Benchmark Report Shows Central Ohio’s Prosperity, Poverty

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The Columbus Partnership has released its third annual “Benchmarking Central Ohio” report. The report compares economic and social issues with 15 other U.S. metropolitan areas. Central Ohio shows overall economic strength, but worsening personal prosperity.

The report compared population vitality, economic strength, personal prosperity and community well being in 16 U.S. metropolitan areas. The Columbus region was compared with areas that included Indianapolis, San Diego and Nashville. The Central Ohio region far outpaced the others in job growth in the transportation warehousing and utilities sectors according to the report. And the region ranked first in the number of new residents with Bachelor’s degrees. The work force is young and well educated according to research director Roberta Garber, who cited other positive indicators.

“We have a relatively large number of Fortune 1,000 companies; we’re doing well in government, logistics; we’re doing well in some sectors of community wellness – our libraries, good air quality, low traffic congestion, affordable housing, so all those things are positives,” Garber said. But there were also disturbing statistics. The Columbus metropolitan area had the highest poverty level among the 16; so not surprisingly it had one of the highest rankings of people on public assistance. Columbus was first in the number of obese adults.

The region ranks near the bottom in the number of people who use public transportation, and in the number of arts organizations.

Garber says the report paints a complex picture of the region. She says it’s important to understand and address the report’s findings.