Neighborhoods to Watch, For Better or Worse

In this blog, I’ll share some of the neighborhood that stood out to me as I explored the data in the neighborhood profiles. For some highlights from the data, check out my blog from earlier in the week. Click here to view the Cleveland Neighborhood Profiles.

The Central Neighborhood Struggle
There are neighborhoods in Cleveland that are hurting, and then there’s the Central neighborhood, which was home to the nation’s first public housing, and remains heavily concentrated with public housing today. Central’s median household income of $9,647 is over $5,000 less than the next lowest earning neighborhood. At that income a single person would be well below the federal poverty level, but in Central, 43 percent of households are families with children, and most of those families are headed by a single parent. They have the highest rate of households with cash public assistance income (19 percent) and households receiving SNAP, or food stamps (68 percent). They have the highest poverty rate in the city, with 69 percent of residents living below poverty, and nearly half of residents living in deep poverty (less than 50% of the poverty threshold). While the senior poverty rate for Ohio is only 8 percent, 41 percent of seniors in Central live below poverty. These indicators paint a dismal picture of the Central Neighborhood.

“Up and Coming” Neighborhoods
Cleveland touts a few neighborhoods that have experienced growth in recent years, so how do Ohio City, Tremont, Detroit Shoreway, University, and Downtown fare when you look at the data? The short answer is – they’re doing better than average, but there’s still work to do. Downtown is the fifth-highest earning neighborhood with a median household income of $34,282. Tremont and Ohio City both have above average median incomes ($31,775 and $27,235) when compared with the rest of the city, while Detroit Shoreway and University are below average (University has a high student population, which may drag down its median income).

When it comes to poverty rates, these five neighborhoods are all above average, but still fairly close to the middle of the spectrum, with rates ranging from 38 percent to 46 percent of people living in poverty. Ohio City and Detroit Shoreway both have higher rates of households receiving SNAP than the city as a whole. While 44 percent of Cleveland households live in unaffordable housing (that is, housing costs are more than 30 percent of household income), around 49 percent of households in University and Detroit Shoreway live in unaffordable housing. Downtown, and in Tremont and Ohio City, housing affordability rates are better than average, though still concerning; 39 percent of Tremont and Ohio City households and 42 percent of Downtown households live in unaffordable housing.

One area where these neighborhoods show the most promise? Education. Downtown, University, Ohio City, and Tremont are the four most educated neighborhoods in the city, with over one third of residents over age 25 having earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher. Education is a strong indicator of future health and prosperity of residents, so I expect that these neighborhoods will continue to strengthen as time passes.

Who’s Doing Well?
Four neighborhoods stand out to me as relatively strong when considering the indicators in these profiles: Edgewater, Jefferson, Kamm’s, and Old Brooklyn. All of these neighborhoods have poverty rates below 25 percent (at least 10 percent less than Cleveland’s poverty rate), and they all have median household incomes in the top six neighborhoods. Labor force participation is strong, with over 66 percent of people in these neighborhoods working or looking for work. They are all above average when it comes to housing affordability, with less than 40 percent of households living in unaffordable housing.

This blog is really only a snapshot of the data that can be found in our Neighborhood Profiles. I’d encourage you to check them out to see what stands out to you. Feel free to contact me with questions or comments at

 [KW1]Link to first blog