Dramatic Decrease in Ohio Incomes in One Year

            An analysis by the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland of newly released figures from Ohio state income tax returns shows that the average income of an Ohio taxpayer fell by over $1,900 during the first year of the current recession. Statewide, the average income of an Ohio taxpayer fell by –4.3% between 2000 and 2001.

            Inflation-adjusted incomes fell during the first year of the current recession in 86 of Ohio’s 88 counties, so falling incomes have literally been a statewide problem for Ohio’s taxpayers

            But, a disproportion ally large portion of the income erosion took place in the Cleveland-Akron-Lorain metropolitan area. The largest one year income drop among Ohio counties took place in Geauga County, where incomes fell by –7.8%, with a plunge from $65,469 in 2000 to $60,341 in 2001.

            Among Ohio’s 88 counties, Cuyahoga County’s –6.4% drop was the fourth fastest income decline. The income of an average Cuyahoga County taxpayer fell from $48,135 in 2000 to $45,046 in 2001.

            Summit County’s –5.9% income drop was the sixth most rapid plunge among the 88 Ohio counties. The income of an average Summit County taxpayer fell from $47,855 in 2000 to $45,011 in 2001.

            All eight counties in Cleveland-Akron-Lorain metropolitan area saw substantial declines in the income of an average taxpayer. Even rapidly growing Medina County suffered significant income erosion during the first year of the current recession, with a 3% drop in average taxpayer incomes from $50,365 in 2000 to $48,832 in 2001. Suburban Lake County taxpayers also saw their incomes fall, with a –5.1% income drop from $45,754 in 2000 to $43,407 in 2001.

            Very large job losses from the current recession contributed to these substantial income declines. Cuyahoga County alone, which accounts for 14.7% of Ohio’s jobs, suffered 24.6% of Ohio’s statewide job losses. Nearly 50,000 Cuyahoga County jobs have disappeared during the current recession. But, income losses as a result of the recession also are evident in counties like Medina, where modest job growth has continued during the recession.

            Thus, it is clear that lost job earnings are not the only contributor to income declines in metropolitan Cleveland-Akron-Lorain. Falling equity values, declining interest payments on savings and money market deposits, as well as large cuts in public assistance transfer payments all contributed to the widespread local income erosion.

            None of the income declines during the current recession in any part of Ohio were measured by the 2000 census, which was conducted before the recession started.

            The figures for counties will eventually be supplemented with breakdowns within counties by school district, but the figures for smaller jurisdictions are not yet available.

Editor’s Note: Additional details are available on the research section of the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland internet web site: http://www.ceogc.org

Copyright to the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless and the Homeless Grapevine Cleveland Ohio 2003.