The Changing Face of Poverty in Northeast Ohio

Report by Richey Piiparinen, Claudia Coulton
January 31, 2012

Center on Poverty and Community Development   (Cleveland)

The Changing Face of Poverty in Northeast Ohio details the increase in poverty across the region. The findings demonstrate an increase in suburban poverty, with nearly half of the poor in the Cleveland and Akron metro areas living in the suburbs, and nearly 75% of the poor in the Youngstown metro area living in suburban jurisdictions. "Poverty is no longer just an inner city concern," said Claudia Coulton, Co-Director of CUPCD and co-author of the report. The report also breaks down the poverty picture in Cuyahoga County, with the results showing a deepening of poverty in virtually every Cleveland neighborhood and an increased poverty rate in three-quarters of the County's suburban municipalities. Richey Piiparinen, co-author and researcher at CUPCD said: "The economic downturn touched the whole of Cuyahoga County. You have suburbs such as Berea and Cleveland Hts. that were hit particularly hard, and you have neighborhoods in Cleveland like North Collinwood and Edgewater that were once middle-class bastions, but that are now dealing with poverty rate spikes of approximately ten percent." The report also points to a possible silver lining in the region's economic condition. Specifically, Cleveland's inner core neighborhoods of Downtown and Tremont both saw decreases in their poverty rate--a finding largely due to significant gains in the number of middle- to upper-middle class households that moved into those areas. In all, the researchers feel the results could point to a trend in which the declining inner core of Cleveland is being reversed. "What you initially had was the proverbial donut hole in which investment and population left the urban core and was dispersed across the region," said Piiparinen. "Now there are hints of a reversal. Whether this continues into the rest of Cleveland proper remains to be seen."