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Income, housing growing in Medina County, Census data shows

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Spencer Township is the smallest township in Medina County with a population count of just 1,696 residents, but according to new U.S. Census data released today median household income is climbing in the rural community.

The latest American Community Survey results are out, offering statistical data that examines median household income, individual poverty rate, median home value and the percentage of home ownership. This newest data cover the years 2013-2017 and offer a comparison to the last time the survey was released, then reflecting the years 2008-2012.

And while Census data often stay to the population centers, this look is broken down to the smallest communities — offering a look at not just Medina, Brunswick and Wadsworth, but also each village in the county. The survey is known as the premier source for information about America’s changing population, housing stock and workforce.

According to the data, Medina County largely remains an affluent community with a median household income ($71,595) that outpaces the state ($52,407) and country ($57,652) and has seen growth between 2013-17 and 2008-2012.

Bethany Dentler, executive director of the Medina County Economic Development Corp., said the increase in median household income — even just the bump of 1.8 percent between the two reporting periods — is a strong indicator the county is rebounding.

“This reflects a strengthening economy coming out of the recession, where the county began to see more job creation,” she said Wednesday.

“It also reflects the fact that many local employers began to offer higher wages to compete in a tightening labor market, which led to higher household incomes. With a median household income of $71,595, Medina County stayed 37 percent above the state of Ohio’s median household income ($52,407).”

In the 26 cities, townships and villages in the county, 14 municipalities showed growth in median household income. None was higher than in Spencer Township, which grew an astounding 43.4 percent.

Median income grew in Spencer Township from $49,526 for the time period of 2008-2012 to $71,042 for the reporting period of 2013-2017. Understandably, the percentage of residents living below the poverty line likewise decreased from

20.7 percent to 5.4 percent to match the growing median household incomes.

Median household income went the opposite direction in the village of Spencer, which saw a negative change from $56,602 to $46,467.

It was an astonishing figure to hear for Spencer Village Councilman Jim Coleman.

“We have not had a mass exodus of rich or wealthy people to see that kind of drop,” he said.

“We have always stayed around the

750 to 800 range for people living in the village. … The village is also in the township. We vote on township issues so to see the trend go the opposite way in the township is just as puzzling.”

All three cities in Medina County grew in median income, led by Wadsworth’s

7.8 percent. Brunswick grew by 3 percent and Medina by 2.6 percent.

Wadsworth Township also grew by 19.7 percent and Litchfield by 19 percent.

Twelve townships and villages experienced declines in median income. Guilford Township also dropped 16.8 percent, from $82,228 to $68,444.

The highest median incomes in the county are Montville Township’s $106,524 and Granger Township’s $100,313.

The lowest are in the villages of Lodi ($35,827) and Spencer ($46,467).

“As I look at this fresh data, I am struck by the long tail of the Great Recession,” United Way of Medina County CEO Cheryl Parzych said.

“The late-in-recovery information shows many communities having dropped in median income while costs rise, and the county having broadly lost value in most people’s primary asset — their home.”

Even though the country is out of the recession, that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone is in the clear. Ten communities, including the city of Wadsworth, showed an increase in the percent of individuals living below the poverty income line.

In Wadsworth, the percent of those living below the poverty line increased from 6.7 percent in 2008-2012 to 7.1 percent in 2013-2017.

The largest percent of individuals in those living below the poverty line was in Lodi Village at 20.3 percent. Chippewa Lake has a 7.7 percent rate and Sharon Township has a 7.3 percent rate.

“For those still financially constrained or on the sidelines, United Way of Medina County encourages them to take advantage of the deep resources of our human services network,” Parzych said. “Dialing 211 is the best first call to make when looking for solutions.”

United Way’s 211 system connects those in need to more than 200 service providers in Medina County.

In the county, 6.2 percent of individuals are living below the poverty line. That is compared with the state’s 14.9 percent.

“The percentage of Medina County individuals living below the poverty income line in 2013-17 is 42 percent of the state of Ohio’s percentage,” Dentler said. “The county’s percentage of individuals in poverty in 2013-17 dropped 15.1 percent from the 2008-12 timeframe, which I believe reflects the intense efforts of community organizations in the county to provide support for lower-income households.

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Median value of owner-occupied homes dropped throughout Medina County in all but six communities. Overall, there is a 4.9 percent drop in values in the county.

The biggest jumps were in Lodi Village at 10.1 percent and Homer Township at 9.8 percent.

The largest drop in home values were in Spencer Village at 15.3 percent and Gloria Glens Park Village at 14.2 percent.

The highest home values in the county were in Hinckley Township at $307,300 and Sharon Township at $296,800.

The median value of owner-occupied homes decreased in all three cities, including Medina’s 5.5 percent.

“The median value of Medina County’s owner-occupied homes is actually on an upward trend, if you compare the 2013-17 data with the 2012-16 data,” Dentler said.

“The value increased from $182,100 to $185,800, an increase of 2 percent. This shows the impact of the end of the recession on county property values.”

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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