 2020. www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2021/12/22/many-u-s-workers-are-seeing-bigger-paychecks-in-pandemic-era-but-gains-arent-spread-evenly
  2. Full-Time Workers: Earnings for full-time, year-round workers increased by 6.9% between 2019 and 2020. This increase occurred because the pandemic disproportionately affected lower-wage workers, leading to a higher median income for those who remained employed full-time. www.census.gov/library/stories/2021/09/workers-earnings-decline-overall-during-pandemic-but-increase-for-full-time-year-round-workers.html
  3. Income Inequality: Income inequality in Florida decreased in 2022 for the first time since 2007, mainly due to declines in real incomes at the middle and top income brackets. The Gini index, which measures income inequality, decreased by 1.2% between 2021 and 2022. www.census.gov/library/stories/2023/09/income-inequality.html

Regional Comparisons:

Florida’s income growth has been in the middle of the pack compared to other states. While Florida ranked highly in wage growth for private-sector workers, it did not lead in overall income growth compared to other populous states like California. www.politifact.com/factchecks/2024/jan/08/ron-desantis/is-income-growth-in-florida-no-1-in-the-us-as-ron

Impact of Policies:

Government policies, including stimulus payments and tax credits during the pandemic, influenced these trends. These policies provided temporary boosts to post-tax incomes, helping to mitigate some of the declines in pre-tax earnings. www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2021/income-poverty-health-insurance-coverage.html)  www.census.gov/library/stories/2023/09/income-inequality.html

While some sectors and groups in Florida have seen wage increases since 2020, the overall median household income experienced a decline. The pandemic’s uneven impact across different income levels and employment types has shaped these trends, with lower-wage workers bearing the brunt of job losses.

Clearwater Cost of Living Increases

Since 2020, the cost of living in Clearwater, Florida has increased significantly. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area shows that from March 2020 to March 2024, there was an overall increase of 15.8% in the cost of living. www.bls.gov/regions/southeast/news-release/ConsumerPriceIndex_Tampa.htm  www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/current-inflation-rates

Key factors contributing to this rise include:

  1. Housing Costs: Housing costs have been a significant driver, with median home prices increasing and rental costs for a two-bedroom apartment rising by 21% compared to the national average. www.areavibes.com/clearwater-fl/cost-of-living
  2. Shelter and Utilities: The shelter index, which includes rent and home ownership costs, increased by 6.7% over the past year, and utility costs have also seen a moderate increase. www.bls.gov/regions/southeast/news-release/ConsumerPriceIndex_Tampa.htm
  3. Food and Transportation: The cost of food has seen slight increases, with a notable rise in the food away from home index. Transportation costs have fluctuated, but overall, there has been an increase in gas prices and vehicle-related expenses. www.bls.gov/regions/southeast/news-release/ConsumerPriceIndex_Tampa.htm

Overall, living in Clearwater is now 7% higher than the Florida average and 4% higher than the national average. These increases reflect broader economic trends and specific regional factors impacting the Clearwater area. www.areavibes.com/clearwater-fl/cost-of-living

 

Related articles:

Why You Should Visit Clearwater, Florida Right Now

Why Businesses Choose Clearwater

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