Report: Tampa cost of living lowest in Florida

Posted at 5:34 PM, Jan 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-26 18:23:25-05

Single mother Erisia Ortiz says she's tired of working several jobs up north just to make ends meet. She decided to make the move to Florida a few months ago.

"The cost of living up there is ridiculous, almost impossible to live," said Ortiz.

The latest report from the Tampa-Hillsborough Economic Development Corp found Tampa had the lowest cost of living in the state, and it didn't surprise Ortiz at all. Cost of living was her major driving force to come down here, and she's already she's saving money.

"There is a huge difference for me," said Ortiz.

Tampa scored 91.6 on a cost of living index compared to a national average of 100. That means your dollar goes farther in essentials for your family like housing, grocery and health care.

"This is actually very good news for Tampa," said Assistant Professor Abby Hall Blanco. She teaches economics at the University of Tampa.

Coincidentally, she also relocated from the D.C. area to Tampa, and she also looked at cost of living.

She also said the index has a positive impact on many fronts, including jobs. Tampa has a lower unemployment rate than the national average, and she said one age group is really benefiting.

"The average millennial makes about $33,000 annually, and you need about $21,000 to buy a home. And as their careers peak, their earnings are likely to rise, which very good news for the city and surrounding area," said Blanco.

More good news: Tampa leads the state in job creation. We found out just last month there were nearly 45,000 open positions, and a third of those were in high-skilled areas like engineering.

Ortiz's background is in the medical field. She was dropping off an application at the unemployment office, extremely upbeat.

"I feel really confident," said Ortiz.