Ohio gets its state name from the Iroquois tribe, who called it Ohio, meaning “Great River.” That magnificent river today is known as the Ohio River, the largest tributary flowing into the Mississippi in terms of volume. It begins in Pittsburgh and cuts through downtown Cincinnati, the state’s third-largest city with a metro area population of over 2 million. The two biggest cities would be Columbus and Cleveland, which each have metro area populations around 2 million as well.
With these three major metro areas and several more large cities – including Dayton, Toledo, Youngstown and Akron - it’s no surprise then that the Buckeye State is the seventh most populated state in the U.S., with a total population of 11.5 million and the 10th highest population density. Approximately 82% of Ohioans are white, 12% are black, 3% are Hispanic, 2% are multiracial and 1% are Asian. As of early 2016, the median household income statewide was $48,308, with approximately 15% of residents living below the poverty line.
Ohio is home to more than 140 institutions of higher education, including nationally-ranked schools like Ohio State, Case Western Reserve, Kenyon College and Oberlin College. More than a quarter of the state population has a bachelor's degree, while over 88% of residents are high school graduates.
Statewide, the median home value as of early 2016 was $134,744 – nearly $50,000 less than the U.S. median – while the median rental price was $837. Located in the center of the state, Columbus, the capital, is known for its historic neighborhoods, including the Victorian Village, which has dozens of three-story Victorian brick, Italianate and Tudor homes. The city also hosts several annual events, including First Night Columbus, the Jazz and Rib Fest and the Arnold Classic, a body-building competition. Columbus’ median home value in early 2016 was $141,647.
Cleveland, located in northeastern Ohio on the shores of Lake Erie, offers another historic experience that includes music, thanks to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and more than 20 concert venues. The city claims 176 neighborhoods, 25 historic districts and more than 250 land marks. It’s also home to several major sport franchises, including the Cleveland Indians (MLB), Cleveland Cavaliers (NBA), Cleveland Rockers (WNBA), Cleveland Browns (NFL) and the Lake Erie Monsters (AHL). In early 2016, the median home value in Cleveland – a black majority city with 52% African Americans – was $79,461, a staggering $100,000 less than the U.S. median.
Tucked away in the hills of the Ohio River Valley in the southwestern corner is Cincinnati. Charles Dickens said it best when he wrote in his “American Notes” that the “inhabitants of Cincinnati are proud of their city as one of the most interesting in America and for good reason.” Neighborhoods range from tree-lined streets with inexpensive homes to more expensive homes in the hills that overlook the city. One revitalized historic neighborhood named Over the Rhines boasts beautiful 19th-century architecture and one of the oldest farmers markets, the Findlay Market. The median home value here in early 2016 was $125,928.
In 2015, Ohio had the fifth-highest number of Fortune 500 businesses in the country. That means 23 Ohio-based corporations were considered by Fortune to be the largest public companies by revenue in America, including Kroger, Macy’s, Goodyear, Procter & Gamble, Progressive, Sherwin-Williams, Owens Corning, Marathon Petroleum and AK Steel Holding. Together, these 23 giants generated over $600 billion in revenue in 2015, showing that this “Rust Belt” state remains an industrial force, despite the overall decline and restructuring of manufacturing in America. In November 2015, the unemployment rate was 4.5% - half a point lower than the U.S. average – providing another positive indicator given that unemployment was 9% in January 2011, roughly five years prior.