Report: High concentration of suburban poverty in Columbus

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A new report on poverty in Ohio found that Columbus has the state’s greatest concentration of suburban poor.

Ohio has 1.8 million residents living in poverty, about 16 percent of the state’s population, according to the annual State of Poverty report commissioned by the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies

Nearly half of the state’s poor live in suburbs while about 1 in 3 are concentrated in cities, the report said.

Between 2000 and 2013, Columbus’ suburbs experienced both the fastest population growth— up 23 percent —and the fastest growth in suburban poverty, up 114 percent, The Columbus Dispatch reported ( ).

“We have about 150,000 poor people living in the city of Cleveland, we have about 140,000 poor people living in the Columbus suburbs,” said Lynnette Cook, executive director of Community Research Partners, which conducted the analysis. “It really is in every part of the state.”

The decline of higher-paying manufacturing jobs in recent years and the rise in lower-wage ones in areas like health care appear to be contributing to the spike in suburban poverty, Cook said.

Dayton has had the fastest growth in urban poverty, up more than 83 percent since 2000. Cleveland continues to have the largest concentration of poor with nearly 158,000.

Philip Cole, executive director of the community action agencies association, urged lawmakers to reject a plan to charge premiums to Medicaid beneficiaries, increase funding for addiction treatment and improve transportation services, the biggest challenge the poor face in finding and keeping a job.


Information from: The Columbus Dispatch,

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