Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cleveland provides bleak view of poverty's peak

Cleveland, Ohio

A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau shows very sobering numbers in terms of poverty in the Midwest. Ohio's poverty rate -- a family of four making $22,300 or less -- is the highest in more than 30 years.

This came on the heels of last year's census report that showed that one of every three Cleveland residents lives in poverty. That makes them the second most impoverished major city in the country, trailing only nearby Detroit.

Continuing the pattern of Midwestern Rust Belt cities that have fallen back on hard times in the last decade,
Cleveland is among a number of areas that has been crippled by the loss of manufacturing jobs.

"We're heavily dominated by manufacturing just like Detroit," said George Zeller, an economic research analyst who lives in Youngstown, Ohio. "That's the problem that we've had"

"Nationally, there were two recessions the last decade. One was 2000-2002, which was relatively mild, and the other one from 2007-2009. Here in Ohio, the recession has been approaching 11 years long."

In 2009, the poverty rate for Cleveland, Ohio's second-largest city, was at 35 percent, up from 31 percent in 2008. Detroit, the city widely regarded as the hardest hit, was at 36.4 percent. The massive job losses, along with the failure of the housing market, have crippled Ohio.

"Ohio never recovered from the 2002 recession," Zeller said. "They continued to lose jobs statewide since 2000. The job loss in Ohio (since 2000) is 586,593."

Of Ohio's largest cities, as of 2009, the city with the highest poverty rate is Youngstown at 35.7 percent, followed by Cleveland, Dayton (30.9), Cincinnati (25.7), Akron (24.6), Toledo (23.8), and Columbus (22.6).
The struggles in Cleveland and Youngstown mirror that of Detroit.

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