A new report from the Social Impact Research Center, “Illinois’s 33%,” looks at poverty in Illinois. Here are a few highlights:
1. Something I did not realize: the preamble to the Illinois Constitution mentions “eliminat[ing] poverty” (p.1).
“We, the People of the State of Illinois…in order to provide for the health, safety and welfare of the people; maintain a representative and orderly government; eliminate poverty and inequality; assure legal, social and economic justice; provide opportunity for the fullest development of the individual; ensure domestic tranquility; provide for the common defense; and secure the blessings of freedom and liberty to ourselves and our posterity—do ordain and establish this Constitution for the State of Illinois.”
2. The report is not just about poverty; it is also about people in near-poverty. The income thresholds for this are here (p.5):
This methodology of measuring people with low incomes or near poverty seems to be growing. The Census reports the median household income in Illinois is $56,576.
3. There is definitely some geographic disparity in these figures. Here are the numbers for the Chicago region which clearly shows wealthier and less wealthy counties and Chicago neighborhoods (p.7):
I did not see any calls for metropolitan approaches to poverty. In the Chicago region, it would be difficult to deal with a particular problem, say affordable housing, in just Chicago or a few of its neighborhoods without cooperation and input from others in the region.
4. The report has more figures and possible solutions in five areas that could help people move out of poverty: employment, education, housing, health & nutrition, and assets (p.3-4, 15-17).