Financially, Hispanics in Florida are better off than they were a year ago, and Hispanics in the state expect that they'll continue to have good fortune for years to come, says a survey by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative in the College of Business.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida's Latino population (23.6 percent) exceeds the national average (17 percent), which is likely why Florida, like New York, Texas and California, has one the largest Hispanic markets in the nation. The new poll indicated that a majority of Hispanics (69 percent) said they're in a good position to buy major household items; this is especially true of Hispanics based in central Florida (71.4 percent), followed by those from the southern region (69.4 percent) and the northern region (64.7 percent).

The central and southern parts of the state are home to Hispanics with the best economic conditions, while the northern region of Florida is economically depressed -- with the exception of Jacksonville. According to reports, Jacksonville is the top city in the nation where Hispanics are doing best economically. The median household income is $50,171, the home ownership rate is 54.9 percent, Hispanics have a 17.1 percent share of self-employment and the city witnessed a 148.2 percent increase in Latino population within just 10 years.

Nonetheless, 65 of Hispanics throughout the entire state of Florida claim that they're better off than they were one year ago. Central Floridians led the way with 70 percent stating that they're better off, compared to 64.5 percent in south Florida and 60.5 percent in north Florida. Although, the Florida Atlantic University Business poll showed that Mexicans or Chicanos were economically worse off than Cubans or Hispanics of other national origins.

"Overall Hispanics in Florida appear to feel better about their personal finances and the economy, thus providing a boost to retailers, restaurants and entertainment sector in the Sunshine State," said Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., director of BEPI, in a statement.

Hispanics in the state are optimistic about the future, and 74 percent believe things will continue to improve a year from now. Central Floridians (80.1 percent) were more likely to feel they'll be better off in a year than those from south Florida (74.4 percent) and north Florida (66.9 percent).  

Additionally, Hispanics in Florida believe that business conditions will continue to grow strong in the next year, and 62 percent of Hispanics in the state expect economic stability to continue for the next five years. However, Hispanics in north Florida are far less optimistic: Approximately 53.6 percent expect periods of widespread unemployment or depression.