Poverty in Illinois

Summary Statistics 1980-1990

  • Between 1980 and 1990 the population of Illinois grew by approximately 3,000 persons; during that time period the population in poverty increased by approximately 96,000 persons.

  • In 1990, 11.6 percent of the population in Illinois lived below the poverty level. Of the population below poverty, 83 percent lived in metropolitan areas.

  • In Cook County, approximately 14 percent of the population lived in poverty. In the five adjacent suburb counties, poverty levels ranged from 2.7 percent (in DuPage County) to 5.9 percent (in Will County).

  • Between 1980 and 1990, the total number of persons living below poverty in Illinois increased by nearly 8 percent. In 26 counties, the population below poverty increased by more than 24 percent (Figure 3). These counties include metropolitan counties (e.g. Peoria, Rock Island); rural counties adjacent to metropolitan counties (e.g. DeKalb, Woodford) and remote rural counties (e.g. Richland, Perry).

  • The most rapid growth of population below poverty has been in rural counties adjacent to metropolitan counties. Since 1980, the population below poverty in these counties has increased by almost 20 percent; while the total population decreased by 6.5 percent.

  • The population in remote nonmetro counties decreased by 4.2 percent, while the population in poverty in those counties increased by 17.5 percent.

  • In remote nonmetro counties, 16 percent of the population lived below the poverty line. However, in seven of the nonmetro counties, the poverty rate exceeded 20 percent.

  • In 20 counties, fewer people were below poverty in 1990 than in 1980 (Figure 3). In all but one of those counties, the population in poverty declined while the overall population increased.

Table of Illinois Population and Poverty Statistics (1980-1990)

Figures: Poverty in Illinois

figure 1: Population Below Poverty (1990)

Figure2: Percent of Population Below Poverty (1990)

Figure3: Percent Change in Population Below Poverty (1980-1990)

Figure 4: County Types

Summary Statistics for Illinois

Location Illinois Cook Co. Other
Total Population 11,427,409 5,253,628 4,206,939 1,186,055 780,787
Total Population (1990) 11,430,602 5,105,067 4,468,732 1,108,814 747,989
Percent Change in Population 0.03 -2.83 6.22 -6.51 -4.20
Population Below Poverty (1980) 1,230,541 705,684 314,807 107,384 102,666
Population Below Poverty (1990) 1,326,731 713,255 364,336 128,496 120,644
Percent Change in Population Below Poverty 7.8 1.1 15.7 19.7 17.5
Percent of Population Below Poverty (1980) 10.8 13.4 7.5 9.1 13.1
Percent of Population Below Poverty (1990) 11.6 14.0 8.2 11.6 16.1

Metro County:
County with a population of 100,000 or more and a city of at least 50,000. Also includes counties adjacent to a metropolitan county with a high degree of economic and social integration. Cook County is often treated independently because of its significantly larger population.

Nonmetro County:
County which is not contained in a metropolitan area. Nonmetropolitan counties are further defined as "adjacent" or "remote".

Nonmetro County: Adjacent
Counties that are classified as nonmetro by the U.S. Bureau of the Census and that are adjacent to at least one metropolitan county.

Poverty Level (1994):
A person is considered to be below poverty if his or her income is less than $7,360. For a family of four, the poverty level is $14,800.

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