(1) In determining whether an area suffers from pervasive poverty, unemployment, and general distress, for purposes of ss. 290.0055 and 290.0065, the governing body and the office shall use data from the most current decennial census, and from information published by the Bureau of the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The data shall be comparable in point or period of time and methodology employed. (2) Pervasive poverty shall be evidenced by a showing that poverty is widespread throughout the nominated area. The poverty rate of the nominated area shall be established using the following criteria:
(a) In each census geographic block group within a nominated area, the poverty rate may not be less than 20 percent. However, for an area nominated for designation as a rural enterprise zone which does not have a poverty rate of more than 20 percent in each census geographic block group within the nominated area, the poverty rate for the nominated area may be calculated using the poverty rate for the entire county, which may not be less than 20 percent.
(b) In at least 50 percent of the census geographic block groups within the nominated area, the poverty rate may not be less than 30 percent. This requirement does not apply to an area nominated for designation as a rural enterprise zone.
(c) Census geographic block groups with no population shall be treated as having a poverty rate which meets the standards of paragraph (a), but shall be treated as having a zero poverty rate for purposes of applying paragraph (b).
(d) A nominated area may not contain a noncontiguous parcel unless such parcel separately meets the criteria set forth under paragraphs (a) and (b).
(3) Unemployment shall be evidenced by data indicating that the average rate of unemployment for the nominated area is not less than the state’s average of unemployment, or by evidence of especially severe economic conditions which have brought about significant job dislocation within the nominated area.
(4) General distress shall be evidenced by describing adverse conditions within the nominated area other than those of pervasive poverty and unemployment. A high incidence of crime, abandoned structures, and deteriorated infrastructure or substantial population decline are examples of appropriate indicators of general distress.
(5) In making the calculations required by this section, the local government and the office shall round all fractional percentages of one-half percent or more up to the next highest whole percentage figure.