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Friday, June 13, 2008

New Think Tank Analysis: Middle Class Americans Vanishing From Ohio Metro Areas

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- Brookings published this chart based on 35 years worth of demographic data, and found that the share of families considered middle class has fallen in the state's metro communities. In Cincinnati, the drop was 9.4%, which was the smallest reported. Columbus lost 11.3% of its middle class families, Dayton and Toledo 13.3%, Cleveland 14%, Akron 14.7% and Youngstown 15.1%.

Cleveland, Akron and Youngstown -- all in NE Ohio -- posted some of the worst numbers in the nation's top 100 metro areas ranked by employment. Brookings defined middle class families as those making between 80 and 150 percent of their metro area's median income. There is more on the change in the size of the middle class here. Only Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice in Florida showed an increase in middle class families between 1970 and 2005.

1 comment:

  1. No surprise here. For decades cities and counties have steadily raised taxes at rates higher than inflation to fund an array of social services.

    Poorer folks tend to use a lot of social services, and don't pay a lot in taxes, so they move in to participate. Higher income folks tend to pay a lot in taxes, and don't use much in the way of social services, so moving to the exurbs is a better deal for them.

    The imbalance wasn't a big deal at first because cities subsist primarily on earnings taxes, and the jobs mostly stayed in town. Now that the employer exodus is starting to quicken, the burden is falling more heavily on urban residents.

    I don't have any answers, but the problem is pretty clear. It's excessive taxation and spending. If government growth had simply been limited to the rate of inflation for all those decades, then the status quo ante could have been preserved. We talk a lot about sustainability with respect to our environment. We need to start having the same conversation regarding government growth.