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A Profile of Poverty in Franklin County. Community Action Agency Research Report. About Community Research Partners. Strengthening Ohio communities through data, information, and knowledge. Unique non-profit research center and partnership: City of Columbus United Way of Central Ohio

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A Profile of Poverty in Franklin County

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A Profile of Poverty in Franklin County

Community Action Agency

Research Report

About Community Research Partners

  • Strengthening Ohio communities through data, information, and knowledge.

  • Unique non-profit research center and partnership:

    • City of Columbus

    • United Way of Central Ohio

    • John Glenn School of Public Affairs at OSU

    • Franklin County Commissioners

Franklin County CAA Research: Background

  • Columbus Areas Community Action Organization (CMACAO) closed in 2005

  • Mayor Coleman formed a Task Force to examine problems at CMACAO and then design new CAA

  • CRP asked by the Task Force to conduct research to inform decisions about design of new CAA

    • Funded by the City of Columbus, United Way of Central Ohio, and Franklin County

Franklin County CAA Research: Research Questions

  • What are the characteristics of the U.S. and Franklin County poverty population and anti-poverty programs, and how have these changed since the 1960’s?

  • What are the needs of the Franklin County low-income population, and what programs and resources are available to address them?

  • What models and best practices should be considered in the development of the new Franklin County CAA?

Franklin County CAA Research: Research Methods & Data Sources

  • State and national literature on poverty issues

  • Social, economic, and demographic indicator data (CRP Community Indicators Database)

  • Client statistics from key service providers

  • FIRSTLINK Information and Referral Database

  • CRP human services funding resource inventory

  • Focus groups and community forums

  • CAA best practices interviews

Poverty in the U.S.

What is poverty?

  • Official poverty measure

    • Calculated annually by the Census Bureau

    • Varies by household size and type

    • 2004 single parent with 2 children: $15,219

  • Economic self-sufficiency measure

    • Avoid serious hardship in basic needs

    • 200% of the poverty level

    • 2004 single parent with 2 children: $30,438

Who is poor?

  • The face of poverty has changed dramatically

    • 1960: white, rural, married couple family with children, elderly

    • 2000: female-headed family or non-family in central city of metro area; children; about half racial and ethnic minorities

  • Many people have experienced poverty

    • One-third of the U.S. population has likely experienced poverty at one time

    • Only about 6% of the population are poor for longer than 3 years

U.S. poverty rates up, after dropping in the 90’s

Poverty in Franklin County

Franklin County: relatively fast-growing poverty population

Who is poor in Franklin County?

  • 1 in 8 residents: 136,155 in 2004

  • Most likely to be poor:

    • Female-headed families with young children (49% poverty rate)

    • Unrelated individuals (21%)

    • African Americans (27%); Hispanics (22%)

  • Least likely to be poor:

    • Married couple families (3%)

    • Persons age 65+ (9%)

    • Whites (9%); Asians (6%)

Household profile of the poverty populationn=76,530 in 2004

Racial profile of the poverty populationn=136,155 in 2004

Who is poor in Franklin County?

  • 76% of poor adults have at least high school diploma or GED

    • 37% have at least some college

  • 44% were employed in the past year

    • 6% full-time, year round

    • 38% part-time or part-year

  • Over 1 in 4 persons (294,166) below self-sufficiency level of 200% of poverty

Poverty has become much more dispersed

Geographic patterns of poverty rates

Reasons for changing geographic patterns

Out-migration of higher-income households to adjacent counties

Settlement patterns of immigrant populations with high birth rates

Shrinking white population; growing minority populations

Growth in single female-headed households with children throughout the county

Growth of the working poor population in suburban locations

Hispanic or Latino population, 2000

The poor Hispanic population increased 21-fold from 1970 to 2000, from 340 to 7,429

Food Stamp recipients: indicator of the working poor

Food Stamp Cases,

First Quarter 2007

Poverty population: needs and services

Community input: changes in the low-income population

Increased cultural diversity

Increase in the number of non-traditional families

Increased isolation of low-income residents

Increased unemployment

Growing senior population

Community input: unmet service needs

Employment services

Financial assistance

Services aimed at developing self-sufficiency

Low-income housing

Health care

Mental health services



Community input: barriers to accessing services


Lack of customer-oriented service delivery

Lack of awareness of services and resources

Stigma associated with low-income population

Access to health insurance

Stretched capacities of health/mental health facilities

Legal barriers—immigrants, ex-offenders, grandparent guardians

Housing FIRSTLINK Referrals: Location

  • U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development

  • Columbus Urban League

  • Interfaith Hospitality Network – YWCA

  • Friends of the Homeless

  • CMHA

  • Columbus Housing Partnership

Transportation/Senior Transportation FIRSTLINK Referrals: Location

  • Joint Organization for Inner City Needs

  • American Red Cross

  • COTA

  • Comfort Keepers

  • Transportation Resources, Inc.

  • Friends of the Homeless

Benchmarking Central Ohio: poverty

For more information

Bobbie Garber

Community Research Partners

614-224-5917 ext. 100

[email protected]


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