Columbus, OH - Today, Greater Ohio Policy Center released an update to its report "From Akron to Zanesville: How Are Ohio’s Small and Mid-Sized Legacy Cities Faring?" The report examined the economic health of Ohio’s older industrial cities over the last 15 years and recommends proactive state policy solutions to strengthen these places. Newly released 2015 data confirms the general downward trajectory of many key economic indicators in these communities.
Unfortunately, this new data generally shows many of the same downward trends in these communities as they continue to diverge from larger cities," said GOPC Executive Director Alison Goebel. "Stronger trends in large cities like Columbus mask declines in many other parts of the state."
"Ohio's long-term economic health will require these issues be addressed. Recovery in these communities will depend on both creative local leadership and statewide policy change," Goebel continued.
The 20 small and mid-sized cities covered in this report all have populations of at least 20,000 people and are situated in larger metropolitan areas of less than one million people. Nearly one third of Ohioans live in small or mid-sized cities or their surrounding regions and combined, just eight of these cities accounted for nearly 30 percent of the state’s GDP in 2014.
Updates to the report with the addition of the 2015 data include:
- The mid-sized legacy cities – Akron, Canton, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown – resemble their larger neighbors in many ways, including their challenges with entrenched poverty, low household incomes, and substantial rates of housing vacancy and abandonment. But the signs of recovery continuing to emerge in Cleveland and Cincinnati are not apparent in the economic health data of the mid-sized cities.
- The proportion of adults working or looking for a job – a key indicator of economic health – declined significantly between 2000 and 2015 in small and mid-sized legacy cities.
- Unemployment rates ticked down in all city types between 2014 and 2015. By 2015, Columbus and the state as a whole recovered their unemployment rates to 2009 levels. Mid-sized legacy cities also approached their unemployment levels at the end of the Recession. However, unemployment levels in all city types and the state as a whole continue to exceed 2000 levels.
The Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization with a mission to champion revitalization and sustainable growth in Ohio. GOPC uses education, research and outreach to develop and advance policies and practices that create revitalized communities, strengthen regional cooperation, and preserve Ohio’s open space and farmland. To speak with one of GOPC's policy experts about the report and city-specific data, please contact Michael McGovern at firstname.lastname@example.org