Discover the Poorest Town in Ohio

Written by Rob Amend
Published: September 7, 2023
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Key Points

  • Thirty-nine percent of people in East Cleveland live below the poverty line.
  • The poorest city in Ohio is Lincoln Heights.
  • The highest crime rate in Ohio belongs to Canton.

The U.S. Census Department performs a yearly American Community Survey (ACS.) This study takes a five-year snapshot of various demographic, economic, and housing numbers of the country’s population. With these numbers, we can look at poverty and income levels in communities throughout the state. So, what is the poorest town in Ohio?

The Top Five Poorest Cities in Ohio

Ohio oh a US state map, the major cities marked

What is the poorest town in Ohio?

©Alexander Lukatskiy/

When considering the poverty levels in Ohio, let’s first look at the poverty levels in the state’s cities. East Cleveland had the highest poverty rate of any city in Ohio in 2021, with 5,368 individuals below the poverty line—39% of the total population. Youngstown, Portsmouth, Warren, and Cleveland round out the top five.

City NamePercentage of Individuals Below Poverty LineNumber of Individuals Below Poverty LineMedian Household Income
1. East Cleveland39.00%5,368$21,699
2. Youngstown35.30%20,239$31,020
3. Portsmouth34.70%5,965$34,183
4. Warren34.60%12,710$30,377
5. Cleveland31.40%114,442$33,678
Top 5 Poorest Cities in Ohio

What Is the Poorest Town in Ohio?

The Village of Lincoln Heights is the poorest town in Ohio. The median household income was $12,183 in 2021, just under one-fifth of the state median household income of $61,938. The poverty rate was a staggering 64.4%, much higher than the state poverty rate of 13.4%. Despite the town’s struggles, it has produced such luminaries as the poet Nikki Giovanni and the Isley Brothers.

Are the Residents of Lincoln Heights in Poverty?

Being the poorest town doesn’t necessarily mean that the residents are impoverished. That depends somewhat on the overall economic health of the state. In this case, though, with most residents living below the poverty line, this pervades the community.

The odds have been stacked against this community from the beginning. Developers created the community as a suburb to house black workers in nearby industries. The suburb had no public services or even paved roads. Not many homes had electricity. Later on, county and other local governments repeatedly blocked attempts by residents to incorporate and secure the taxes needed for public services and development. When it was finally permitted to incorporate, other communities had already taken much of the property belonging to the village. Residents and businesses have been leaving the community for some time.

What Town in Ohio Has the Highest Crime?

If we’re restricting ourselves to total crime, the three largest cities have far and away the highest crime totals, including property crime and violent crime. The highest crime rate, however, belongs to Canton, Ohio, with 65.15 crimes per 1,000 residents—the rate for Ohio is 21.82. Canton has been listed as one of the most dangerous cities in the U.S. Poverty, and the arrival of the opioid crisis have contributed to the desperation at the root of much of this crime.

Downtown of Canton, Ohio

Canton has the highest crime rates of any town in Ohio.

©benkrut/iStock via Getty Images

Where Is Lincoln Heights Located on a Map?

Lincoln Heights is a suburb to the north of Cincinnati. It sits between Interstate 75 and Hamilton County’s Mill Creek. On the other side of the interstate is GE Aerospace, a subsidiary of General Electric.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Joseph Sohm/

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About the Author

Rob Amend is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily covering meteorology, geology, geography, and animal oddities. He attained a Master's Degree in Library Science in 2000 and served as reference librarian in an urban public library for 22 years. Rob lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, photography, woodworking, listening to classic rock, and watching classic films—his favorite animal is a six-foot-tall rabbit named Harvey.

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