New “State of the Region” report highlights Tampa Bay’s affordability crisis

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A "For Rent" sign is displayed along a neighborhood street (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

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University of South Florida researchers, along with Tampa Bay Partnership, lifted the veil on a new report on how Tampa Bay stacks up to other similar metropolitan areas.

Community leaders gathered at a luncheon at the University of South Florida’s campus to hear the findings. The report compared Tampa with cities including Jacksonville, Atlanta, Austin, and Houston.

Lucia Farris is the Senior Director of Research Analytics and Public Policy for the Tampa Bay Partnership.

“We see a lot of draw to the Tampa Bay area, even compared to other Florida metros. That is wonderful, and it creates a lot of opportunity in terms of new business establishment and a lot of new fresh ideas coming to the area, but at the same time it creates a lot of affordability concerns.”

The report shows that the financial strain on the average Tampa Bay family has increased. Housing and transportation expenses account for nearly 57 cents of every dollar spent, compared to 54 cents last year.

“What really surprised me is that we are consistently getting worse in terms of income inequality, and definitely that calls for many policy interventions.”

Dr. Shivendu Shivendu is an associate professor at USF’s Muma College of Business. He hopes the community leaders who attended the event will be inspired to enact change.

“We have to balance that we increase our talent pipeline, we bring good, high paying jobs, but balance that with avenues for more housing to open up, providing support to relatively poorer populations.”

The report notes that the area has topped its competitors in closing the poverty wage gap.

Read the full report here.

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