Group challenges state leaders to consider formal dialogue on strengthening marriage and family.

(TALLAHASSEE, FL) On Tuesday, March 25, 2014, at 10:00AM, the Florida Family Policy Council (FFPC) released the State of Florida Cultural Indicators Report which was commissioned and published by the FFPC and evaluates the cultural, social and economic condition of our state.  The study will be delivered to every member of the Florida House, Senate, and Cabinet, all legislative committees and media and news agencies across Florida. 

The 55 page full color document provides statistical data for 37 cultural indicators in 7 different categories including vital statistics, crime, education, family, health, poverty & welfare, and business & government.  Each indicator compares Florida’s status to the rest of the country by using charts, graphs and graphic color images to accompany the raw data. 

Among the more remarkable findings of the study include:

  • While Florida’s violent crime rate has fallen 55% since 1990, since 1960 Florida’s violent crime rate has always been 36% above the national average.
  • On average, 83,000 couples are divorced each year.  Florida has the ninth highest divorce rate in the nation and the divorce rate has been above the national average for more than 50 years. 
  • Comparing with national averages, Florida’s SAT scores are four points lower in reading and 24 points lower in math. 
  • Florida taxpayers pay $1.95 billion dollars annually as the cost of family fragmentation from divorce and unwed child bearing.
  • The total number of births out of wedlock has jumped from 28% in 1960 to 62% in 2012.  Since 1960, the percentage of births to non-white unmarried women has increased by 126%.
  • Since 1960 the number of single parent families has risen by 260%. 
  • Enrolment in Medicare by Florida’s seniors has risen by 61%.
  • Florida has the fifth highest HIV infection rate in the nation with 78% of HIV in men being the result of male on male sexual contact. 
  • One in six Floridians now receive food stamps quadrupling this rate since 2008. 

John Stemberger, President and General Counsel of the FFPC was on hand to comment and offer analysis regarding the results and implications of the study.  Stemberger stated, “Virtually every domestic policy issue in this report is connected to the level of thriving in marriages and families.  While government’s role is limited in shaping culture, there is still much that legislative leaders can do to strengthen these institutions.  Our plea to government officials and public opinion leaders all across Florida is to begin a dialogue and discussion about how Florida can strengthen the institutions of marriage and family.  Our hope would be that future legislative leaders would create a joint commission, a workshop, a summit, or an OPPAGA study on marriage and family to explore solutions to reducing family fragmentation and increase the thriving of marriages and families.” 

Read Stemberger’s full media statement

View the 55-page Cultural Indicators Report

Video footage of the press conference is coming soon.

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For more information or more in-depth interviews, contact [email protected] or call 407-251-5130

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