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Northeast Ohio Has Seen Increase in Concentrated Poverty, Study Finds

Vacant homes in Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood, where poverty rates are around 40 percent or higher. (Nick Castele / ideastream)
Vacant homes in Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood, where poverty rates are higher than 40 percent.

by Nick Castele

The number of very poor neighborhoods in Northeast Ohio has grown over the last decade-and-a-half. That’s a finding from a study by the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

Overall, the number of people living in poverty in the Cleveland-Elyria metro area has grown by around 39 percent since the year 2000, according to data provided by Brookings.

What’s more, the region is home to more neighborhoods with “concentrated poverty,” that is, where at least two out of five residents are poor in a given census tract.

“This could happen from either poor people moving into a neighborhood, wealthier people moving out, or people staying where they are and just becoming poorer,” said Natalie Holmes, a Brookings research analyst and co-author of the report. 

The Cleveland and Toledo metro areas both land in the top 10 nationally for this measurement.

In Northeast Ohio as well as across the country, Holmes said, there’s a racial disparity in these numbers.

“On the whole, I can tell you that concentrated poverty rates among African-Americans and Latinos were higher pretty much across the board compared to white residents,” she said. 

Since 2000, concentrated poverty has grown in neighborhoods in Cleveland, its suburbs and the counties surrounding Cuyahoga County.

Nick Castele is a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media.