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Generations of Disadvantage, Checking in on Ohio’s Data

Emily Campbell
Chief Executive Officer
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May 10, 2018
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Several years ago we created a short video which explored how disadvantage can be passed from parents to children. It concludes by saying: “Investments in raising the literacy, numeracy and computer proficiency of adults can pay dividends, not only for that person, but for the next generation.” Organizations locally and across the country are taking it one step further and exploring two-generation strategies, often referred to as “2Gen,” where interventions are directed to parents and children at the same time. More than 100 people will gather at the 2Gen Literacy Summit on May 11, 2018 to explore the 2Gen approach in more depth.

 More recent studies have found that it is even more difficult for black and African-American youth who grow up in poverty (and even those above poverty) to make it to the top tiers of earners.

As I was preparing to participate on a panel at the summit, I wanted to see if the information used to create the video continued to be relevant. It is about four years old, but the same principles hold true. The circumstances of families still impact children. More recent studies have found that it is even more difficult for black and African-American youth who grow up in poverty (and even those above poverty) to make it to the top tiers of earners.  

[bctt tweet="The circumstances of families impact children - checking in on the generations of disadvantaged Ohioans " username="CommunitySols"]  

We still don’t have updated data for Ohio about literacy, which means we continue to rely on like whether someone has finished high school to get a sense of the scope of the issue. And here is some good news: educational attainment has improved. According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Ohioans older than age 25 who lacked a high school credential dropped to 790,000 in 2016. This is a statistically significant change from the estimate from 2012 of 870,000, but it’s still enough to fill the Horseshoe, First Energy Stadium, Paul Brown Stadium, Progressive Field, Great American Ballpark, The Q and Nationwide Arena at the same time twice. Meanwhile, 84 percent of jobs listed on the Ohio Means Jobs website would be closed to people who lack a high school credential, down slightly from 87 percent of jobs closed to that group in 2014.

 The number of Ohioans older than age 25 who lacked a high school credential dropped to 790,000 in 2016…but it’s still enough to fill the Horseshoe, First Energy Stadium, Paul Brown Stadium, Progressive Field, Great American Ballpark, The Q and Nationwide Arena at the same time twice.

But even though the statistics have gotten slightly better in Ohio, there are still far too many children who grow up in poverty and who are unable to take full advantage of economic opportunity. It will be interesting to hear about some solutions at tomorrow’s summit.  

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