February 27th, 2016

Unfortunately, a new study identifying stressed cities by zip codes has Cleveland top the list of the largest 100 cities cited by the Economic Innovation Group, a new non-profit research and advocacy group.

The report (download the PDF) belies all the happy talk you get from the Cleveland news media. The kind of media that concentrates only on happy results.

Further troubling, among the top 10 “most distressed large cities” [see page 26 of the study. JH] are Toledo (4th) and Cincinnati (10th). Ohio is the only state with three cities in the top 10 stressed cities. Even as Gov. John Kasich, who has relieved (stolen) Ohio cities of revenues they formerly received, traipses around the nation in a quixotic quest for the Presidency with claims of great advances in Ohio.

Cleveland’s rating in the study is a distress score of 99.9 with a percentage of 76.8 percent of the population living in “distressed zips (codes).”

The criteria used by the study include the following categories:

  • No High School Degree;
  • Housing Vacancy Rate;
  • Adults Not Working;
  • Poverty Rate;
  • Median Income Ratio;
  • Change in Employment (percent change in number of jobs 2010-2013); and
  • Change in Business Establishments (percent change in number, 2010-2013).
  • The New York Times report on the study said, “The gap between the richest and poorest American communities has widened since the Great Recession ended, and distressed areas are faring worse just as the recovery is gaining traction across the country.”

    We all knew that, didn’t we?

    It wrote that the study provides “… one of the most detailed looks at the nation’s growing inequality.”

    Hasn’t that become a major issue at least among Democratic candidates? Republicans, like Cleveland leaders and media, may not have noticed. Or don’t want too.

    The study can be found at this web site:

    It should be no surprise to anyone living here that the goodies of government itself have lent to the distress of certain communities. I have outlined ad nauseam the pouring of public revenues and subsidies, not to distressed areas of the city, but to limited private interests.
    And typically with taxes – as sales and sin taxes – that fall most heavily upon the distressed.

    For the most detailed report of this heavy public investment to private interests please check ROLDO RIGHTS ON BOX SCORES FOR DOWNTOWN…

    The EIC report tells it once again:

    The Distressed Community Index provides a multifaceted look at the circumstances underlying the prevailing economic anxiety for many Americans. While more Americans live in communities that have recovered from the Great Recession, there are large swathes of the country that continue to be plagued by disproportionate poverty and joblessness. The DCI reveals that more than 50 million Americans live in economically distressed communities.

    “Millions of Americans continue to feel left behind by the economic recovery. The DCI helps us understand what is driving these sentiments and why, and how, place matters,” said Steve Glickman, co-founder and executive director of EIG. “Achieving the American dream should not be predetermined by the zip code where you happen to be born.”

    But we all know it does and doesn’t seem to bother most civic/business/political leaders, in Cleveland.

    The dearth of city leadership is outstanding, as if a spell had been cast over even the ambitious politicians who remain mostly silent and dumb.

    By Roldo Bartimole…


    1. Mike says:

      This article is BS. I live in Cleveland. Yes In the city itself. I also travel and can say Cleveland is fine. I also can say Cincinnati is doing much better than other cities. This seems to be a hit job on Kasich FWIY. Bunch of BS.

      • Jeff Hess says:

        Good morning Mike,

        First, thank you for stopping in, for reading and, most importantly, for taking the time to leave a comment. We build our communities with our conversations.

        Speaking of communities, which City of Cleveland neighborhood (not suburb) do you live in and in which City of Cleveland neighborhood (not suburb) do you work?

        Now that you’ve read the entire 38-page report (you have, haven’t you, else how could you begin to evaluate what the report says?) what specifically do you find faulty? Have you found statistical error in the methodology or evaluation? Is there a problem with the metrics?

        As to a hit job on Governor John Kasich, the fact that we are the only state with multiple cities on the list is telling. If a governor (or any head of a government executive branch) wishes to take credit for successes, they must equally stand behind the failures.

        I look forward to your cogent analysis.

        Do all you can to make today a better day,

        Jeff Hess

    2. Angie Schmitt (@schmangee) says:

      Mike seems like one of those “attack the messenger” types. He personally is fine, epso facto everyone is fine! Nevermind that median household income is 54% of state median household income.

    3. John says:

      There’s some controversy on the counting methodology of distressed houses. Apparently, the report used dwelling units and not single family housing. Detroit OTOH, was done with single family housing. I don’t have a references on this, but NPR was discussing the methodology this a.m.

      Education is the item that seriously annoys me. Those statistics are much worse than reported. My wife is active in the community and is privy to the graduation rates in the Glenville area and it is truly depressing. This enormous demographic that is brought up to so thoroughly trivialize education and stigmatize those who may value attempting to become a productive member of society is condemning future generations to the same 3rd class status. A life of unrewarding menial, petty crime, prison and early death. I would love to know how to break that cycle.

    4. Mike: I wish you had some of John’s insights and I doubt the compilers of the report know much of John Kasich nor care.

      Thanks for comment Angie. On the mark.

      Always willing to converse Jeff. Thanks.

      Breaking the cycle is key but I don’t know if anyone truly knows.

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