So many of the people I interact with in Cleveland and so many of the people that dominate civic discourse are unrepresentative of the city at large — myself included. I thought it would be an interesting exercise to look at what the average person in Cleveland is like, just from a data perspective. All this was taken from the Census. But here is a Brief summary:
The Average Clevelander is …
Black — 53 percent of Cleveland is black. Only 37 percent are white, so the average person is definitely not white.
A Renter — Only 43.5 percent of Cleveland’s homes are owner occupied. Despite the cheap housing, renting is the norm. The average household size is 2.28, so most people share their home with at least one other person, but family sizes are not huge. The median gross rent is $661.
Has a High School Degree But Not a College Degree — About 77 percent of Clevelanders over 25 are high school graduates, but only just over 15 percent have college degrees.
Employed — About 59 percent of Clevelanders over 16 are part of the workforce.
Poor — The median household income in Cleveland is just $26,000. That’s compared with about $49,000 for state households.
A Woman — 52 percent of Cleveland residents are female.
In short, the average resident in Cleveland is a black woman with a high school degree who works but is poor and rents her home and lives with at least one family member.
I just think this information is useful for people to keep in mind. Many people like me come at this interest in urban affairs from a relatively privileged vantage. That’s okay, but the least we can do is be conscious of how our experiences might differ from the average Cleveland resident.
Just for comparison, the average D.C. resident is a black woman renter with a college degree who is not poor — the median household income is $69,000 — and pays about $1,300 for rent.
The average resident of Milwaukee is white renter who pays $784 a month, works but has relatively low earnings — $35,000 per household — and lives with at least one family member.