Report: More Illinoisans Live in Poverty

For the first time in two decades, poverty in Illinois is on the rise.
Chris Slaby reports.

Nearly two million Illinoisans now live in poverty… while another two million are considered “low-income.”

That means with a population of 12 million, a third of the state is considered poor.

Jennifer Clary is with the Social Impact Research Center, the organization that compiled the report (PDF).

CLARY: “Poverty is really not restricted by geography. It’s something that exists in large cities, it’s in suburbs, it’s in small rural areas.”

In Chicago and the suburbs, the report says fewer than than one in five people live in poverty.
Rates go up as you travel Downstate.

In central Illinois, nearly a quarter of Champaign County is below the poverty line. That number jumps to a third in Jackson County, where Carbondale is located.
That’s the highest in the state.

Clary said there are ways Illinois can try to address the problem.

CLARY: “There are investments at a personal level that certainly help to provide insulation against poverty. Education we know is key.”

According to the report, good jobs are particularly hard to come by for workers without high school diplomas; they make 21 percent less now than they would have in the 1970s.

— Chris Slaby

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