Sunday, September 10, 2006

Are People Moving Away from High Poverty?

Child Poverty in 2005

Back in the welfare reform debate of the late 1990s, the officials told us that people do not move for benefits. The experts said that it has never been the case that people move from one area especially one state to another in order to get better entitlements. But now living in Cleveland and experiencing decreases in jobs for six straight years, I have to believe that some of our population loss has to do with lower income people looking for better places to live. In looking at the poverty statistics for Ohio, I have to wonder if some are not making calculations about the State of Ohio and the safety of raising their family in this environment.
  • How many kids will get a good education with such an unfair system for funding schools?
  • How many of my kids will have the opportunity to go to college in Ohio with such high tuition rates? Maybe moving to another state to establish residency would be beneficial?
  • If I loose my job will I be able to find another before ruining my family?
  • Will I be able to find a job with health care? If I do lose my health care will the state be able to afford to provide any health care beyond the emergency room?
  • Will I need to go into bankruptcy or will I be taken advantage of by a mortgage broker?
  • Will three years of cash assistance be enough when nearly every other state gives five years? If I exhaust my three years, what is the use of staying in Ohio?
  • Why not move to another state that has a higher minimum wage?
  • What is the use of relatively inexpensive housing if you have no job?
  • Would rental assistance be more available in another state?
At this point in the recession, these questions have to come up. There must be a great deal of anger over the lack of help by our government. There was assistance for those fleeing Katrina, but what about the home grown poor? There is money for playgrounds like stadiums, but not for people. I would be angry if I went to the election booth and saw a levy on the ballot for the arts, while I struggle to find a job. How do they justify paying for art while my child's school is in bad shape and I can't find a job? How do they justify raising taxes for art, while I can't pay my rent? Anger, frustration, a feeling of hopelessness, and then resignation and moving to a state that cares, would be how I would react.

Here are the statistics from the U.S. Census on poverty by County. By the way, Ohio 's official poverty rate was 13.0% of the population is living below poverty with 18.2% of our children living in poverty in Ohio. These are in order of the Counties around Cleveland and the other big cities in Ohio from poorest to better off.

County % Living Below Poverty % Children Living Below Poverty
1. Lucas County (Toledo) 17.4% 25.3%
2.Cuyahoga (Cleveland) 16.9% 25.1%
3. Columbiana 16.3% 26.4%
4. Ashtabula 16.1% 23.3%
5. Montgomery (Dayton) 14.7% 23.4%
6. Franklin (Columbus) 14.5% 19.8%
7. Erie County 14.0% 21.8%
8. Hamilton (Cincinnati) 13.8% 19%
9.Mahoning (Youngstown) 13.4% 20%
10. Stark (Canton) 12.0% 18.1%
11. Lorain County 11.7% 17.6%
12. Portage County 11.4% 15.5%
13. Summit (Akron) 11.2% 14.4%
14. Trumbull County 10.7% 15.4%
15. Lake County 8.3% 12.9%

Those Counties Doing Best in Ohio
1. Delaware County (near Columbus) 4.6% 5.5%
2. Warren County 5.1% 4.8%
3. Medina County 5.3% 6.6%
4. Geauga County 5.6% ---
5. Tuscarawas County 7.3% 8.1%

Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

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