Poverty in Illinois

The Social Impact Research Center, a Heartland Alliance Program, recently released its 15th annual report on poverty in Illinois.  The report gives a survey of where Illinois stands compared to other states regarding "key poverty factors."  According to the report: 24 states have a lower poverty rate than Illinois, 34 states have a lower unemployment rate than Illinois, 33 states have a lower rate of households paying over half their income on rent than Illinois, 22 states have a lower uninsured rate among children and working-age adults than Illinois, 21 states have a better on-time high school completion rate than Illinois, 17 states have a lower food insecurity rate than Illinois, and 15 states have a lower asset poverty rate than Illinois. The report also notes that at $721 billion, the Illinois state economy is the fifth largest in the nation.  The report urges Illinois to do better at addressing poverty in order to assure the financial stability of the state.  Poverty factors are often interrelated.  For example, as the study notes, affordable housing “ensures people can hold down jobs, study, and have enough money for other basic necessities.”

Of particular interest to me, in November of 2014, one in every 848 housing units in Illinois was in a stage of foreclosure.  In my opinion, the remarkably high foreclosure rate highlights a major problem area Illinois needs to address.  High rates of foreclosure are a detriment to many areas of the economy.  The state is not receiving tax money, residents are left struggling to find places to live, and banks are not receiving any mortgage payments.  By addressing the foreclosure problem, Illinois will be able to aid numerous sectors of the economy.