New Data Next Week! What Community Solutions Will Look For

Each year, the U.S. Census Bureau releases an updated set of data about housing, income, employment, family structure, and health insurance coverage.  The 2016 Current Population Survey and 2016 American Community Survey one-year estimates are both scheduled for release the week of September 11. We, at The Center for Community Solutions, are anxiously awaiting these releases and are ready to quickly and accurately analyze the data. Below are some things we will examine.

1. Will the improving poverty trend continue?
Last year, poverty in the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and in communities across the state dropped, in some places by statistically significant amounts. In Cleveland, child poverty in particular dropped from an estimate of 58.5 percent in 2014, to 49.9 percent in 2015. If poverty holds steady or continues to decline, it’s a good indication that the prospects of low-income Ohioans have truly improved. But it is possible that the large declines shown last year were somewhat of a data anomaly. Our research staff each have a different appraisal of what will happen – will poverty continue to fall, go back up, or hold steady, and will any change be statistically significant?

2. Did even more people gain health coverage?
We have two years of data since Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act went into effect. In both years, rates of individuals lacking health insurance dropped. The greatest improvements came as more working-age adults, those between 25-64 years of age, gained health coverage. In Cuyahoga County, their uninsured rate fell from 15.6 percent in 2013 (before ACA was in full effect), to 11.8 percent in 2014, and 8.9 percent in 2015. Will those gains taper off, or will health coverage continue to improve?

3. Has demographic shift arrived?
Our population is aging rapidly, thanks to longer lifespans, low fertility rates, and the baby boomers. In 2010, children under age 18 outnumbered older adults aged 65 and older in every county in Ohio. Across the state, the gap between children and seniors is shrinking. While we don’t think the pendulum will swing for the entire state in 2016, it is possible.

4. Did Cleveland stop losing people?
Estimates of Cleveland’s population have declined each year since 2010. Meanwhile, community development projects are bringing residents back into the city.  Has it been enough to halt the negative population growth? The data will tell.

The release next week will only cover geographies with populations larger than 65,000, for which there are one-year estimates. We will have to wait until December for the full five-year dataset to be released, providing more detail and updated estimates for smaller counties and each municipality, congressional district, and state legislative district in Ohio.

Keep an eye on our blog as we will post our initial analysis here. We will also Tweet supplemental information, so follow Community Solutions’ applied research team @CCSOhioResearch for the latest.