Census: Poverty rates in Cincinnati increasing

The new poverty numbers out for Cincinnati are staggering. The group considered poor grew by more than 13,000 in the past 10 years. (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The new poverty numbers out for Cincinnati are staggering. The group considered poor grew by more than 13,000 in the past 10 years.

Vantrice Hunter-Swain works at Miami Valley Gaming. The racino gives a little help to employees who earn it, like matching money for Hunter-Swain's down payment on a car.

The company is part of an employer roundtable, a project started by the Child Poverty Collaborative.

"This all began with almost 80 to 100 community conversations, as well as two large gatherings. We need to continue to learn and keep learning from people who are living in poverty, and sometimes they move out of poverty, but that one event can backslide them," said Sister Sally Duffy, who is on the board of the collaborative that formed back in 2015.

The goal is to get 5,000 families out of poverty in five years.

So far, that goal hasn't been met. The poverty rate is up 4.2 percent based on 10 years of data from the American Community Survey. In those census numbers, a family is considered poor if the household income is less than $25,000 a year. But actually, the United Way says that income number should be doubled.

Ross Meyer from the United Way says it takes an income of almost $50,000 a year for a family of four to be considered self-sufficient.

"That means for the city of Cincinnati, more than two-thirds in our city and a third across our region are growing up in poverty or are one crisis away from poverty," he said.

This week, Cincinnati even called on star power in the poverty fight. Oprah teamed up with Kroger and the Freestore Foodbank for a zero-hunger campaign -- a campaign that's far from over.

The census figures show the number of people in Cincinnati living in poverty is close to 30 percent. In Indianapolis and Columbus, that number is closer to 20 percent.

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