More than 1 in 4 Cuyahoga County Children Live in Poverty

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In 2007, before the financial crisis, the proportion of children under the age of 18 living below the poverty line in Cuyahoga County was 23 percent.

Last year, that number was 28.7 percent – holding steady from the year before.

Claudia Coulton is co-director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Case Western Reserve University. She says the numbers reflect an increase in child poverty that began six to eight years ago.

COULTON: “And then we added on to that a recession, which pushed it even further. So these are very high numbers. And we know that child poverty has a very long-term effect on child development.”

Studies show that children who grow up in poverty face a higher risk of heart disease, obesity and diabetes, as well as diminished economic prospects.

Child poverty has risen in counties throughout the area -- 14 percent of children live in poverty in Lake County. And in Lorain County the rate is 25 percent -- above the statewide average of just over 24 percent.

The rate in the city of Cleveland: nearly 54 percent.

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