More Than A Sixth Of Ohioans Live In Poverty, And Half Are In Suburbs And Rural Areas

Apr 27, 2016

Sixteen percent of Ohioans lived all of last year in poverty, and nearly a third were under the federal poverty line for at least some of 2015. Those are among the findings in a report from community groups that work on the front lines of the war on poverty in Ohio.

The numbers are similar to last year’s. One in three poor Ohioans live in urban areas, but almost half of those living in poverty are in rural or suburban areas. Phil Cole with the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies blamed income inequality and a lack of jobs and transportation where people are living. "There are a lot of things that cause poverty, that get people into poverty. The challenge is getting out," Cole said.

And there’s evidence that getting out is very hard – a little over 5% of Ohio kids who start out in the bottom fifth of income will end up in the top fifth by the time they’re adults, but more than 38% will stay among the poorest Ohioans.

Check out the full report here.

Here's the report's researcher Lynette Cook talking about some city-specific stats:

“Columbus population, from 2000-2013, increased by 22%. Probably you’ve all heard Columbus is growing. During that same period of time, the poor population increased by 113%.”

"Compare that to Cleveland, whose population between 2000-2013 only went up by 1.4% - so Cleveland obviously having some population issues. However their poor population increased by 70%.”

“[Cincinnati's] population rose between 2000-2013 by 8.2% but the percent of those living in poverty increased by 83%.”