Knowledge Exchange Webinar - Understanding Our Community: Cincinnati Then & Now

We continue our Knowledge Exchange series, Understanding Our Community, by examining societal shifts throughout Cincinnati over the past five decades.
November 20, 2023

CINCINNATI (Nov. 15, 2023) — This Knowledge Exchange webinar features researchers who wrote The Social Areas of Cincinnati Report. They discuss trends across Cincinnati neighborhoods, focusing on the period from 1970 to 2020. The presenters offered insight on neighborhood transformations related to variables such as population, poverty, race, socioeconomic status and other social determinants of health. Among their findings:

  • Cincinnati’s population has declined since the 1970s, from 453,000 to 309,000. The same is true for Hamilton County as a whole (924,000 to 831,000), whereas the seven-county metro area has grown from a population of 1,245,000 to 2,257,000.
  • In 1970, Cincinnati’s West Side neighborhoods were largely white, Roman Catholic and comprised of financially stable families. More recently, several neighborhoods in that area are struggling with low levels of education, high unemployment, family breakup and high crime rates.
  • Increases in land and housing prices both in the suburbs and city center led to financial stress and homelessness.
  • Two-parent families are no longer the norm in areas with lower socioeconomic status. Cincinnati has one of the highest child poverty rates in the country (32%). (Source: U.S. Census Bureau, WKRC)
  • There are fewer careers that offer a livable wage.
  • More retirees and young professionals are choosing to live in the city which has increased housing competition.



SES Quartiles for Cincinnati Census Tracts in 1970 and 2021 with Neighborhood Overlay
(click to enlarge)

SES Quartiles for Cincinnati Census Tracts in 1970 and 2021 with Neighborhood Overlay


These findings warrant larger conversations about community conditions, resource availability and possible interventions to address inequities among neighboring communities. For example, how do we develop and redevelop neighborhoods so all residents can share in the prosperity that surrounds them? These reflections may lead to strategic policy solutions, funding, community building and engagement practices to mitigate the challenges we face.

Explore our six systems change portfolios and learn more about what United Way is doing to help ensure all people in Greater Cincinnati have economic well-being and mobility so our entire community can thrive – now and in the future.

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