Nearly half of Florida households do not earn enough to pay for basic necessities, according to a report released Tuesday by the United Way that seeks to cast a light on the large group of state residents who struggle financially but do not meet the official criteria for being in poverty.

While 15 percent of Florida households are below the poverty level, another 30 percent are financially insecure — a figure that also applies to Sarasota and Manatee counties — based on a new measurement developed by the United Way.

The report zeroes in on the plight of low-income workers, people who have steady jobs but grapple with low wages and the increasing costs of many necessities. The United Way — a leading nonprofit in many communities that helps funnel donations to other organizations that assist those in need — created a new way of defining this population in an attempt to spark a broader discussion about those experiencing economic hardship and spur community leaders to action.

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