Tuesday, June 04, 2002

Ohio improves in higher ed, income

But state's U.S. ranking still lags in those areas

By Debra Jasper, djasper@enquirer.com
Enquirer Columbus Bureau

Ohio by the numbers - click to view infographic.
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        COLUMBUS — Ohioans are making more money and are more educated than they were a decade ago, but the latest census data shows the state lags in terms of higher education and income.

        Twenty-one percent of Ohioans have four-year college degrees, putting the state in 36th place among the 46 states and the District of Columbia whose census data have been released. In the U.S., 24.1 percent of the U.S. population has a college degree.

        Ten years ago, 17 percent of Ohioans had four-year college degrees and 20.3 percent of the U.S. population had them.

        “Ohio has a long way to go to catch up to even the national average,” said Jim McCollum, director of the Inter-University Council of Ohio, which represents 13 colleges, including the University of Cincinnati. “The company we're keeping is Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and West Virginia. It doesn't sound to me like that's a good place for Ohio to be.”

        Andrew Doehrel, president and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, said the low number of college-educated residents reflects Ohio's past dependence on heavy industry and manufacturing. He predicted the state's low ranking will continue to make it tough to compete for increasingly high-skilled jobs.

        “Quality of life issues are becoming more of a factor in luring companies here. Executives want good schools and good higher education facilities for their kids and also they want places to draw their employees from,” he said. “The skilled work force of 20 years ago isn't the work force of today. Today it's all about education.”

        Ohio fares better when it comes to household income and number of people with at least high school educations.

Learning helps some Ohioans earn more - click to view infographic.
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        Eighty-three percent of Ohioans in 2000 who are 25 years or older had at least high school degrees, some college, associate degrees or four-year degrees, putting the state at No. 20 in the rankings among the states that have released census information. The U.S. average is 80.1 percent.

        A decade ago, the percentage of adults with at least high school degrees was 75.7 percent.

        The state also falls in the middle of the states in median household income, with earnings at $40,956 in 1999. That's less than Michigan and Indiana, where the median incomes are $44,667 and $41,567 respectively, but far better than Kentucky and West Virginia, where median incomes are below $34,000.

        The U.S. median income in 1999 was $40,816.

  Click here to see census statistics for Tristate counties and communities.
Butler County
Clermont County
Hamilton County
Warren County
Boone County
Campbell County
Kenton County
Dearborn County
        Ohioans have more earning power than they did a decade ago. In 1990, the average median income was $28,706, but after adjusting for inflation it was 9.9 percent higher in 1999.

        Nationally, the average median income increased from 7.7 percent after inflation from $30,065 in 1989 to $41,994 in 1999.

        The latest data also shows that urban areas such as Cincinnati or Columbus continue to be home to the most people with higher educations. But increasingly, those with higher incomes are moving to neighboring counties.

        “A lot of the exploding counties (in terms of population) aren't urban. They are the Clermont, the Butler, the Warren counties, or in Columbus, Delaware County,” says Rosemary Gliem, director of the Data Center at Ohio State University. “People who are earning higher incomes live near urban areas, but not in them.”

        Income in Delaware County, for example, jumped 36.7 percent after inflation to $67,258 between 1990 and 1999, more than any other county in the state. People in Delaware, which is just north of Columbus, earned a median income of $37,896 in 1990 but that figure rose to $67,258 by 1999.

        Income in Warren County also spiked considerably, jumping between 1990 and 1999 by 21 percent after inflation to $57,952.

        “When you look at the counties with high median incomes, you won't see a Hamilton County or a Cuyahoga County or even a Montgomery County,” said Ms. Gliem. "You'll see counties that were once rural now have a lot of people moving in.”


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