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Youngstown was named for New York native John Young, who surveyed the area in 1796 and settled there soon afterward. On February 9, 1797, Young purchased the township of 15,560 acres (6,300 ha) from the Western Reserve Land Company for $16,085. The 1797 establishment of Youngstown was officially recorded on August 19, 1802.
The area that includes present-day Youngstown was part of the Connecticut Western Reserve, a section of the Northwest Territory that Connecticut initially did not cede to the Federal government. Upon cession, Connecticut retained the title to the land in the Western Reserve, which it sold to the Connecticut Land Company for $1,200,000. While many of the area's early settlers came from Connecticut, Youngstown attracted many Scots-Irish settlers from neighboring Pennsylvania. The first European Americans to settle permanently in the area were Pittsburgh native James Hillman and wife Catherine Dougherty. By 1798, Youngstown was the home of several families who were concentrated near where Mill Creek meets the Mahoning River. Boardman Township was founded in 1798 by Elijah Boardman, a member of the Connecticut Land Company. Also founded in 1798 was Austintown by John McCollum who was a settler from New Jersey.
As the Western Reserve's population grew, the need for administrative districts became apparent. In 1800, territorial governor Arthur St. Clair established Trumbull County (named in honor of Connecticut Governor Jonathan Trumbull), and designated the smaller settlement of Warren as its administrative center, or "county seat". In 1813, Trumbull County was divided into townships, with Youngstown Township comprising much of what became Mahoning County. The village of Youngstown was incorporated in 1848, and in 1867 Youngstown was chartered as a city. It became the county seat in 1876, when the administrative center of Mahoning County was moved from neighboring Canfield. Youngstown has been Mahoning County's county seat to this day.
The discovery of coal by the community in the early 19th century paved the way for the Youngstown area's inclusion on the network of the famed Erie Canal. The Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal Company was organized in 1835, and the canal was completed in 1840. Local industrialist David Tod, who became Ohio governor during the Civil War, persuaded Lake Erie steamboat owners that coal mined in the Mahoning Valley could fuel their vessels if canal transportation were available between Youngstown and Cleveland. The railroad's arrival in 1856 smoothed the path for further economic growth.
Youngstown's industrial development changed the face of the Mahoning Valley. The community's burgeoning coal industry drew hundreds of immigrants from Wales, Germany, and Ireland. With the establishment of steel mills in the late 19th century, Youngstown became a popular destination for immigrants from Eastern Europe, Italy, and Greece.
In the early 20th century, the community saw an influx of immigrants from non-European countries including what is modern day Lebanon, Palestine/Israel, and Syria. By the 1920s, this dramatic demographic shift produced a nativist backlash, and the Mahoning Valley became a center of Ku Klux Klan activity. The situation reached a climax in 1924, when street clashes between Klan members and Italian and Irish Americans in neighboring Niles led Ohio Governor A. Victor Donahey to declare martial law. By 1928 the Klan was in steep decline; and three years later, the organization sold its Canfield, Ohio, meeting area, Kountry Klub Field. Despite the prevalence of Irish Americans in Youngstown, their presence wasn't always evident. When radio personality Pete Gabriel (who was Greek), came to Youngstown, he found out at the time that there was no St Patrick's Day parade there, so he started one.
The growth of industry attracted people from within the United States and from Latin America. By the late 19th century, African Americans were well represented in Youngstown, and the first local congregation of the African Methodist Episcopal Church was established in 1871. In the 1880s, local attorney William R. Stewart was the second African American elected to the Ohio House of Representatives. A large influx of African Americans in the early 20th century owed much to developments in the industrial sector. During the national Steel Strike of 1919, local industrialists recruited thousands of workers from the South, many of whom were Black. This move inflamed racist sentiment among local Whites, and for decades, African-American steelworkers experienced discrimination in the workplace. Migration from the South rose dramatically in the 1940s, when the mechanization of southern agriculture brought an end to the sharecropping system, leading onetime farm laborers to seek industrial jobs.
Youngstown's local iron ore deposits were exhausted by the early 20th century. Since the city is landlocked (the Mahoning River is not navigable), ore from Michigan and Minnesota had to arrive by rail from Cleveland and other Great Lakes port cities where large bulk carriers were unloaded. This put Youngstown at a competitive disadvantage to the iron and steel producers in Cleveland, Buffalo, Chicago and Detroit—all on Great Lake shores. Compared to these four cities, Youngstown had a higher cost of transporting raw materials to the mills, according to a Harvard Business Review report published in January 1933. Higher transportation costs are one reason why Youngstown mills began their decline before those in other "rust belt" cities.
The city had the prestige of a prestige, albeit second tier, city within the Mid-West in terms of transportation connections. An airport built in 1930 hosted Capital and United Airlines flights through the region and to New York prior to the jet age of the latter 1950s. It was on the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad mainline to Chicago with the Capital Limited. Likewise, Youngstown was on the Erie Railroad mainline, on its Chicago-Jersey City circuit, with trains such as the Atlantic Express/Pacific Express and the Lake Cities. The city was on the New York Central's Pittsburgh-Buffalo circuit and the Pennsylvania Railroad's Pittsburgh-Cleveland circuit.
The city's population became more diverse after the end of World War II, when a seemingly robust steel industry attracted thousands of workers. In the 1950s, the Latino population grew significantly; and by the 1970s, St. Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church and the First Spanish Baptist Church of Ohio were among the largest religious institutions for Spanish-speaking residents in the Youngstown metropolitan area. While diversity is among the community's enduring characteristics, the industrial economy that drew various groups to the area collapsed in the late 1970s. In response to subsequent challenges, the city has taken well-publicized steps to diversify economically, while building on some traditional strengths.
At 11:30 on Wednesday, September 6, 1967, only 9 of the 50 scheduled patrolmen arrived for work at the Youngstown Police Department. The others were not on strike. That was prevented by Ohio state law. The patrolmen, eventually numbering 300, along with another 300 city-employed firefighters, were instead attending "continuous professional meetings", and would be until their demand for an immediate across-the-board raise of $1200 was met. By Saturday, the day they were ordered back to their jobs by a Common Pleas Court judge, citizens were reported as disturbed, rather than badly frightened, by the risks of police and fire services operating at about 30% normal headcounts. A car fire was the worst single incident. When ending the strike the judge also ordered the pay raise. Apart from a fruitless six-day "sick call" of police in Detroit in June 1967, Youngstown's was the first major police strike since the Boston Police Strike in 1919. As the editorial writers at the Sheboygan Press of Sheboygan, Wisconsin put it, "So we have seen the first successful strike by policemen and firemen. It is a precedent over which there should be little rejoicing."
Downtown Youngstown has seen modest levels of new construction. Recent additions include the George Voinovich Government Center and state and federal courthouses: the Seventh District Court of Appeals and the Nathaniel R. Jones Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse. The latter features an award-winning design by the architectural firm, Robert A. M. Stern Architects.
In 2005, Federal Street, a major downtown thoroughfare that was closed off to create a pedestrian-oriented plaza, reopened to traffic. The downtown area has seen the razing of structurally unsound buildings and the expansion or restoration of others.
In 2004, construction began on a 60-home upscale development called Arlington Heights, and a grant from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development allowed for the demolition of Westlake Terrace, a sprawling and dilapidated public housing project. Today, the site features a blend of senior housing, rental townhouses and for-sale single-family homes. Low real-estate prices and the efforts of the Youngstown Central Area Improvement Corporation (CIC) have contributed to the purchase of several long-abandoned downtown buildings (many by out-of-town investors) and their restoration and conversion into specialty shops, restaurants, and eventually condominiums. In addition, a nonprofit organization called Wick Neighbors is planning a $250 million New Urbanist revitalization of Smoky Hollow, a former ethnic neighborhood that borders the downtown and university campus. The neighborhood will eventually comprise about 400 residential units, university student housing, retail space, and a central park. Construction for the project began in 2006.
New construction has dovetailed with efforts to cultivate business growth. One of the area's more successful business ventures in recent years has been the Youngstown Business Incubator. This nonprofit organization, based in a former downtown department store building, fosters the growth of fledgling technology-based companies. The incubator, which boasts more than a dozen business tenants, recently completed construction on the Taft Technology Center, where some of its largest tenants will locate their offices.
In line with these efforts to change the community's image, the city government, in partnership with Youngstown State University, has organized an ambitious urban renewal plan known as Youngstown 2010. The stated goals of Youngstown 2010 include the creation of a "cleaner, greener, and better planned and organized Youngstown". In January 2005, the organization unveiled a master plan prepared by Urban Strategies Inc. of Toronto, which had taken shape during an extensive process of public consultation and meetings that gathered input from citizens. The plan, which included platforms such as the acceptance of a reduced population and an improved image and quality of life, received national attention and is consistent with efforts in other metropolitan areas to address the phenomenon of urban depopulation.Youngstown 2010 received an award for public outreach from the American Planning Association in 2007.
The 2010 United States Census population estimate was 65,062 people. The Mahoning Valley area has 763,207 residents.
The United States Census Bureau's 2011 American Community Survey estimated a median household income of $24,006. A 2007 report by CNNMoney.com stated that Youngstown has the lowest median income of any U.S. city with more than 65,000 residents. Between 1960 and 2010, the city's population declined by over 60%. Youngstown's vacant-housing rate is twenty times the national average.
According to the 2010 Census, Youngstown had 26,839 households and 15,150 families. The population density was 755.2/km2 (1958.5/sq mi). There were 33,123 housing units at an average density of 968.5 per square mile (373.4/km2). The city's racial makeup was 47.0% White, 45.2% African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 3.3% of some other race, and 3.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.3% of the population. The European ancestry included had 10.8% Italian, 10.8% Irish, 10.0% German, and 4.2% English ancestries. Among the Hispanic population, 5.7% were Puerto Rican, 1.9% Mexican, 0.1% Cuban, and 0.7% some other Hispanic or Latino.
Records suggest 28.6% of the households had children under the age of 18. Of these, 25.6% were married couples living together, 24.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.6% were non-families. Meanwhile, 37.8% of all households comprised a single person, and 14.5% of households comprised a person over 65 years of age living alone. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 3.02.
22.8% of the city's population was under the age of 18, 10.8% was from age 18 to 24, 24.3% was from age 25 to 44, 26.2% was from age 45 to 64, and 15.8% was age 65 or older. The median age was 38 years old. For every 100 females, there were 96.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95 males.
Ohio is an eastern U.S. state located in the northeast corner of the Midwestern region of the Ohio River Valley. Ohio is bordered by the states of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia to its south, Kentucky and Indiana to its northwest, and Michigan to its southwest. Ohio is also one of the few states in the union with a majority of its population concentrated in the southern region. The largest city in Ohio is Columbus, which is the state's capital. Ohio is divided into four major counties namely Cuyahoga, Cleveland, Columbus and Medina.
Ohio's demography is predominantly rural. Ohio ranks tenth among states in terms of its population of rural resident population. Ohio's largest city, Columbus, has a population of about five million. A smaller rural county in Ohio called Geauga, is the site of a major aluminum production plant that is one of the most densely populated places in Ohio. Demographics of this rural area is younger than the national average and more married than the national average.
Ohio's economy is based on its reliance on tourism. The state of Ohio is home to a large number of visitors who come to visit the beautiful landscape and to invest in business and other forms of personal income. Ohio's economy depends on its dependence on tourism and the main sources of job creation in this state have been higher education and medical technology. As a result, more people have been moving to Ohio in search of higher education and better healthcare.
Because of its strong economy and reliance on tourism, Ohio has developed a fairly homogenous demography. It is the most ethnically diverse state in the United States. Ohio's ethnic diversity results in a lower rate of urban poverty than the national average and the same as the median income level. Demography also contributes to Ohio's lower rate of child poverty as well as the lower rate of adult poverty.
Ohio's poverty rate is thirty-three percent, slightly higher than the national average. This means that families in the bottom twenty percent of the income distribution are Ohio's middle class. However, because of their lower incomes, they still have above average health insurance and are not as likely to live in poverty. Ohio's poor economic outlook contributes to the fact that about fifteen percent of its residents live in poverty, more than any other state in the country.
On the other end of the income scale, about forty percent of Ohio's residents live in the upper middle class. Ohio's middle class is particularly vulnerable to the effects of economic conditions. The downward trend of the Ohio job market has made it easier for people at the bottom of the economic scale to fall into poverty. Ohioans making less than twenty-five hundred dollars per year are considered to be in the upper middle class in this state and are thus less likely to be in poverty. Those earning over forty thousand dollars per year are in what is known as the middle income group and are far more likely to be in poverty than the typical Ohioan.
Ohio's poverty rates for children are especially troubling. They are higher than the national average and are far more likely to live in poverty. Two-thirds of Ohio school kids live in poverty, and many of these children are from broken or disadvantaged families. One of every four Ohio school students lives in poverty, making it one of the most densely populated states in the U.S. Another troubling fact about Ohio's children is that their educational levels are on par with those in other states but their reading and writing scores are far lower than the national average. These children are also less likely to have received all of their needed vaccinations.
While Ohio is one of the wealthiest states in the U.S., it is also one of its poorest when it comes to the health of its children. One of every four Ohio children has been diagnosed with asthma; one of every eight Ohio children experience what is known as "the flu"; one of every thirty Ohio children have what is known as "wood cough"; one of every twenty Ohio children have what is called "bronchitis" and what is also known as "yeast infections". All these illnesses and diseases in children are a stark reminder of how important it is to pay attention to health and nutrition when you are feeding your family. The better nourished we are, the better our children will perform in school and in society. By helping to ensure that your child gets the proper nutrition, you will give him the best opportunity to succeed.