FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 22, 2011 CONTACT: Amy Rynell

Social IMPACT Research Center at Heartland Alliance Phone: 312.870.4943

The Recession’s Toll: Significant Poverty Growth and Income Declines throughout Chicago Region and the Midwest
Immediate, Expert Analysis Available
The U.S. Census Bureau released new local information on income, poverty rates, and health insurance coverage from the American Community Survey on Thursday, September 22. Thursday, September 22 and Friday, September 23 experts on poverty issues from the Social IMPACT Research Center will be available to provide analysis of the new data and discuss their context and implications. IMPACT is also summarizing the new information in customized fact sheets based on local data for all Illinois counties and places with populations over 65,000 and Midwest states, including a 2010 snapshot and trend over time analysis. These fact sheets will be available on request and will also be made available throughout the day on Thursday, September 22 and Friday, September 23 at While the recession technically ended in 2009, these new data show declining incomes, stubbornly high unemployment, and record numbers experiencing poverty persists across Michigan and throughout the Midwest, leading to increasing hardship and need in local communities. The number of people experiencing poverty in the Chicago Region has increased by 60,141 people from 1999 to 2010. It is clear that economic troubles are far from over for working individuals and families throughout the Midwest, with data highlighting further the human consequences of the recession. Some notable findings from today’s release include: • • • 1,114,530 people living in the Chicago Region experienced poverty in 2010, a rate of 13.6%, up from 12.6% in 2009 and 10.6% in 1999. From 1999 to 2010 household median incomes dropped dramatically across the region, with the largest decline happening in Lake County ($16,362) and the smallest in Chicago ($5,766) Overall 14.6% of Midwesterners are living in poverty. The number of people in poverty in the Midwest dramatically grew by 3,127,842 people from 1999 to 2010.


Poverty in the Chicago Region Cook County Cook no Chicago DuPage County Kane County Lake County McHenry County Will County 6 county region Chicago only Suburban counties only

2010 Number 2010 Rate 856,360 16.7% 259,385 10.5% 59,730 6.6% 56,707 11.1% 60,440 8.7% 23,649 7.7% 57,644 8.6% 1,114,530 596,975 517,555 13.6% 22.5% 9.3%

Percent Change Percent from 2009 Change from to 2010 1999 to 2010 0.8 3.2 1.2* 4.1 0.1* 3.0 1.8* 4.4 1.5* 3.0 0.7* 4.0 1.7 3.7 1.0 0.9* 1.2 3.0 2.9 3.7

* means change not statistically significant

Chicago Region Median Household Income Cook County DuPage County Kane County Lake County McHenry County Will County Chicago

2010 Change Amount from 2009 $51,466 -$1,940 $72,471 -2263* $65,712 -1991* $74,705 -2931* $68,867 -$6,861 $71,016 -2362* $44,776 -$1,713

Change from 1999 -$8,625 -$16,362 -$11,951 -$12,932 -$15,960 -$10,425 -$5,766

* means change not statistically significant

On the verge of a double-dip recession, the effects of the Great Recession on unemployment, poverty, and income generation are still being felt by millions of individuals and families, and the eroding safety net means that while there are more people in need, there are fewer resources to help them. Preserving, extending, and strengthening these solutions can help keep more people from falling into poverty and help those struggling to meet their basic needs: • Fund safety net and benefit programs such as SNAP (food stamps), TANF, Medicaid, and the Earned Income Tax Credit, which help poor and near-poor individuals and families bridge the gap between low incomes and meeting their most basic needs. These programs not only help reduce poverty, but also generate additional economic activity in local communities. • Continue Unemployment Insurance for those seeking employment, which will help protect people who are out of work and keep families out of poverty. • Invest in subsidized and transitional employment programs to help disadvantaged workers and struggling businesses weather the stalled economy and create jobs that will put people back to work and that pay living wages.


The Social Impact Research Center (IMPACT), the research arm of Heartland Alliance, provides dynamic research and analysis on today’s most pressing social issues and solutions to inform and equip those working toward a just global society. Heartland Alliance for Human Needs & Human Rights helps people who are threatened the most by poverty or danger improve their lives and realize their human rights. For more than 100 years we have been providing solutions—both through services and advocacy— creating paths from crisis to stability and on to success. Our work in housing, health care, legal protections, and economic security supports more than 200,000 people annually, helping them build a better future. For more information: 312.870.4949 | |

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