Typology of Ohio School Districts

The Ohio Department of Education and Workforce has long received requests for a consistent way to stratify districts for research purposes. In 1996, DEW created classification for different types of similar districts, referred to as the typology of Ohio school districts. In 2007, the typology was revised to take advantage of the 2000 census data. With the availability of more recent data from the 2010 census and an increasing demand for analytic uses, DEW again revised the typology for 2013.

To create this typology, DEW used several data sources to classify like districts together based on shared demographic and geographic characteristics. As a result, the classifications can serve as a basis for a stratified sample of districts in the state. These classifications also allow researchers to focus on a specific type of district, such as major urban districts or rural districts with high poverty. Eight typology categories were created for the 2013 typology (one more than the 2007 typology). These typology classifications are described in the table below. 

School Districts Typology

 Typology Code

 Major Grouping

 Full Descriptor

 Districts Within Typology

 Students Within Typology


 Rural Rural - High Student Poverty & Small Student Population




 Rural Rural - Average Student Poverty & Very Small Student Population




 Small Town Small Town - Low Student Poverty & Small Student Population




 Small Town Small Town - High Student Poverty & Average Student Population Size




 Suburban Suburban - Low Student Poverty & Average Student Population Size




 Suburban Suburban - Very Low Student Poverty & Large Student Population




 Urban Urban - High Student Poverty & Average Student Population




 Urban Urban - Very High Student Poverty & Very Large Student Population



Amended January 2015

How was the School District Typology created?

In 2013 the school district typology was created using a comparable method to the previous typologies created by DEW. In brief, a cluster analysis was run using eleven measures, some of which were combined into composite measures. These measures were chosen because they each provide an insight into the characteristics that might best describe the make-up of a school district population and/or its community. These measures also were chosen because they mirror the data used to compute “Similar Districts.” The measures used for the typology and their data sources are listed below.

 Measure  Data Source
 Average Daily Membership (ADM)  Ohio Department of Education and Workforce (EMIS), school year 2011-2012
 Percentage of students flagged as economically disadvantaged  Ohio Department of Educationand Workforce (EMIS), school year 2011-2012
 Median income of the district  
 Percentage of population with a college degree or more  American Community Survey, 2009
 Percentage of population in administrative/professional occupations  American Community Survey, 2009
 Population density  Census Bureau, 2010
 Percentage of nonagricultural property value  Ohio Department of Taxation, tax year 2011
 Population within the district  Census Bureau, 2010
 Incorporation of a city larger than 55,000 people (dummy variable)  Census Bureau, 2010
 Percentage of African-American, Hispanic, Native-American, Pacific Islander or Multiracial students enrolled in the school district  Ohio Department of Education and Workforce (EMIS), school year 2011-2012
 Per-pupil amount of commercial, industrial, mining, tangible and public utility property value  Ohio Department of Taxation, tax year 2011


The data indicated an eighth typology classification was needed to accommodate the outlying towns and county seats that share many characteristics of urban (percent minority) and rural (location) school districts. A detailed description of the methodology behind the 2013 typology is linked below.

Last Modified: 11/8/2023 10:28:29 AM