Cleveland ranks dead last for children living in poverty according to U.S. Census Bureau

Cleveland also ranks second to last for overall poverty.
Cleveland ranks second to last in the country for people living in poverty and last for children.
Cleveland ranks second to last in the country for people living in poverty and last for children.(Source: Pixabay)
Updated: Sep. 27, 2019 at 2:18 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -The U.S. Census Bureau released new numbers earlier this month looking at income and poverty in the U.S. for 2018, and Cleveland is dead last for children living in poverty.

The Federal Government defines the poverty line as households earning below a certain amount, based the number of people living under one roof.

The 2018 poverty line is as follows:

  • One person: $12,784
  • Two people: $16,247
  • Three people: $19,985
  • Four people: $25,701
  • Five people: $30,459
  • Six people: $34,533
  • Seven people: $39,194
  • Eight people: $43,602
  • Nine or more: $51,393

According to those standards, the Census Bureau has listed the poverty rates for the largest U.S. cities (250,000 population or more):

  1. Detroit, Michigan 33.4%
  2. Cleveland, Ohio 33.1%
  3. Buffalo, New York 30.1%
  4. Memphis, Tennessee 27.8%
  5. Laredo, Texas 25.9%
  6. Cincinnati, Ohio 25.2%
  7. Toledo, Ohio 25.0%
  8. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 24.9%
  9. Newark, New Jersey 24.6%
  10. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 24.5%

Cleveland does even worse when looking at the number of children, under the age of 18, who live in a household that is under the poverty threshold:

  1. Cleveland, Ohio 50.5%
  2. Detroit, Michigan 47.3%
  3. Buffalo, New York 45.2%
  4. Memphis, Tennessee 44.9%
  5. St. Louis, Missouri 38.9%
  6. Cincinnati, Ohio 37.0%
  7. Newark, New Jersey 36.0%
  8. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 35.5%
  9. Toledo, Ohio 35.3%
  10. Laredo, Texas 34.9%

It should be noted that these numbers represent just the city of Cleveland, and not its surround suburbs.

“People who live in communities with concentrated, persistent poverty, like many neighborhoods in Cleveland, face serious challenges in escaping poverty and becoming economically independent,” according to Emily Campbell, Associate Director, The Center for Community Solutions (CCS) in Cleveland.

“It can be a vicious cycle: workers don’t earn enough so they rely on public assistance. But incomes and property values are low so tax collections don’t bring in enough money to be able to make investments in schools, transportation, job training, mental health services, and other things that help people overcome their disadvantages,” Campbell said.

The CCS is a non-partisan think-tank, focused on tackling health, social and economic issues in Cleveland.

“Numerous studies have shown that children living in poverty face challenges at school, like being chronically absent or not reading at grade level, are more likely to suffer from conditions like asthma in childhood and chronic diseases as adults, and find it more difficult to move up the income ladder as adults,” Campbell said.

In a recent survey by CCS in Cuyahoga County, it asked low income individuals the what biggest road blocks we to finding work.

The Center for Community Solutions in Cleveland recently polled low income individuals to find...
The Center for Community Solutions in Cleveland recently polled low income individuals to find the biggest road blocks to finding work.(Source: The Center for Community Solutions)

The top three most popular reasons could be fixed with life changes including a move, education or training or the ability to work odd hours.

While those seem like “fixes,” Campbell said it’s not that easy.

“A mismatch between where jobs are located and where people in poverty live can be solved by transportation or by someone moving,” Campbell said. “But moving is disruptive for children and expensive. People living in poverty often don’t have savings for a down payment, security deposit, or even to transport their furniture. When it comes to hours, parents have a very difficult time finding child care if they work evenings or weekends, which is the reality for many low wage workers.”

“It’s difficult for any working parent to negotiate these challenges, but even more of a struggle for those with few financial resources.”

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