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Demographic Shifts: Snapshots & Trends

Population characteristics and family structures are changing. The evolving status of women and girls touches all of WGA’s four fields of interest and affects the resources needed to improve their lives. WGA’s research points to these key issues: family, age, and diversity.

Family: More varied Than Ever

  • Reflecting a national trend, fewer than 50 percent of children in Northeast Florida are living at home with two married, heterosexual parents.
  • Households headed by a single mother range from a low of 14 percent in St. Johns County to a high of 25 percent in Duval County. Of concern is the significantly higher poverty rate of those households versus married-couple headed families.
  • About 32 percent of same-sex couples in Jacksonville are raising children.
  • Access to safe, affordable childcare is a major challenge. Costs range from $4,000 to $8,300 annually, depending on the age of the child.
  • While men have increased the scope of their family responsibilities, the primary responsibility for daily care of children falls to women.
  • The United States ranks low globally for its policies on work-life balance. Only 12 percent of U.S. private sector workers have access to paid family leave.

Age: The “Silver Tsunami” Builds

  • All Northeast Florida counties except Baker have experienced significant growth in people 65 years and older.
  • Women 65 and older in Nassau and St. Johns counties (20 and 19 percent respectively) exceed the national average for ALL adults 65 and older (15 percent). This age cohort will continue to grow nationally and locally.
  • AARP’s “Livability Index” measuring quality of life elements for older adults shows low scores for Northeast Florida counties, from 46 to 49 points of 100.
  • Female family members provide the majority of elder care and many of these caregivers also are employed full- or part-time.

Diversity: Understanding Differences

  • Northeast Florida continues to be less racially and ethnically diverse than Florida or the U.S. For example, in Florida Hispanics are 21 percent of the total female population but 8 percent in Northeast Florida counties.
  • In Northeast Florida, as elsewhere, on quality of life measures like education, income, health and others, non-white populations place lower. The challenge remains to show progress on those measures.
  • For the LGBT population, the size and composition is difficult to determine, but reliable sources provide some perspectives: 3.4 percent of Florida adults in a 2012 poll identified as LGBT; 10 percent of Duval County high school students identified as lesbian, gay or bisexual; as many as 23,000 LGBT elders live in Northeast Florida.
  • In the LGBT population, youth have increased likelihood of experiencing bullying and violence; elders face both the usual problems of aging plus the potential for greater isolation, and all age groups are at risk for mental health issues like depression and substance abuse.
  • The foreign-born and refugee populations in Northeast Florida, while a smaller portion than in the state, are growing and expected to grow further.
  • Girl-serving agencies report an increase in both the number of foreign-born and refugee girls they serve and also those girls’ challenges of assimilation.

Note: Here and elsewhere on this site, Northeast Florida refers to Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties.

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Nikki Sabol

Nikki Sabol
Woman's Giving Alliance Director
The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida


In Her Own Words

Barbara Finke

“You are probably asked to donate to many worthy causes and you may feel like you're not making a real impact. However, with WGA’s research-based strategic philanthropy model that takes a deep dive into community needs, you can be assured your contribution will bring real impactful change.”

– Barbara Finke, CPA, WGA Finance and Grants Finance Committees


"WGA’s investment in research allows us to base our grant making on data and to demonstrate we are serious about having an impact, about moving the needle.”

- Scott McGehee, Past Chair WGA Grants Committee

Sandy Cook

“WGA’s decision to direct our philanthropy to improve the lives of women and girls was due to the very limited philanthropic and programmatic resources available to do so. The combination of WGA’s grants and the research that supports them has been critical to bring the needs of 50+% of our population to light.” 

- Sandy Cook, WGA Past President

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