In 2006, nearly 1.5 million Ohioans were living in poverty, up from about 1.2 million in 1999. At 13.3% of state’s population, this was the largest proportion to be considered poor since the 1960s War on Poverty. Ohio has historically had a lower poverty rate than the U.S., but 2006 marked the first time it matched the national rate. Between 1999 and 2006 alone, the number of Ohioans in poverty increased by about 316,000. These are some of the findings of The Real Bottom Line: The State of Poverty in Ohio 2008, conducted by CRP for the Ohio Association of Community Action Agencies (OACAA). The report was released on May 28 at a statewide summit, attended by 400 participants, and featuring Governor Ted Strickland and advocates dedicated to solutions that afford low-income Ohioans fuller access to a realistic standard of living.
The poverty level alone does not illustrate the full extent to which Ohioans are experiencing economic hardship. Self-sufficiency measures produce income thresholds from 200% to 250% of the federal poverty level. In 2006, 30.6% of Ohioans—3.4 million people—had incomes below 200% of poverty.
The following methods were used to conduct the research, which used the state’s 12 Economic Development Regions as the primary geographic unit of data analysis: