Friday, February 12, 2010

Illinois Kids Count Report

The Voices for Illinois Children has issued a Kids Count Report for the state of Illinois. Overall the 17 percent of the state's children live in poverty, and this stat reflects factors from 2008. The authors of the report fear that the poverty level will increase for 2009.

From the News Democrat, writer Jennifer Bowen breaks down the reports numbers. More coverage of the report concentrating on other Illinois locations can be read at Champaign's News Gazette and the Chicago Sun Times.

According to the report, children are one-fourth of Illinois residents but they are more than one-third of the state's poverty population. Illinois' child poverty rate hit 17 percent in 2008, and a sharp increase is expected in data for 2009.

From 2007-08, child poverty rates were 25 percent in St. Clair County and 51 percent in East St. Louis. In Madison County, the child poverty rate was 16.6 percent.

Between September 2008 and September 2009, the number of Illinois families depending on food stamps increased 17 percent to 1.5 million. In June 2009, 1.5 million Illinois residents -- about half of them children -- participated in the federal Food Stamp program, up 22 percent from two years earlier.

In June 2009, 31 percent of children in St. Clair County received food stamps, compared with 22 percent statewide. In Madison County, 23 percent of children were receiving food stamps in June, compared with 16 percent between 2007 and 2009.

In Illinois, 38.5 percent of African-American children live in poverty -- a rate that is even higher than the nationwide average of 34.1 percent. In Illinois, 8.6 percent of white children live in poverty while nationwide 10.8 percent are living in poverty.

Illinois Kids Count is a project of Voices for Illinois Children and is part of a nationwide network of state-level projects supported by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. It monitors the educational, social and emotional, economic and physical well-being of Illinois children.

Since September 2008, the unemployment rate in Illinois has been consistently higher than the unemployment rate nationwide. Median family income, adjusted for inflation, declined by 5 percent in St. Clair County, 3 percent in Madison County and 14 percent in East St. Louis, compared with 4 percent statewide.

In Madison County, the unemployment rate in 2008 was 5.1 percent and rose to 9.3 percent in 2009. In St. Clair County, the unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in 2008 and rose to a high of 10.6 percent in 2009.

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