WIUM Tristates Public Radio

A Third of IL Residents in or very Near Poverty

Jan 16, 2013

A third of Illinois residents live in, or a very near poverty levels. That’s the finding of a  new report which also shows some of the counties with the highest poverty rates are in Western Illinois.

The report from the nonprofit Social IMPACT Research Center  shows nine counties have poverty rates above twenty percent.

That includes Knox and McDonough counties coming in at just over 20.2 and 20.3 percent.

Amy Terpstra, an Associate Director at the center, said as manufacturing jobs disappear, the jobs that replace them aren’t as good.

She said falling "job quality", is one of the factors leading to increased poverty and outlined who may be at risk of falling into poverty.

"People who are working at restaurants, who are working at dry cleaners and all of these sorts of service based industries," Terpstra said, "and those jobs simply aren't  commanding the same wages that  many of the jobs that had been lost were."

Poverty rose 8 percent since the last report was issued in 2000.

Terpstra said high unemployment and income inequality are also forces driving up the poverty rate.