2017 Ohio State of Poverty Report
The 2017 State of Poverty report begins by defining poverty. This year’s report displays a map of Ohio’s 88 counties and shows how the population below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level has changed since 2000. Statewide there are more families hovering close to the poverty level than there were 15 years ago, although there are fewer families below the poverty level. Systems in Ohio, such as Medicaid, child care, and higher education are all integral to families who live near the poverty line, and many families waver between qualifying and not qualifying for public assistance based on small changes in income. Married parents with two children living at the poverty level can expect to spend 73% of their income on center-based child care; when coupled with other necessities such as food and housing, child care costs are simply too expensive to afford.
This report also examines drug abuse, particularly from opioids. Ohio has more drug overdose deaths than 48 of the other states; only West Virginia has a higher overdose death rate per 100,000 residents. The report considers not only the economic impact of opioid overdose deaths but also the human impact. Children have been greatly affected by opioids; recent estimates suggest that nearly half of all children in Ohio’s foster care system have parents who use drugs. The number of children in foster care in Ohio, which experts attribute to drug use, is expected to rise to 20,000 by 2020, an increase of 63% from 2010 foster care numbers. Community Action Agencies throughout Ohio have been working with families to overcome the effects of drug abuse even as drug overdose death counts continue to rise.