Neighborhood

The Children in Harlem Heights Are Growing Up

But who and what will they become? Fort Myers’ Harlem Heights community is a severely distressed community.

  • Within the boundaries of Harlem Heights, there are 350 single-family homes, 400 apartments and more than 750 children.
  • 31% of Harlem Heights families live below the federal poverty level.
  • 70% of children in Harlem Heights live in single-parent households.
  • Only 45% of adult Harlem Heights residents have earned a high school diploma or GED, no males have completed college.
  • The average household income of a typical Harlem Heights family is less than $25,000/year.
  • Demographically, the community is 71% Hispanic, 20% African-American and 9% Caucasian.

Source: 2010 Federal Census

The Children in Harlem Heights Are at Risk


Characteristics of severely distressed neighborhoods:

  • Lower performance in school
  • Higher risk of teenage pregnancy
  • Lack of employment opportunities

The efforts of the Foundation are focused on a particularly under-served area of Lee County. Harlem Heights was originally settled as a rural agricultural community.

Census tract 19.06 comprises Harlem Heights. According to the US Census, the 2010 Median income for families was $21,383. More than 60% children in Harlem Heights are living in poverty, and 32% of residents 65 years and over live in poverty. Heights has a poverty rate for children that is 100% greater than the county average, and average family income is 40% below the county average.

Today, roughly 780 children live in a mixture of single-family homes and multi-family apartments. Demographically, the population is approximately 71% Latin, 20% African-American, and 9% Caucasian. These families are not able to easily access family support services located in downtown Fort Myers, and benefit greatly from programs located within the neighborhood.