Report: 1 in 3 Illinoisans lives in or near poverty level
Updated: January 16, 2013 9:34AM
A staggering one out of three Illinoisans today lives in or near poverty — the peak of a continued climb over three decades, a new study finds.
It means one in five Illinois children are living in poverty, according to the study released Wednesday by the Social IMPACT Research Center of Chicago’s Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights.
The forces behind this rising poverty in a post-recession economy go beyond unemployment, according to the study, which traces it also to an inadequate living wage and lack of access to education, housing, health care and assets.
“Illinois’ 33%: Report on Illinois Poverty,” is based on 2011 U.S. Census Bureau data. It declares a crisis sparing no community in Illinois, and only worsening under budget cuts to government programs and policies that alleviate poverty.
The 33 percent figure is up from 25 percent of Illinoisans who lived in or near poverty in 2000. In 1990, it was 27 percent; in 1980, 26 percent.
“We wanted to get a handle on how people are recovering post-recession and to understand how things like our state’s budget crisis are filtering down into communities,” said report author Amy Rynell, director of the research center.
“What we learned was extraordinarily disturbing.”
The study found that almost half of Chicago’s population is living in or near poverty.
In suburban Cook and Kane counties, it’s nearly a third; in DuPage, McHenry and Will counties, one out of five people, and in Lake County, one out of four.