The Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) in June of 2016 published an article entitled From Akron to Zanesville: How are Ohio’s Small and Mid-Sized Cities Faring?
The article focused on the differences taking place in Ohio cities of different size and resources. They provided an update to the information recently and it shows that Middletown is seeing the same strengths and weaknesses of other cities our size.
The cities were classified by population size, with Middletown fitting into the Small Legacy City category with populations between 20,000 and 65,000 residents. Small legacy cities included Lorain, Hamilton, Springfield, Elyria, Middletown, Mansfield,, Warren, Lima, Marion, Massillon, Xenia, Sandusky, Zanesville, Chillicothe, and Portsmouth.
The GOPC combed the census and other demographic data to gather information on population, unemployment, labor force participation, median household income, per capita income, poverty rates, long-term housing vacancy rates, median housing values, new business starts and change in employees between 2000-2014.
They recently updated the information provided to include 2015 demographics.
From 2000-2015, Small Legacy Cities collectively saw an average drop of 23% in Median Household Income, 72% rise in individuals living in poverty, a 20% drop in Median Housing Values, and an increase of 169% in long term vacancy rates.
Smaller legacy cities recovered from the recession at a slower pace than our larger metropolitan areas. We sometimes get caught up in what is going on in Middletown and forget that the rest of the state and country is also dealing with the same issues of infrastructure, workforce development, and poverty. It’s not a Middletown problem.
I acknowledge the challenges but try to focus on the good things happening in Middletown. All sectors of our tax base are improving. In talking to our realtors, many houses are selling quickly for close to asking price. We have new school buildings and a new Superintendent coming on board. In my opinion, we have the best Police and Fire Divisions in Southwest Ohio. Downtown will open another dozen or so new businesses this year.
This is still the coolest city I’ve ever lived in and I enjoy being a resident and your City Manager.
To see a chart of the findings above, click on the link:
To read the entire report, click on the link below: