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Poverty, Homelessness Rising Sharply Among Florida Students | Florida | Miami Herald

Since the economy collapsed in 2008, Florida’s student population has become poorer each year — with almost all school districts in the state experiencing spikes in the number of kids who qualify for subsidized meals.

Children have become homeless at alarming numbers as well.

Homelessness among school-age children has soared from 30,878 in the 2006-07 school year to 56,680 in 2010-11. Homelessness for children of all ages, including those too young for public school, was 83,957 in 2010-11, up from 49,886 in 2006-07.

The adverse effects of the economic downturn are having a significant impact on Florida’s public school system, in which over 56 percent of students enrolled in the 2010-2011 school year qualified for subsidized meals.

The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting analyzed data relating to poverty rates, homeless students and subsidized meals for all school districts before the financial crisis began up to and through the 2010-11 school year. The widespread increase in these three poverty indicators paints a picture of a state that has become much poorer after the Great Recession.

Advocates for the homeless say external factors driven by poverty — such as lack of housing, low wages, foreclosure and unemployment — place Florida and its public school system at a critical juncture.

Children living in poverty are more likely to have behavioral problems, complete fewer years of education, and, as they grow up, tend to experience more years of unemployment, according to poverty experts and research by the American Psychological Association.

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via Miami Herald