Market Overview

Nation's Poverty Rate Declines, While Illinois Is Left Behind (New Heartland Alliance Fact Sheet)


Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that the poverty rate in Illinois stayed stagnant from 2016 to 2017, while poverty declined nationwide. In addition to the flat poverty rate, the data found that health insurance coverage rates declined in Illinois for the first time since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

CHICAGO (PRWEB) September 14, 2018

"While many indicators of well-being are improving across the country, Illinois poverty still has not rebounded from the recession. Hundreds of thousands of working people live in poverty, and Illinoisans of color are still lagging behind white people on income growth and poverty rates," said Katie Buitrago, director of the Social IMPACT Research Center at Heartland Alliance. "There's strong evidence that safety net programs play a critical role in moving people out of poverty, but they are under attack at both state and national levels."

The United States has been in economic recovery for a number of years, with three consecutive years of strong gains in the median household income. Although median household income grew from 2016 to 2017 in Illinois, it is still below pre-recession levels. Substantial improvements for Illinois, and the nation, have been slow to reach those who need it most.

"The national uninsured rate held steady in 2017, but the persistent hostility from opponents of the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid put the historic coverage gains of the last few years in jeopardy," said Dan Rabbitt, Senior Project Manager for Health Policy at Heartland Alliance. "The increase in the uninsured rate in Illinois and stalling of progress elsewhere show the policy choices leading up to 2017 that cut off payments to insurers and canceled ACA marketing had an impact. We worry that this reversal of progress is a sign of things to come, unless the Administration chooses to cease its efforts to undermine the ACA at every turn and instead decides to build constructively upon the progress that has been made."

Illinois managed to pass an FY19 budget, which brings desperately-needed stability and predictability to the human service sector. Unfortunately, we have few resources to regain the losses incurred by the state during years of the budget impasse and meet the overwhelming need in our communities.

Additional findings from the release revealed:

  • Illinois's 2017 poverty rate (12.6%) is not significantly different from 2016 (13.0%). The poverty rate is still 0.7 percentage points above its pre-recession 2007 level of 11.9%, and bucks national downward trends in the poverty rate.
  • Extreme poverty—having income below half the poverty line—was also stagnant from 2016 to 2017 in Illinois, and is now at 5.8%. 724,307 Illinoisans are extremely poor.
  • Illinois median household income grew from 2016 to 2017, and is now $62,992. Income is still 3% below its pre-recession 2007 level.
  • The rate of non-seniors in Illinois who are uninsured grew to 7.8%, a 0.4 percentage point increase from 2016. This is the first time since the implementation of the ACA that uninsurance rates grew. 841,151 non-seniors remain uninsured.
  • While white households in Illinois experienced an increase in median household income, black and Latino incomes stayed flat.

See the full attached release for more.

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