Social Impact Research Center
at Heartland Alliance
33 W. Grand Ave., Suite 500 | Chicago, IL 60654
T: 312-870-4949 | F: 312-870-4950
Media Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
An incredible one third of Illinoisans—Illinois’s 33%—are in poverty or on the brink.
- For example, every 1 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate causes a 0.5 percentage point increase in the poverty rate.
- Combined with other hardships like inadequate education, high rent burden, poor health, and lack of access to financial asset building opportunities, these conditions create a climate ripe for poverty growth.
- The share of Illinoisans who are poor or near poor is the highest it’s been in recent memory, up from 25% in 2000, 27% in 1990, and 26% in 1980.
- Poverty alone has risen from 11.9 percent in 2007 to 15.0 percent in 2011.
- Poverty has also been rising over the longer-term (up from 10.7% in 2000), indicating larger shifts towards an economy increasingly reliant on service-based—and therefore lower-wage—jobs.
- The State of Illinois expresses in its Constitution that eliminating poverty is a fundamental goal of the state. The trends highlighted in this report reflect steps backwards and away from reaching that goal.
- Increase the minimum wage (currently $8.25 per hour in Illinois), and expand it to include domestic workers, workers under 18 years old and workers who rely primarily on tips for their wages so that people who work don’t remain mired in poverty.
- Increase access to the state’s 529 college savings program, making college an attainable dream for more Illinois children.
- Return homeless prevention funding to previous levels to help more families remain housed.
- Fully implement the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion and state-based health insurance exchange, and support Illinois’s transition to care coordination programs to help improve health outcomes and maximize cost-effectiveness.
- Expand retirement saving opportunities through an automatic retirement account program to help struggling families build wealth and escape economic insecurity.