Cincinnati planning to study city youth

Apr 9, 2013

A Cincinnati Councilwoman and members of a youth commission are launching what they call a groundbreaking study on the city's youth.

Yvettte Simpson said the study will focus on six areas: crime, poverty and homelessness, education, workforce development, health and developmental opportunities.  

Simpson and several commission members announced the project during a City Hall press conference.

“I am excited for the results this research will bring,” Simpson said.  “Cincinnati has many wonderful organizations dedicated to youth. This work will guide the City and its partners by identifying how to prioritize resources and create a strategic approach to ensure more young people are advancing in areas most critical to their future success.”

The year-long study will include in-person interviews with 1,500 young people and 500 parents.  

Simpson and the youth commission promise the data will not just be put on paper that sits on a shelf.  

Monica Mitchell is with the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and is co-chair on the youth commission.

“The overarching goal is to create recommendations to be implemented citywide not only by the city but also by its community partners.” Mitchell said.

The city is accepting bids from vendors to conduct the study.  The work is being funded with money from a number of different foundations.

As recent statistics indicate, Cincinnati youth are struggling.

A press release stated Cincinnati has the third highest childhood poverty rate in the nation, with approximately 48% of children living in poverty.  Children living in poverty are twice as likely to repeat a grade, adolescents are almost twice as likely to be obese, and impoverished teenage girls are five times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy than those not living in poverty.

Cincinnati already has a lower percentage of high school graduates than both Ohio and the United States, and non-high school graduates in Cincinnati are more than twice as likely to live below the poverty line.

The Youth Commission of Cincinnati is a citywide commission formed in spring of 2012 to act as a voice for the needs of Cincinnati youth, and to guide city leaders on decisions relating to youth concerns. It is also charged with evaluating current policies, laws, programs, and services impacting Cincinnati youth. Members of the commission include leaders from a wide variety of organizations serving youth.