About Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland is one of the largest cities in the United States and the state of Ohio’s second most populous city after Columbus. With an abundance of history, art, professional sports teams, a varied food scene and a mixture of ethnic cultures, the city includes an array of opportunities for both residents and visitors to explore.

Located on the southern shore of Lake Erie and around 60 miles west of the Pennsylvania, the city is the county seat of Cuyahoga County. Cleveland is the home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, three professional sports franchises and the 2016 Republican National Convention. The city also has numerous museums and historical landmarks identifying its history as an industrial manufacturing hub during the early 20th century.

At a Glance

Residents of the city are called “Clevelanders” and the city has multiple nicknames, with “The Forest City” and “The Mistake on the Lake” as the most common. Cleveland has experienced multiple economic and cultural identity shifts during its long history, which spans more than 200 years.

History of Cleveland

Cleveland was founded July 22, 1796, and originally named after General Moses Cleaveland, who led the Connecticut Land Company during the layout of the Connecticut Western Reserve into townships. Cleaveland was incorporated as a village on December 23, 1814. The area experienced rapid growth in the mid-1800s after the completion of the Ohio and Erie Canal, which linked the city to major metropolitan areas in the northeast and the Atlantic Ocean. Before Cleveland incorporated as a city in 1836, The Cleveland Advertiser, an early city newspaper, changed the name from “Cleaveland” to “Cleveland” in 1831 in order to fit the name on the newspaper’s masthead.

Cleveland’s position near the Great Lakes set it up as a prime commercial location. The city benefited from the booming railroad, oil, steel and automotive industries in the 19th and early 20th centuries. However, restructuring for the oil and steel industries resulted in widespread job loss and a significant economic decline for Cleveland through the 1970s and 1980s. In 1978, Cleveland became the first U.S. city since the Great Depression to enter into a financial default on federal loans. Unemployment during January 1983 in the city was 13.8 percent, higher than the national average at the time of 9.6 percent.

In the 1990s, the city experienced an economic recovery due to commercial and residential redevelopment, particularly around the downtown area. In the early 21st century, local media penned Cleveland as “The Comeback City.” A focus on arts and the increase in millennials within and around downtown – along with the rise of the medical and financial industries – helped Cleveland become an example of a revitalized post-industrial city.

Cleveland Climate

The city experiences a typical continental climate with four seasons. Summers are hot to humid while winters are cold and snowy. The average high is 59.6 degrees fahrenheit while the average low is 43.1 degrees. The all-time record high for temperature in Cleveland is 104 degrees. The all-time low is negative 20 degrees. On average, July is the warmest month with an average temperature of around 83 degrees. January’s average of 22 degrees makes it the coldest month for the city.

Normal yearly precipitation based on the 30-year evidence from 1981 to 2010 is 39.1 inches and average annual snowfall is 68 inches. The city’s proximity to Lake Erie creates a wide gap in weather for different parts of the city. This is caused by “lake-effect snow,” a weather phenomenon created when cold, dry air intakes moisture and heat due to passing over a warmer lake. While the western area has only reached 100 inches of snowfall in a season three times, it is not uncommon for seasonal totals to exceed 100 inches of snow on the eastern side of the city, which is closest to the lake. This area is the edge of the “Snow Belt,” which spans East Cleveland to as far northeast as Buffalo, New York.

Cleveland Population and Demographics

Cleveland’s population has been decreasing since 1950, when census data reported a population of 914,808. The 2010 census report shows a 17 percent drop from the 2000 census numbers of 478,403. The drop could continue with the 2020 census, as the estimated population in 2016 was 385,809. Despite the drop in city-wide population, the downtown area is thriving. Forbes ranked Cleveland as one of the top 15 emerging downtown cities in the country.

According to the 2010 census data, 53.3 percent of the population is African American. White residents made up 37.8 percent, and Hispanic or Latino residents were 10 percent of the population. In the gender breakdown, females comprised of 52 percent. The median age of residents in the city in 2010 was 35.7, and 26.3 percent of residents were between ages 45 and 64. Around 26 percent of the population was between ages 25 and 44, and 24.6 percent of residents were under the age of 18.

What to Do in Cleveland

The city’s diverse cultural influences have created a unique food scene. Popular mainstays include Polish and Central European cuisine, and the city is known for corned beef restaurants.

The city is filled with attractions, from museums and science centers to a World War II submarine and movie-set relics. Some of the most popular attractions include:

  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
  • Cleveland Botanical Garden
  • “A Christmas Story” movie house
  • West Side Market
  • Terminal Tower
  • Cleveland Museum of Art
  • Cleveland History Center
  • Cleveland Museum of Natural History
  • Greater Cleveland Aquarium
  • James A. Garfield Monument
  • Cleveland Metropark Zoo
  • Great Lakes Science Center
  • Steamship Mather Museum
  • Western Reserve Historical Society
  • USS Cod, a World War II submarine

Sports Teams in Cleveland

The city also has three professional sports teams: the Cleveland Browns (football); the Cleveland Cavaliers (basketball); and the Cleveland Indians (baseball). Local sports venues include Progressive Field (home of the Indians), FirstEnergy Stadium (home of the Browns), Quicken Loans Arena (home of the Cavaliers) and the Wolstein Center (home of numerous Cleveland State University athletics teams). Cleveland was once considered the “City of Champions” in the 1940s and 1950s due to the success of the Indians and Browns. However, the city went through a drought of professional sports championships from the Browns’ last win in 1964 until 2017, when the Cavaliers won their first NBA championship.

Government, Crime and Education in Cleveland

Government

Cleveland is known as one of the more dangerous cities in the United States. Cleveland was ranked fifth on the list of deadliest cities in the U.S. in 2017, when the city had 130 homicides. This is a decrease from 2016, which was the deadliest year for the city in more than a decade. There were 168 homicides and more than 500 people died from opioid overdose.

Cleveland has a crime rate of 70 per 1,000 residents, one of the highest in the country. A person’s chance of being a victim of property crime or violent crime in Cleveland is 1 in 14. Neighborhoods on the western, southern and northeastern parts of the city are considered the safest areas to live in the Cleveland metropolitan area. The more dangerous areas are close to downtown and southeast of the city’s hub.

Crime

Cleveland is known as one of the more dangerous cities in the United States. Cleveland was ranked fifth on the list of deadliest cities in the U.S. in 2017, when the city had 130 homicides. This is a decrease from 2016, which was the deadliest year for the city in more than a decade. There were 168 homicides and more than 500 people died from opioid overdose.

Cleveland has a crime rate of 70 per 1,000 residents, one of the highest in the country. A person’s chance of being a victim of property crime or violent crime in Cleveland is 1 in 14. Neighborhoods on the western, southern and northeastern parts of the city are considered the safest areas to live in the Cleveland metropolitan area. The more dangerous areas are close to downtown and southeast of the city’s hub. You also can find information on Cleveland’s drug and alcohol rehab statistics.

Education

The Cleveland Metropolitan School District, the second-largest local educational system in Ohio, includes 105 schools and 38,949 students. Cleveland includes numerous colleges. One of the most well-known is the Case Western Reserve University, a private research and teaching institution with several graduate and doctorate programs. U.S. News and World Report listed it 37th in the country in its 2008 colleges and universities rankings. The school is located in University Circle, which also includes the Cleveland Institute of Art and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Cleveland State University, the city’s public four-year college, and Cuyahoga Community College are based in downtown. Ohio Technical College also is in Cleveland.

After an economic recession in the late-20th century, Cleveland has experienced a significant rebound entering the new millenium. The city’s unemployment rate has been dropping in sync with the growing national economy. However, the city is battling an increase in criminal activity, including homicides, and is known as one of the more dangerous cities in the country. Despite high crime rates, Cleveland is flourishing into one of the most desirable cities in the region. On the heels of the city’s early 20th-century revitalization and national attention received for sports success and political imprint, Forbes called Cleveland the “hottest city” in the country at the end of 2016.