2009 Report on Chicago Region 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: Poverty, Homelessness

Type: Report

Coverage: Illinois


As many as 253,000 more Chicago area residents-- 87,000 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 Chicago Region Poverty. The projected increase would represent a 27 percent jump in the number of people living in poverty in the region over the past two years.

The report explains that unemployment and poverty are correlated; rising unemployment precipitates an increase in poverty. With the region's unemployment rate already near or over 9 percent, the ripple effect will be severe.

Over 936,000 Chicago area residents, 11.3 percent of the region's population, were in poverty in 2007, before the recession began-- the most recent year for which poverty data are available. More than 416,000 Chicago area residents 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 15.4 percent--nearly 1.3 million residents--were on shaky financial ground with incomes between the poverty line and twice the poverty line.