Poverty has changed in some ways in Illinois over the last 50 years, and in some ways it has not. The poverty rate is 14.7 percent today, the same as it was in 1960, according to “50 Years Later: Report on Illinois Poverty,” released today (Thursday) by the Social IMPACT Research Center. That amounts to 1.85 million people, up from 1.45 million in 1960.
Director Amy Terpstra says what has changed is there is less rural poverty. The number of Illinois counties with a poverty rate over 20 percent has dropped from 68 to 10 since 1960.
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“You see a lot less of that today. Rural poverty is still very much a reality, but in terms of having so many rural places in the state with such deep poverty, that’s certainly not as much of a reality anymore, because what you saw over this 50-year period is a lot of migration to cities,” she said.
Another change: Poverty has grown among working-age men and women, but declined among the elderly. Women are more likely to be poor than men. African-Americans still struggle; 32 percent in Illinois live in poverty, down from 35 percent in 1960.