Census: Nearly one in four Ohio children live in poverty

- September 19, 2013
   

Data show little change in poverty rates, drop in median income since end of recession

More than 1.8 million Ohioans lived in poverty in 2012, including nearly one of four Ohio children, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released today. A tiny decline in poverty from 2011 to 2012 reported by the Census was so small that it was well within the margin of error for the survey and not statistically significant.

“The level of poverty in Ohio, particularly for children, remains unacceptably high,” said Hannah Halbert, workforce researcher for Policy Matters Ohio.

Median household income in Ohio is down by more than $1,800 since the recession ended in 2009. A small gain from 2011 to 2012, which was not statistically significant, did not return the state to 2010 levels much less to levels enjoyed by Ohioans before the recent recession.

“Too many Ohioans are getting stuck at the lowest rung of the income ladder and kids are paying the price,” said Halbert. “Policymakers – at both the state and federal levels – are making a clear choice to not invest in workers, families or kids. This approach is not moving our families forward.”

Today’s data also show that African Americans and Latinos in Ohio have been hit particularly hard in this weak recovery. More than 35 percent of African Americans and nearly 30 percent of Latinos lived in poverty in 2012. Both of these levels are statistically significant deviations from the poverty rate of 12.6 percent for non-Hispanic whites.

“Ohio is stuck,” said Halbert. “A balanced approach to state budgeting, one that includes new revenue, would allow the state to invest in services crucial to struggling families.” 

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Policy Matters Ohio is a nonprofit, nonpartisan state policy research institute with offices in Cleveland and Columbus.

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