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The Associated Press September 22, 2011, 3:58PM ET

Cleveland, Cincinnati among poorest big US cities

Two of the 10 poorest big cities in the U.S. are in Ohio, and poverty rates statewide are higher among minority populations, according to a new census report released Thursday.

Cleveland has a 34 percent poverty rate, making it the third poorest city in the U.S. with a population of 200,000 or more, behind Detroit and San Bernardino, Calif., according to the American Community Survey. Cincinnati is seventh, with 30.6 percent of residents living in poverty.

The report, using 2010 data, puts the state's overall poverty rate at 15.8 percent, though rates are much higher for minority populations. About 33 percent of Ohio blacks are in poverty, as are about 31.4 percent of the state's Latinos.

"Part of it is, as the economy tanked, it didn't tank evenly," John Powell, a professor at Ohio State University's Moritz College of Law, told The Columbus Dispatch.

Powell, who teaches about employment discrimination, said blacks as a group face a series of hurdles in finding good work. Other than American Indians, blacks in the U.S. are the most likely to live the farthest from where they work or from where potential jobs are being created, Powell said.

"If they get a job, they're more likely to get a job without benefits, with low pay and in a marginal industry," Powell said.

Raj Aggarwal, a University of Akron business professor, said the disparity between classes is growing more pronounced.

"The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and the middle class is disappearing," Aggarwal told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland.

In Cincinnati, the median household income in 2010 for whites was $46,615 and $22,216 for blacks, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported. The 2010 federal poverty level for a family of four was $22,050.

"There is such a gap that it's hard to imagine being able to get quality education for your children, live in the home you aspire to or have the job you want," Donna Jones Baker, president and chief executive of the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati, which promotes self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship for blacks, told the Enquirer

Ohio's Latinos had higher incomes than blacks but were much more likely to be without health insurance, according to the study. The study shows that 25.5 percent of Latinos in Ohio had no health plan, compared with 16.5 percent of blacks, the Dispatch reported. About 12.3 percent of the state's population had no health coverage.

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