Unemployment in Black Cities: Cleveland, Ohio
10 months ago
As part of our continuing series, we look at black unemployment in the much-maligned Rust Belt city.
Cleveland is one of the “blackest” municipalities in the Rust Belt.
According to the Census Department, African-Americans formed a majority there in 2010, at over 53% of the population. This dwarfed the white demographic (37%) and especially the Hispanic community (10%). The heavy black representation outpaced that of rival city Cincinnati and was far higher than in the populous state capital of Columbus.
People of color have long called Cleveland home. Much of this is due to the city’s economic development; situated on the Ohio and Erie Canal and with good access to markets both east and west, it became one of the early industrial centers in its region. This attracted unskilled black laborers from the South looking for work, and as the city grew these individuals stayed and prospered with it.
But the good times didn’t last. A migration of a different sort began in the twentieth century, with manufacturing jobs finding their way overseas to countries with much lower labor and production costs. As a result, Cleveland began a long, slow decline that saw many of its once-busy factories stand idle and eventually rot away. The city and its decay into ugly irrelevance became a token of urban failure and a punch line for comedians.
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