Hamilton County, Ohio, ranks as the state’s third most populous county, boasting a population of 830,639 as of 2020. Cincinnati, the county seat, holds the distinction of being both the largest city and the region’s economic and cultural epicenter. Yet, despite the overall prosperity, disparities persist within the county.
In 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau reported a 15.6% poverty rate in Hamilton County, exceeding the state’s average of 13.4%. These disparities are particularly evident when examining income and poverty levels in various neighborhoods. Here are five of the most economically challenged neighborhoods in Hamilton County, based on their median household income and poverty rates as of 2021:
Avondale, situated approximately three miles north of Cincinnati’s downtown, is home to 11,906 residents, with 91% being African American. The neighborhood’s median household income stands at $19,074, significantly less than the county’s average of $64,065. A staggering 51.6% of Avondale’s population lives below the poverty line, more than three times the county average. Avondale has a history marred by racial tension, violence, high crime rates, unemployment, and health challenges.
2. South Fairmount
Located about four miles west of downtown Cincinnati, South Fairmount is home to 2,647 residents, with 64% being white and 28% African American. The neighborhood’s median household income is $18,750, falling well below the county average. An astounding 52% of South Fairmount’s population grapples with poverty, again significantly exceeding the county’s average. The neighborhood has been grappling with urban decay, flooding, pollution, and a reputation for drug activity and prostitution.
3. English Woods
Once a public housing project, English Woods, situated about five miles northwest of downtown Cincinnati, currently houses 1,439 residents, primarily African American. The median household income in English Woods is a mere $16,250, significantly lower than the county’s average. A staggering 56% of its population lives below the poverty line. English Woods has a history marked by poor living conditions, crime, and violence, leading to the demolition of most buildings in 2005 as part of a redevelopment plan.
Millvale, another public housing project in Cincinnati, is located approximately three miles northwest of downtown. It has a population of 1,535, with 97% of residents being African American. The neighborhood’s median household income is a meager $14,583, far below the county’s average. The poverty rate in Millvale is a staggering 58%. Like English Woods, it suffered from neglect, deterioration, and high crime rates, prompting plans in 2018 to demolish and rebuild it as a mixed-income community.
5. Lower Price Hill
Lower Price Hill, located about two miles west of downtown Cincinnati, stands as the county’s most impoverished neighborhood. The population of 1,178 residents comprises 69% white and 24% Hispanic or Latino individuals. The median household income in Lower Price Hill is only $13,333, a fraction of the county’s average. A staggering 65% of its residents live in poverty.
Originally settled by Irish immigrants in the 19th century, Lower Price Hill faces challenges such as poor housing quality, limited access to education and healthcare, and high rates of substance abuse and domestic violence.
In conclusion, while Hamilton County offers numerous opportunities, it grapples with pockets of poverty and associated challenges in several neighborhoods. Addressing these issues requires concerted efforts from local and state governments, as well as collaboration from the private and nonprofit sectors.
By tackling the root causes and effects of poverty, such as low income, unemployment, education, health disparities, crime, and environmental concerns, these neighborhoods can improve residents’ quality of life and contribute to the overall well-being of the county.