Despite disheartening Census report, poverty in Cincinnati has dropped since 2013

Despite census report, poverty in Cincinnati has dropped since 2013 (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley has made poverty one of his top priorities. New numbers out this week from the United States Census say the number of poor in our city has gone up, not down, over 10 years.

The poverty rate is up 4.2 percent based on 10-year data from the American Community Survey. Cranley has been in office since 2013. Local 12 checked those numbers and found that poverty has actually slightly dropped during his term.

A data chart from the U.S. Census shows in 2013 when Cranley took office the percentage of poor in Cincinnati was 31.3 percent. In 2017, the number was 27.7 -- that's a 3.5 percent drop. Cranley says this reaffirms that, as a community, we need continue to do more.

"That's no comfort to someone living in poverty. Our poverty rate is too high in Cincinnati, which is why it's such a focus. My ‘Heads Up’ initiative is out there, but now we are going to do a public-private effort to reduce poverty," Cranley said.

The ongoing push from the private sector was seen Friday in the form of a tower creation built at the Crayons to Computers store. Almost 28,000 boxes of crayons were donated by six financial companies, including First Financial Bank. But the nonprofit will need more than double the number of donated crayons for the entire school year.

Teachers are expected to make more than 14,000 trips to the store, which gives away everything from backpacks to glue sticks for free. The organization is trying to help fix the poverty cycle by making sure needy children are equipped to learn.

CEO Amy Cheney said, "If kids aren't ready to learn with the beginning of kindergarten, and they aren't reading on grade level at third grade, the statistics are pretty devastating as to how those children will not be successful in life so often."

Breaking the poverty cycle is a multi-generational approach. A child's parents need good paying jobs and a support system to truly make an impact. The mayor says he's working on a new project to fight poverty. It includes a partnership with area businesses. He expects to make a big announcement on that in October.

Cranley and his Child Poverty Collaborative put out a goal in 2015 of getting 5,000 families out of poverty in five years. That goal hasn't been met yet.

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