Census Highlights: What do the Latest Census Data Tell Us about Northeast Ohio?

Today the U.S. Census Bureau released its American Community Survey one-year estimates for 2015. These estimates are only available for geographies with populations of 65,000 or more, meaning that in Ohio we can look at data for most of our counties, and a few of our larger cities. Many of the local changes in the data reflect what we saw in the national data released on Tuesday.[1]  Ohio is seeing falling poverty rates, rising median household income, and falling rates of uninsured.

Poverty is Declining & Income is Rising
Mirroring the national trend, poverty has decreased over the past year for many Northeast Ohio communities. Despite progress in many communities, nearly 1.7 million Ohioans were living below poverty in 2015. While Cleveland remains one of Ohio’s poorest cities, with more than one in three of its residents living below the poverty threshold, its poverty rate dropped significantly from 39.2 percent in 2014 to 34.7 percent in 2015. Akron’s poverty rate rose to 25.9 percent over the past year (though the difference between 2014 and 2015 in Akron is not statistically significant).












Source: U.S. Census Bureau ACS 1-Year Estimates, 2015

In addition to the falling poverty rates, median household income around the state is rising. Ohio’s median household income rose from around $49,000 to $51,000. Ashtabula County and the city of Cleveland also saw significant income increases: Ashtabula County’s median income rose from around $39,000 in 2014 to $44,500 in 2015, and Cleveland’s median income rose from nearly $25,000 in 2014 to nearly $29,000 in 2015. The cities of Akron and Lorain both experienced small declines in median household income, though neither change was statistically significant.

Median Household Income, 2014 and 2015 in 2015 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars

Source: U.S. Census Bureau ACS 1-Year Estimates, 2014 and 2015

More Northeast Ohioans have Health Coverage
Ohio, as well as many Northeast Ohio Counties and cities, saw significant declines in their uninsured rates in the past year. Cuyahoga, Lake, and Portage counties have all seen their uninsured rates more than cut in half since 2010, when the Affordable Care Act was passed. Notably, the cities of Akron, Cleveland, and Lorain each have lower uninsured rates than the national average rate of 9.4 percent. Since 2010, over 650,000 people who were previously uninsured now have health coverage. The drop in uninsured in Ohio can be largely attributed to Medicaid expansion in our state; my colleague Loren Anthes has written a blog that details the impact that this policy change has had in Ohio.









Source: U.S. Census Bureau ACS 1-Year Estimates, 2010-2015


Percentage of People Without Health Insurance Coverage, 2010 and 2015

Source: U.S. Census Bureau ACS 1-Year Estimates, 2010 and 2015

Community Solutions will continue to use this data to examine conditions in Northeast Ohio communities.  New data for smaller geographies are expected to be released in December.

[1] There are slight variations between the American Community Survey national data and the Current Population Survey data that was released Tuesday.