Poverty Update Finds Millions Of Illinoisans Live In Or Near Poverty, With Women Disparately Impacted

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Heartland Alliance's 2018 Illinois Poverty Update has been released and our findings indicate that millions of people in Illinois are experiencing poverty or are on the cusp. Rooted in inequity, poverty prevents people from meeting basic needs, improving their quality of life, and creates barriers to opportunities including quality education, stable employment, affordable housing and safe neighborhoods.

“A strong anti-poverty strategy is threefold: ensures people can meet their basic needs, moves people out of poverty by expanding opportunities, and keeps people out of poverty through equitable policies." Sam Tuttle, Heartland Alliance’s Director of Policy.

Heartland Alliance's 2018 Illinois Poverty Update has been released and our findings indicate that millions of people in Illinois are experiencing poverty or are on the cusp. Rooted in inequity, poverty prevents people from meeting basic needs, improving their quality of life, and creates barriers to opportunities including quality education, stable employment, affordable housing and safe neighborhoods.

The update sheds light on who is most likely to experience poverty in Illinois: Women, people of color, and children have the highest poverty rates.
“It’s clear that discriminatory practices, policies, and social structures contribute to highly disparate poverty rates for women—especially when they are members of other historically oppressed groups, such as people of color, trans people, and people with disabilities,” says Katie Buitrago, Director of Research at Heartland Alliance. “We must dismantle policies that perpetuate gender and race poverty disparities.”

The poverty update also found that:

  •     Almost one-third of Illinoisans are poor or low income.
  •     Women’s poverty rates are over 20 percent higher than men’s.
  •     Certain gender and racial groups are much more likely to experience poverty than others: black women experience poverty at a rate 3.5 times higher than white men, while black men’s poverty rate is 3.2 times higher and Latina women’s is 2.5 times higher than white men.
  •     Poverty remains higher than prerecession levels, which means that Illinois is doing worse than the national average at recovering from recession-era losses.
  •     Poverty continues to grow in the Chicago suburbs, as it has over the past few decades.

In addition to the Illinois Poverty Update, Heartland Alliance also released state legislative district poverty fact sheets. These releases are the first of a series Heartland Alliance is publishing on poverty in Illinois this year. Local- and county-level data books will be published this summer, and an in-depth exploration of the forces that contribute to gender-based poverty inequity will be released in the fall.

For more information and to view the fact sheet, see the full release (attached).

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Amber (Cason) Crossen
Heartland Alliance Research & Policy
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