Poverty rates climb throughout most of Illinois

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau show poverty rates climbed from 2000 to the 2005-2009 timeframe.

December 15, 2010

By Ashley Gross

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Almost all counties in Illinois have seen increasing poverty rates in recent years, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The latest numbers group together data for a five-year period from 2005 to 2009. Comparing that information with the year 2000 census, almost every single county in Illinois saw more people slip into poverty.

Evelyn Brodkin is a political scientist at the University of Chicago who studies poverty issues. She said in the Chicago area, the biggest jumps in the poverty rate took place in more well-off areas like DuPage and Kane counties.  

"The recession has lowered all boats and it’s now spreading economic hardship to areas of the state that previously seen much less," Brodkin said.
In the Chicago metro area, Cook County had the highest poverty rate with about 15 percent. That’s still a lot less than downstate Jackson county, where almost one in three people lives below the poverty line.