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Group Issues Annual Report on Poverty in Ohio

Poverty rates as they change in Ohio and the U.S. from 2011-2016.
Poverty rates as they change in Ohio and the United States from 2011 to 2016. Data source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 1-year estimates via the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies' 25th Annual State of Poverty in Ohio report.

A group that advocates for low-income people has issued its annual report on the state of poverty in Ohio.  

1.6 million Ohioans live in poverty. And while that number has been trending down, theOhio Association of Community Action Agencies says nearly a third of people can’t pay for basic needs and depend on programs such as Medicaid, food stamps and subsidized childcare. And the group’s Phil Cole notes those programs are often the targets of cuts and restrictions.

“Governments need to quit picking on the poor. They need to realize that sometimes as a society we have a duty to help the least among us, people who are worse off financially. We need to do something for them, not to them," Cole said.

Cole also says poverty rates go down as education goes up, but college tuition has gone up while need-based aid has been going down.


Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.