Latest “Tampa Scorecard” Numbers Released

TAMPA, Fla. – The latest results of the “Tampa Scorecard” have now been published on the website www.tampascorecard.com.

The report shows a stark contrast between Tampa and our peer and benchmark cities. Most surprising to Tampa’s leaders is that St. Petersburg’s per capita income surpassed that of Tampa’s for the first time in memory.

“The only way to truly become the best city in the world is to measure ourselves against the best cities,” said Bill Carlson, Tampa City Council Member, and sponsor of the study. “Although we need to support regionalism, it’s also important to know Tampa’s strengths and weaknesses so we can focus limited resources on key success factors. This means being honest about our real numbers and finding solutions to fix the difficult challenges. The study shows that poverty is not just a social issue, it is an economic development issue. To be successful we need to completely change the way Tampa approaches economic development.”

The numbers, compiled from US Census Bureau and other government sources are the first city-only analysis of the economic performance within Tampa’s city limits.

Whereas most reports show regional or MSA numbers, this report compares Tampa to other cities in the region, the state of Florida, and the benchmark cities of Austin, Atlanta, and Charlotte. Unlike “vanity reports” where national magazines rank regional data to get publicity in local papers, Tampa Scorecard was reviewed by academics.

The report was compiled by UNCC economics graduate student Alexander Frei who was formerly an economics student at USF where he served as an intern for Tampa City Council. The categories and frameworks were built from an analysis of how the best cities in the world measure themselves and was done in consultation with some of Florida’s best economists from USF, UF, and the Florida Chamber Foundation (which puts together the Florida Scorecard). USF Muma College of Business Dean Moez Limayem also consulted on the project.

“If we want the best companies and people to move to Tampa and to stay here, we need to look at our real numbers that they can easily find online, not the numbers we want them to see,” said Dean Limayem. “The Tampa Scorecard is an important tool for policymakers and community leaders to focus their efforts on Tampa’s future success.”

In May 2020 Council Member Carlson made a motion (unanimously supported by Council) for the City to create an “Economic Advisory Committee” made up of a diverse cross-section of the community and facilitated by USF to find innovative solutions to the problems identified in the Tampa Scorecard. The Mayor’s office will soon be announcing the recommendations of that committee.

Some highlights:

  • Tampa’s per capita income trend line is not keeping pace with peer or benchmark cities
  • In 2019 St. Peterburg’s per capita income passed that of Tampa’s
  • Tampa boasts the second-best ranking of high-income earners among in-state peers, but it is a distant fourth compared to three benchmark cities
  • Tampa’s median household income is 4th among the six peer Florida cities at $53,833
  • Tampa is the most unequal of Florida’s major cities with an income disparity between men and women of $9,154
  • Tampa’s income disparity between African Americans and Caucasians is second-worst in the state among peers at $21,051
  • Tampa’s middle class (as a percentage of total) shrank during much of the 12 years since the Great Recession ended while other cities. It’s now growing but at a much slower rate than the peer cities
  • Tampa has the second-highest poverty rate (18.6%) among peer cities
  • Tampa’s homeownership rate is one of the lowest among peer cities at 47.8%
  • African American homeownership in Tampa is even lower at 30.8%  Tampa is the most educated of Florida’s major cities but is far behind the benchmark cities
  • Tampa has the lowest violent crime rate of major Florida cities

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