Sep 29, 2022 - News

Income inequality in Ohio

Illustration of a woman on a small stack of money next to a woman on a much larger stack of money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

While the top 1% of Ohioans earn 10% of the state's total income, the bottom 50% earn just 13%.

  • That disparity puts Ohio 29th among states per a new Scioto Analysis study.

Why it matters: Income inequality can negatively impact the well-being of a population and cause social and health problems.

By the numbers: The top 1% of earners make about 19 times more than the rest of Ohioans — almost $813,000 yearly.

  • Ohioans with a high school diploma are earning almost $12,000 more than those without one.
  • College graduates earn about $27,000 more on average than Ohioans with only a high school diploma.
  • As of 2018, 76% of Ohioans had not earned a bachelor's degree and 31% did not have a high school diploma.

Zoom in: According to the Economic Policy Institute, Cleveland-Elyria is the most unequal metropolitan area in the state.

  • Average yearly income of the top 1% is over $1 million. The bottom 99% is just over $48,000.

What we're watching: The study identified ways to potentially lessen Ohio's income inequality.

  • Increasing minimum wage from the current $9.30 to $15 an hour would benefit 42% of Ohioans, it says.
  • Implementing earned income tax credits would provide Ohioans with allotted payments depending on how far below the federal poverty level they fall.

What they're saying: "Traditional tools like earned income tax credits and minimum wage increases can ameliorate inequality, but according to our simulations, a negative income tax would have an impact three times as large as either of those measures," said Rob Moore, principal at Scioto Analysis, in a statement.

The big picture: Nationally, the highest earners continue to make more while middle and lowest earners' income growth has plateaued.


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