Our community is changing, so should our perceptions

By Scott Barr - Guest columnist

Household income statistics

The Shelby County United Way has the opportunity to see data and outcomes from our many funded programs and partner agencies, receive feedback from our elected and community leaders on issues facing our community, participate in many community meetings and task forces, and review published data. Shelby County has exited the great recession and become a top performing county in the State of Ohio. Make no mistake about it, we still have similar challenges as many of our peer counties do. However, Shelby County is a leader in the state.

Let’s start with the Why? Why has Shelby County improved so much since 2010 and intensified the past three years? It starts with our industries and businesses. Shelby County is still the number one county in manufacturing positions per capita in the state of Ohio. Data from Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership shows five of the top 12 manufacturing companies in the Greater Dayton Region are in Shelby County and our manufacturing shipments exceed $7 billion dollars annually. During my visits with company leaders and viewing their hourly job postings, many of our employers in manufacturing adjusted their hourly wages $2 to $3 per hour during 2017-2019. In doing so, average household and family size income has increased and outpaced our peers.

Research compiled thru 2018 by Rich Exner at Cleveland.com shows Shelby County’s median household income is $61,042 and median family income is $74,243 ranking us as the 18th best county in the state of Ohio. We are currently outpacing Miami County at 21, Logan County at 32, Champaign County at 34, and Darke County at 49. How many of you would have guessed that Shelby County is outpacing our peer counties, including Miami County in income?

When I started in my role eight years ago, our county poverty rate was over 12%. Per Rich Exner’s research thru 2018 Shelby County’s poverty rate is 9.1% and the child poverty rate is 12%. This places Shelby County as the 10th BEST poverty rate in the state of Ohio. That is correct; Top TEN. We are outpacing our peer counties again. Poverty rate for our peer counties are as follows: Miami 9.4%, Darke 10.1%, Champaign 11%, and Logan 13.4%. Early indicators show our poverty rate at the end of 2019 will be under 9%. We will see when published.

As I stated earlier, we still have challenges. Shelby County’s poverty rate for children is 12%. Sidney’s child poverty rate is at 20%. That is too high. Next month we will discuss more on the child poverty rate in Sidney and Shelby County and, agencies and programs working to address this issue. I will also share a new collaboration with Workforce Partnership that will launch in the fall to directly address this topic.

In the meantime, we can change our perceptions. Get involved. Great things are happening in Sidney and Shelby County. Support your community and get behind Sidney Alive, Sidney-Shelby County Chamber of Commerce, Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership, our local government leaders, and many other individuals and business that are working on community branding, downtown revitalization, placemaking, and so much more. It’s a great time to live, work, and make a difference in someone’s life right here in Shelby County.




By Scott Barr

Guest columnist

Household income statistics

The writer is the president and C.E.O. Shelby County United Way.

The writer is the president and C.E.O. Shelby County United Way.