Millions of people in Illinois experience poverty or are living on the brink. That societal position keeps opportunities out of their reach and nearly guarantees worse outcomes in every quality of life domain – making ALL of us worse off.
- Almost one-third of Illinoisans are poor or low income.
- Poverty remains higher than pre-recession 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.
- Children, women, and people of color have the highest poverty rates.
- 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.
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. These persistent disparities by gender and race demand that we dismantle policies that perpetuate them.
In addition to the Illinois Poverty Update, Heartland Alliance also released state legislative district poverty fact sheets.
Watch for an in-depth exploration later this year of the forces that contribute to gender-based poverty disparities. Sign up for our mailing list.
Poverty in Illinois
Scale of Illinois poverty, 2016 1
Illinois Poverty Over Time 2
Federal Poverty Thresholds, 2016 3
Populations in Poverty
Percent of Illinoisans in Poverty
Illinois Poverty by Race,
Percent of Illinoisans in Poverty by Race, Ethnicity, and Gender, 2016 6
Chicago Region Poverty by County, 2016 7
Share of Region’s Poor in Suburbs, 2000 and 2016 8
2016 County Map
1 Author’s analysis of data from U. S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 1-year estimates program, 2016. 2 Author’s analysis of data from U.S. Census Bureau’s 1960 Decennial Census, 1970 Decennial Census, 1980 Decennial Census, 1990 Decennial Census, 2000 Decennial Census, and American Community Survey 1-year estimates program, 2016. 3 Author’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau’s Poverty Thresholds; available here. 4 Author’s analysis of data from U. S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 1-year estimates program, 2016. 5 Ibid. 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid. 8 Ibid.