YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – New numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau do not paint a positive picture of Youngstown. The city is one of six in the country with a poverty rate over 40 percent.
Of all Youngstown residents, 40.2 percent live at or below the poverty line. Even worse, two out of three kids live in poverty.
To view additional income data specific to Youngstown, click here.
To read the complete census report, click here.
Even with the bleak numbers, Youngstown residents are resilient. Rodney Perry doesn’t let the news get him down. Selling vegetables along Fifth Avenue, he has a chance to meet many residents. He said he is not surprised by the numbers, but he has faith things will get better.
“The negative is going to tear you down. The positive is going to pick you up,” Perry said. “The younger ones will come up, and that is going to make it happen.”
Rodney wants to see people make a change.
“Seek some help that is going to lift them up. It is easy to seek some alcohol. It is easy to seek some drugs. But it is not easy to get out there and say I need help,” Perry said.
Youngstown Mayor John McNally said there are systematic problems that have plagued the city for decades. A lack of jobs, problems with the education system and poor employment training are just a few issues that residents struggle with every day.
“These are sort of day by day things that we have to take one step at a time,” McNally said. “There is certainly not going to be one solution to the poverty problem in Youngstown, but we have to admit that it is there.”
Perry works with struggling people a lot through a nonprofit group. He helps them get off drugs and find jobs.
“Deal with the most positive thing you can deal with. Learn about the Father. Got to church, spend an hour at church and learn something. Spend time around some positive people than the negative,” Perry said.