The city of Naples on Florida’s Gulf Coast is paradise on Earth, if you believe those slick websites that rank the best US cities to live in or retire in. But if you talk with the people who work in its hospitals, restaurants and city government, you’ll get another story. They’d like to live in Naples, too, but most of them can’t afford to.
The city of 19,000 is home to the second-richest ZIP code in the US, after Miami Beach. Median household income stood at about $125,000 in 2021, compared with about $62,000 in Florida overall, according to the Census Bureau. Naples landed on a 2022 list of least affordable places for renters compiled by the National Apartment Association.
Amid a dearth of reasonably priced housing, at least 90% of city employees live outside Naples. Job vacancies are going unfilled, leading to chronic staffing shortages. The shortfall among firefighters, police officers and other essential workers in Collier County, which includes Naples, verges on unsafe, according to one local advocate. Private-sector employers have converted a hotel into apartments for workers as a temporary fix.