2009 Report on Illinois Poverty

Publication Date: April 2009

Publisher: Heartland Alliance Mid-America Institute on Poverty

Author(s): Amy Rynell; Amy Terpstra

Research Area: Human rights; Social conditions

Keywords: Homelessness; Poverty

Type: Report

Coverage: Illinois


As many as 405,000 more Illinoisans--132,000 of them children--are likely to have been pushed into poverty as a result of the recession, according to the Heartland Alliance Mid-America Institute on Poverty's 2009 Report on Illinois Poverty. The projected increase would represent a 27 percent jump in the number of people living in poverty in the state over the past two years.

In this 9th annual comprehensive analysis of poverty indicators in Illinois, the report explains that unemployment and poverty are correlated; rising unemployment precipitates an increase in poverty. With the Illinois unemployment rate already over 9 percent, the ripple effect on Illinoisans will be severe.

Nearly 1.5 million Illinoisans, almost 12 percent of the state's population, were in poverty in 2007, before the recession began-- the most recent year for which poverty data are available. More than 667,000 Illinoisans lived in extreme poverty in that year on an annual income of less than half of the poverty line (less than $11,000 for a family of four). An additional 16.2 percent-- more than 2 million residents--were on shaky financial ground with incomes between the poverty line and twice the poverty line.

Signs of increasing poverty are seen throughout the state. The report found that poverty worsened in many areas of the state even before the recent economic crisis, increasing in 58 of Illinois' 102 counties.