Youngstown, Ohio

Youngstown is a city located in Mahoning and Trumbull counties in Ohio, on the Mahoning River, 67 miles southeast of Cleveland, Ohio.

As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 82,026, but this had declined to just over 79,000 in 2003. The Youngstown-Warren Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), however, contains roughly 600,000 people. Youngstown is the county seat of Mahoning CountyTemplate:GR.



Location of Youngstown, Ohio

Youngstown is located at 41°5'47" North, 80°38'57" West (41.096258, -80.649299)Template:GR. It borders or touches the following other townships and municipalities:

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 88.7 km² (34.2 mi²). 87.8 km² (33.9 mi²) of it is land and 0.9 km² (0.3 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.02% water.


The historic population of Youngstown progressed thus: 8,075 in 1870; 44,885 in 1900; 168,330 in 1950. Census figures of 2003 state that population was at just over 79,200 people. The 2000 Census numbers 32,177 households, and 19,724 families in the city. The population density is 893/km² (2,316/mi²). There are 37,159 housing units at an average density of 423.2/km² (1,096.3/mi²).

The racial makeup of the city is roughly 51% White, 44% Black or African American, and 5% Hispanic or Latino of any race, though Puerto Ricans are the dominant Spanish speaking group.

There are 32,177 households out of which 27.2% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 33.2% are married couples living together, 22.9% have a female householder with no husband present, and 38.7% are non-families. 34.0% of all households are made up of individuals and 14.7% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.39 and the average family size is 3.07.

In Youngstown, the population leans toward greater numbers of youth, as is often the case in inner cities in the U.S. with higher birthrates. Here, 25.8% under the age of 18, 10.1% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 36 years. For every 100 females there are 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 87.8 males.

The median household income is $24,201, and the median family income is $30,701, but the per capita income for the city is $13,293. Males have a median income of $29,900 versus $21,050 for females. Roughly twenty-five percent of the population is below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 37.3% of those under the age of 18 and 13.3% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.


Youngstown was named for John Young, who first landed in the area in 1796 and settled there soon after. On April 9, 1800, he puchased the entire township, 15,560 acres (63 km²), from the Connecticut Land Company for $16,085. He platted the town in that year, which was recorded on August 19, 1802 with the date and name of "Youngstown, 1797".

The area was part of the Connecticut Western Reserve, and most early European-American settlers came from that state. Within a year "Youngstown" was settled by 10 families near where Mill Creek meets the Mahoning River, and the village of Youngstown was incorporated in 1848.

Youngstown was on the Pennsylvania and Ohio Canal, completed in 1839. The railroad came to Youngstown in 1853.

Youngstown, 1910s: Central Square and Viaduct, looking south.
Youngstown, 1910s: Central Square and Viaduct, looking south.

Youngstown was reincorporated as a city in 1867, and the county seat was moved there from Canfield in 1876.


Locally endowed with coal and iron, the first blast furnace was built to the east of town in 1803. Youngstown soon developed a thriving steel industry. From the 1920s through the 1960s, the city became an important industrial hub with large furnaces and foundries of such companies as Republic Steel and U.S. Steel. It was headquarters for the huge Youngstown Sheet and Tube Company, one of the most important industrial metal producers in the country. Unfortunately, the city was not as diversified as bigger cities like Pittsburgh or Cleveland, so when economic changes forced the closure of plants through the 1970s there was not much to fall back on.

Today there is still some steel and metalworking, but not like days of yore. The largest employer in the city now is Youngstown State University, an urban public campus with about 13,000 students. The largest employer in the metro area is General Motors' Lordstown auto assembly plant.

The decline of Youngstown's industry and the resulting effects on its workers was depicted in Bruce Springsteen's song "Youngstown" from his The Ghost of Tom Joad album; he made a point of performing in Youngstown on his subsequent tour.


Probably because of regional economic decline, Youngstown has a rather negative self-image, despite some real jewels. Besides the well-landscaped University, the city has Powers Auditorium, a beautifully decorated music hall and home of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra. Also near campus is the Butler Institute of American Art, one of the best displays of American art in the country, and the attractive Museum of Industry and Labor – a jewel not visited often enough by the public. In addition, the downtown has an amazing array of well preserved churches.

Youngstown's best kept secret is probably Mill Creek Park, a narrow five-mile-long park (reminiscent of a smaller Rock Creek Park for those familiar with Washington, D.C.). With the restored Lanterman's Mill, Bear's Den rock formations, nature trails, Fellow's Riverside Gardens and Nature Center, and the "Cinderella" iron link bridge, Mill Creek Park is an attraction not to be missed. There is no sense of "good part of town" or "bad part of town" when travelling anywhere in this bucolic setting, though impoverished neighborhoods may only be a quarter of a mile away. From opposite overlooks in the garden one sees an amazing contrast: from the south side, a forested view over Lake Glacier; from the north side, downtown Youngstown.

Problems—yet hope

The cityscape of Youngstown itself is rather a marvel for its lack of new tall buildings. From some angles it looks frozen at about 1940. Except for the university, the downtown proper is fairly quiet with mainly government services and banks. There is not one new car dealer operating any longer within the city limits; for most shopping one must go to the suburbs of Boardman, Niles, Austintown, or Liberty.

Many think, however, that the city has already reached rock bottom and is on the rebound. A new state office complex has been completed as well as a new federal courthouse. A new convention center and sports complex is being built on a site next to the Mahoning River (it will open in the fall of 2005).

As of 2005, Federal Street (formerly Federal Plaza) in downtown has been opened to through traffic. In addition, several new government buildings are being built downtown, and many city school buildings are either being rebuilt or revamped. The city has hopes of a downtown renaissance.

Construction began on 60-home upscale development called Baily Center in 2004, and a grant from the U.S. Dept. of HUD allowed for the demolition of Westlake Terrace, a public housing project that was one of the most dilapidated and crime-ridden areas of the city (it is being replaced with a mixture of senior housing, townhouses and for-sale homes). Low real estate prices have caused several downtown buildings to be restored and converted into specialty shops, restaurants, and eventually condminiums, and a nonprofit organization called Wick Neighbors is planning a $250 million New Urbanist revitalization of Smoky Hollow, a neighborhood that borders both downtown and the YSU campus.

In the 1950s there were so many Mafia-related attacks in Youngstown that the city earned the nickname "Bombtown". Today, the city has successfully ferreted out the Mob influences that had plagued its government for years; the climax of this effort was the arrest, trial, and conviction of former Congressman James A. Traficant Jr.

Also providing a glimmer of the hope is the Youngstown Business Incubator, a downtown nonprofit organization where fledgling technology-based companies can grow. The incubator currently has about 16 business tenants and will soon begin construction on a multi-million dollar technology center where some of its largest firms will relocate. This effort is expected to retain hundreds of good-paying jobs and eventually create hundreds more.

The City of Youngstown, in partnership with the University, has created an ambitious urban renewal plan called Youngstown 2010, which aims to bring new industrial, commercial, and residential development to the city while maintaining neighborhood aesthetics and allowing for great deals of green space.


Arlington, Belle Vista, Brier Hill, Brownlee Woods, Buckeye Plat, Cornersburg, Cottage Grove, Downtown, East High, East Side, Erie, Flint Hill, Hazelton, Idora, Kirkmere, Landsdowne, Lansingville, Lincoln Knolls, Lower Gibson, Mahoning Commons, McGuffey Heights, Newport, North Heights, Oak Hill, Pleasant Grove, Riverbend, Salt Springs, Schenley, Smoky Hollow, Steelton, Warren, Wick Park.

External links

  • Mahoning County ( in Historical Collections of Ohio by Henry Howe, Vol. II, 1888 pp 175+
  • History of Youngstown ( from Youngstown & Mahoning County Visitors Bureau


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