May 15, 2007
ATHENS COUNTY, OHIO
-Location: Athens County is located in southeast Ohio in a region known as Appalachia. About an hour and a half's drive from Columbus, the city of Athens is the county's largest city.
-Population: The 2005 population estimate for the county is 62,062. About one-third of the county's population is students from Ohio University, a public institution located in Athens. The presence of OU students along with the students of nearby Hocking College in Nelsonville tend to skew the median age of the county towards the younger side of the spectrum at 25.7 years old. (The state's median age is about 36).
-Economic Climate:The poverty rates in Appalachia tend to be higher than other regions; Athens County is recognized as the poorest county in the state with an individual poverty rate of 27.4 percent. One major difference between Athens and surrounding counties, however, is that the unemployment rate in Athens is only slightly higher than the state average. Most manufacturing jobs have left the area, leaving only service industry and some government jobs available for residents. Despite being employed, many residents of the county are unable to rise above the federal poverty rate. Nearly half of our population is considered "working poor" or living in poverty. Athens County's median household income is $27,322. The state median is $40,956.
-Public Assistance:The Athens County Department of Job and Family Services provided more than $96 million in services last year, ranging from child support enforcement to gas vouchers to GED test preparation. See our annual report for more detailed descriptions of our services.