Face of Poverty

“316,000 adults and 167,000 children are living in poverty in the Cincinnati Tri-state area.”1

In other words, 18% of our region’s population lives below economic self-sufficiency.3 The effects of poverty impact each member of every family from the quality of the healthcare and education they receive to the types of jobs and opportunities available to them.

Did you know that…

  • A mother with a child can work 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year and still be living in poverty. Both partners in a married couple family with 3 children can work full-time, year-round and still be living in poverty.4

Or that…

  • Two-thirds of families living in poverty have a female head of household and nearly all of these families contain children. Women are at an increased risk of living in poverty relative to men.3
  • Poverty is five times greater in single parent households.3
  • Children in impoverished families are likely to have low cognitive scores and learning disabilities in combination with other health problems, with average cognitive scores that are 60% lower than those of other children.2
  • Key factors for breaking the cycle of poverty are education and relationships. Being in poverty is rarely about a lack of intelligence or ability.5


  • Families need income equivalent to twice the official poverty standards to become economically sufficient. To become self-sufficient, families must attain 200% of the poverty level.2
  • Generational poverty is defined as being in poverty for two generations or longer. Situational poverty is a shorter time and is caused by circumstance (i.e., death, illness, divorce, etc.).5


  • Low-income people are nearly five times more likely to be without health insurance than people with incomes at self-sufficiency levels.3
  • Disabilities and health conditions are an over-looked cofactor in poverty. One fourth of all adults in poverty collect Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Almost a third reports a health condition that limits or prevents work.3


  • The United States child poverty rate is substantially higher – often two to three times higher – than that of most other major Western industrialized nations.5
  • Poor children are twice as likely to repeat a grade and are more likely to move frequently that their more advantaged peers.2
  • Children born into poverty are more likely to have been low birth weight babies and are more likely to die in the first month than other children.2
  • People are most vulnerable to poverty when they turn 18.4
  • Children under 6 remain particularly vulnerable to poverty.5
  • Poor inner-city youths are seven times more likely to be the victims of child abuse or neglect than are children of high social and economic status.5
  • Poor children at twice as likely to repeat a grade.2

Solid Research

We are a continuous learning organization and have commissioned a number of research projects. It is through this research and analysis of data that we base our programs.

For people who want more but earn less…Cincinnati Works works!
– Beth Smith, former President

US Census Bureau Statistics

  • The official poverty rate in the United States in 2010 was 15.1% of the population.1
  • In 2010, 46.2 million people lived in poverty in the United States.1
  • The poverty rate in 2010 for children under 18 was 22%.1

US Census Bureau Statistics – Cincinnati

  • With the poverty rate at 30.6%, over 90,000 individuals within city limits are living in poverty.1

For more information about our studies, please contact Dave Phillips at 513.744.WORK (9675).



  1. U.S. Census Bureau
  2. Family Poverty and Its Implications for School Success, March 2004. Debbie Zorn and Janice Noga. University of Cincinnati Evaluation Services Center
  3. Demographic Analysis Series, Prepared for Cincinnati Works, Steve Howe and Associates, Revised 2004
  4. Poverty in Greater Cincinnati, Steve Howe, Professor of Psychology, University of Cincinnati
  5. A Framework for Understanding Poverty, Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D. Copyright 1996, Revised 2003