Duval County

‘We want to buy, but we can’t’: Families struggling with rising cost of living

Jacksonville is getting more and more expensive. It’s something a local mother named Corinne Pineda says she and her family are already hearing.

“We’re renting right now. We want to buy, but we can’t right now.”

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Five years ago, the average rent in Jacksonville for a one-bedroom was about $791 a month. Now it sits at $1,453.

Compared to that, a gallon of milk five years ago would cost you $3.35. Now that’s averaging about $4.21.

Prices are getting higher, but wages aren’t matching. Greg O’Quinn says the same.

“People’s wages have to go up to compensate,” he said.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported wages went up 4.5% last year. But reported inflation went up 8.5% for the same period.

So we tried to figure out how many people are finding it harder to live in Jacksonville and how many may be living paycheck to paycheck.

“So we do a lot of extra work to bring in as much money as we can,” O’Quinn said.

Every bill and cost adds up.

A single person in Jacksonville can expect their average cost of living to reach about $2,291.62 per month. That is about $27,499.44 a year.

A family of four can expect their average cost of living to reach about $3,584.80 per month. That is about $43,017.60 a year.

Jonny Gebert is a local father. He says he has worked even more to make up for the sudden tightening of budgets.

“But it definitely makes things harder. You have to work extra hours and try to do everything you can to make sure you’re stable and your family is supported.”

If you factor in recreation, medical bills, and more, required earnings are even higher.

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“They [prices] are just skyrocketing,” O’Quinn said.

Keeping those numbers in mind, we took a look at the most common full-time jobs in Jacksonville.

In the top 10 jobs, over half would not be able to survive on their own with one income. The chances are even lower if you have a family.

“I work at the local Target and price changes go out more than ever at this point, so it definitely makes it hard when you’re living paycheck to paycheck,” Gebert said.

Take a look at jobs many people view as staples of the American economy:

  • A JFRD firefighter, on average, makes $45,402.
  • A JSO officer makes, on average, $43,591.
  • A Teacher in Duval County makes, on average, $53,785.

These jobs may work for a single person, but it would be hard for a single parent or family to live off these wages.

“Stick with it. You just gotta keep pushing through. Do everything you can to make money because your kids depend on it,” O’Quinn added.