Barbara Ray and Sarah Jackson
In 2011, the suburbs of Cleveland were profiled in a New York Times story about growing suburban poverty in the United States. The story documented places such as Parma Heights and Warrensville Heights, once known for their “good schools, manicured lawns and middle-class neighbors.” Those neighborhoods today are grappling with something new, growing poverty.
In 2000, 46 percent of the metro area’s poor were suburban residents. By 2012, 56 percent were. As the Times documents, once middle-class communities now have long lines at local food banks, and municipal governments struggle to help poor residents on tight, post-recession budgets.
It was only in 2011 that the Northeast Ohio region saw its first full year of job growth since the Great Recession. The region, with a population of more than 4 million, encompasses four metro areas (Akron, Canton, Cleveland, and Youngstown) and includes nearly $200 billion in economic activity. The area was lauded by Brookings’ Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley in their book “The Metropolitan Revolution” for its work to bring jobs in high tech and advanced manufacturing to the area through a partnership between the region’s Fund for Our Economic Future, MAGNET, and the Brookings-Rockefeller Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation.