Poverty in Cuyahoga County

Download as PDF

In 2014, 18% of the population of Cuyahoga County was living below the poverty line.
This percentage was almost 40% in Cleveland specifically.

  • Ohio is the 21st poorest state in the country as of 2014.
  • Ohio’s quality of life was ranked 43rd in the country as of 2015.
  • Ohio is the 14th worst state in the country in terms of child poverty as of 2014. 

Ohio has the sixth highest rate of food insecurity* in the US at 16.9%. 
19% of Cuyahoga County residents, or 241,400 individuals, are food insecure.


Food insecurity: the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. 



Ohio is at the bottom of the list of states for enacting policies that “meet the educational needs of homeless families”.

  • In 2014, the National Low Income Housing Coalition estimated that a single individual in Cuyahoga County must make $14.13/hour for 40 hours/week in order to afford a one bedroom apartment.
  • In 2015, they estimated that a family must make $14.69/hour to be able to afford a two bedroom apartment.
  • The minimum wage in Cuyahoga County as of 2016 is $8.10/hour. That means a single mom would have to work at least two minimum wage jobs to provide for her children.  

NEOCH estimates that around 55,000 people were in need of subsidized affordable housing in Greater Cleveland in 2015 - That’s over 1/4 of the population of Greater Cleveland.
These renters still have to work 42 hours/week to afford a two-bedroom subsidized unit, or 34 hours/week to afford a one-bedroom subsidized unit.
And nowhere in the United States does welfare or disability assistance provide enough income for an individual to afford an apartment without subsidization.


In 2014, 21,000 evictions were filed in Cuyahoga County. 

The City of Cleveland Housing Court alone processed almost 11,000 new evictions, nearly 90% of which were for non-payment of rent. 



As of 2014, there were over 23,000 people who experienced homelessness in Cuyahoga County.
The US Conference of Mayors reported in 2014 that there was a 6% increase in homelessness in Cleveland; Family homelessness specifically increased by 14%.

Every homeless shelter in Cleveland is full every night.
In 2014, there were 8,892 individuals who used the emergency and transitional shelters in Cleveland.

Around 70% of individuals using emergency shelters in Cuyahoga County are African  American, but African Americans only make up about 30% of the general population of Cuyahoga County. Clearly, the African American population is disproportionately affected by homelessness.




The Cleveland Metropolitan School District reported 4,048 kids identified as homeless in the 2014 - 2015 school year.
That’s around 10% of all students in the district. 541 of these kids were age 5 or younger.

But it’s not all bad news… 

  • Foreclosures have been at a steady decline since a high in 2007 and in 2015 were down by almost 20% from the year before.
  • Ohio is around the middle of the pack for economic growth, ranking 21st in the nation in 2015 with a 2.3% increase in GDP.
  • Despite a small uptick in 2015, Cleveland has significantly reduced the number of people who sleep outside downtown since opening 2100 Lakeside Shelter and building 600 units of new housing.

Download as PDF