Ohio Is Getting Poorer


The Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies, a network of organizations that provide resources for low-income Ohio residents, just released its 2012 State of Poverty in Ohio Report, and it’s a pretty sobering read. The OACAA’s data is based on the federal poverty threshold, which is calculated yearly by the U.S. Census Bureau and is determined by family size and annual income. The Census Bureau’s computation of poverty status has historically been criticized by economists and aid advocates for relying on outmoded findings about where the average household allocates its money and underrepresenting degree of need, but it remains the most comprehensive tool for national and statewide poverty surveys.

Lazy? Too busy nursing a bottle of Dom and mowing over homeless people in your stretch Escalade to read a 52-page report on poverty in Ohio? Below are some easily digestible statistics from the report, but you might want to check out the original for the helpful infographics at the beginning, which is where I drew most of the statistics from anyway because I don’t know how to read and also I’m on the phone with my portfolio manager in the Cayman Islands.

Ohio poverty statistics:

1 in 6 Ohioans live below the national poverty level.

Our statewide poverty rate is 16.4; the national rate is 15.9

42.3% of those living in poverty work full- or part-time.

Poverty increased in Ohio by 57.7% between 1999 and 2011, though the population only increased 1.7%

Over the past 22 years, the hourly wage of Ohio’s richest 10% increased by $3.99, while wages for low-income workers decreased by 71 cents and those for middle-income workers by $1.34.

1 in 12 Ohioans living in poverty has a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Cleveland’s poverty rate in 2009 was 26.3%; in 2011, it was 34.3% (a 7.3% increase).

Of the family types afflicted by poverty, single females with children overwhelmingly predominate — the poverty rate of single women and their children is 5 times greater than that of married couples with children. Surprisingly, single women with children who work part-time sustain a higher poverty rate than unemployed single mothers and single fathers who work part-time.

Ohio’s median hourly wage increased by 2.9% between 2000 and 2011; during those years, the average per capita cost of healthcare expenditure increased by 36.1% and net tuition for in-state, public college education increased by 63.4%. Ohio college graduates have the seventh highest average student loan debt in the country.

1 in 4 Ohio children under 18 lived in poverty in 2011; for children under age 6, the rate increases to 1 in 3.

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