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Press Release: ILLINOIS'S 33%: ONE IN THREE ILLINOISANS LIVE IN OR NEAR POVERTY

Press Release: ILLINOIS'S 33%: ONE IN THREE ILLINOISANS LIVE IN OR NEAR POVERTY

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Press Release: ILLINOIS'S 33%: ONE IN THREE ILLINOISANS LIVE IN OR NEAR POVERTY
Press Release: ILLINOIS'S 33%: ONE IN THREE ILLINOISANS LIVE IN OR NEAR POVERTY

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11/05/2013

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CONTACT:
Allyson Stewart
CONTACT:
Chris Lackner Email: alstewart@heartlandalliance.org Email:
chris@lacknerandrews.com Phone: 312.870.4940 Phone: 773.991.1908
ILLINOIS’S 33%:
ONE IN THREE ILLINOISANS LIVE INOR NEAR POVERTY
New report shows pervasiveness of poverty, explains its causes, and draws pathways out 
CHICAGO -
One in three Illinoisans live in or near poverty, according to a new report released today bythe Chicago-based Social IMPACT Research Center (IMPACT), a program of Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights.
 explores key questions about poverty: Why does it exist? Whois at risk? Which communities are most affected? And, what are some solutions?The answers point to a crisis that impacts every community in Illinois. This crisis has gotten worse sincethe recession ended and has been deepened by recent budget cuts that jeopardize the very programsand policies that help reduce poverty and hardship.
“One
third of Illinois residents are in poverty or near it. Over one in five of our children are poor. And thesituation has only gotten worse in recent years, with poverty among all ages rising from 11.9 percent in2007 to 15.0 percent
most recently,”
said Amy Rynell, senior director, Social IMPACT Research Center,and one of the
report’s
authors.
This report provides reliable information about the scope and scale of poverty in Illinois so that our state and local leaders, concerned citizens, funders, businesses,communities of faith, and community-based organizations have a better sense of how to approach endingpoverty at a critical point in history
.”
 The report also profiles several people living in and near poverty.Carolyn Schutz, a single senior woman with a college degree,
is one of Illinois’
s 33 percent. Living in theChicago suburb of Wheaton, Carolyn used to work as a bookkeeper and business manager for nonprofits. Then she lost her full-time job, and now she can only find part-time work.
“At $8.25 an hour, which is the minimum wage in Illinois, I’m only gros
sing $99 every week,
” said
Ms.Schutz
. “People that I would ordinarily meet would be surprised to find out how much I’m struggling. Evena $1 cup of coffee at McDonald’s isn’t possible for me, […] to me that’s like $100.”
Rodney Dawkins lives in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago. After years of struggling on the streets,the start of 
Rodney’s transition out of 
poverty came in the form of a housing voucher 
a federal subsidyprogram for assisting people with very low incomes, seniors, and people with disabilities to afford safeand sanitary housing in the private market.
It
gives you stability, it helps you prepare yourself if you’re going out for interviews, you don’t have toworry about getting any sleep, or getting your clothes ready, you don’t
have to worry about sleeping onthe train all night and then
not being able to freshen yourself up.”
Mr. Dawkins said
. “If it was not for mysubsidy, I would be probably sleeping under Wacker Drive.”
You can read the entire report and listen to the witnesses to poverty, including Ms. Schutz, Mr. Dawkins,and others, at www.ilpovertyreport.org. 
 
IMPACT analyzed the most recent indicators from the U.S. Census Bureau and other key sources tocreate the report, which
provides a primer on the “
who, where, why, and what
of poverty in Illinois.
Who is poor in Illinois?
Nearly 1.9 million Illinoisans (15.0 percent) live in poverty. A family of four is poor if its annual income isbelow $23,021.Of the 1.9 million Illinoisans experiencing poverty:
55 percent are female
35 percent are children
46 percent are minorities
84 percent are native born
14 percent have a disability
46 percent are in extreme poverty, with incomes below 50 percent of the poverty level Another 2.2 million Illinoisans (17.9 percent) are living close enough to the poverty line (with incomesbetween 100 and 199 percent of the poverty level) that they could easily fall below it at any time.Together these two groups of Illinoisans comprise
Illinois’s 33
percent.
Where do they live?
Poverty is not restricted by geography. Large cities, suburbs, and small rural areas across Illinois areaffected:
Twenty-eight
of Illinois’s 102
counties have poverty rates between 15 and 20 percent.
Nine counties have poverty rates over 20 percent.
In Chicago, 9 out of 77 neighborhoods have poverty rates of 35 percent or greater.
Even in the six suburban counties around Chicago, generally thought to be more affluent, atleast 20 percent of residents are poor or near it.To accompany the report, IMPACT established a County Well-Being Index that tracks and scores each
Illinois county’s
change in poverty, unemployment, teen births, and high school graduations. This year, 39out of 102 counties are on either the Poverty Watch or Poverty Warning Lists. You can find out if your county is on the list and access other county-level data at www.ilpovertyreport.org. 
Why does poverty exist?
Economic forces, such as unemployment, declining wage levels, and growing inequality, have a directimpact on poverty. When combined with other hardships like inadequate education, high rent burden,poor health, and lack of access to financial asset-building opportunities, these economic forces create aclimate ripe for poverty growth. For example:
Every one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate causes a 0.5 percentagepoint increase in the poverty rate. Conversely, a 10 percent increase in median wage lowersthe poverty rate by 1.5 percentage points.
The more education a person has, the more likely he or she will avoid economic hardship.Yet the value of a high school education has eroded: workers with a high school diploma areearning 7 percent less now than they did 40 years ago (when adjusted for inflation), andworkers without a high school diploma are earning 21 percent less now they did 40 yearsago.
In Illinois, there are only 59 available affordable rental units for every 100 low-income renter households.
Medical problems caused 62 percent of all personal bankruptcies filed in the United States in2007; three quarters of those filers had medical insurance at the start of their illnesses.
One in four Illinois households does not have enough money saved to protect it from asudden drop in income.

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