Poverty in Cincinnati

Cincinnati has a massive problem with persistent poverty. According to U.S. Census data and the Ohio Development Agency’s Ohio Poverty Report in 2018, 29.9% of Cincinnatians live in poverty – that’s more than 85,000 individuals. Nationally, Cincinnati is among the top 15 poorest cities in the country with a population of 250,000 or more compared to a national poverty rate of 14%, and Ohio-wide rate of less than 15%. This means that approximately one in three Cincinnatians fall below the poverty line, and our city’s poverty rate is almost twice the national average. 

Recognizing the need to reverse the trend of poverty in Cincinnati, five non-profit organizations and local churches came together to consider best-in-class means to build relationships, build infrastructure and integrate services. In Cincinnati, this collaboration was unprecedented.

Collectively, while the founding organizations serve hundreds of people annually, they found that their attempts to coordinate services often fell short because clients found it difficult to navigate between services. One example is a couple who came together to find a better job, after completing employment training and attaining jobs through CincinnatiWorks, they went on to couple’s counseling to prepare for marriage with Catholic Charities and CityLink’s Spiritual Growth Director, then went on to establish a budget and plan their finances with SmartMoney, saved up to attain a vehicle with Changing Gears, then came back for advance industry training and launched a career in IT with PerScholas.  The couple was able to accomplish major milestones through hard work and support of one team of partners at CityLink Center.

The poverty level is the official measure used to decide eligibility for federal health, housing, nutrition and child care benefits. While it differs by family size and makeup, for a family of four with two children, the poverty level is $24,300. View the 2017 federal poverty guidelines.