The child poverty rate is holding steady in Illinois, but it’s holding steady at a rate higher than advocates would like. It’s 20.7 percent for 2013, the same as it was for 2012, according to data compiled and released Thursday by the group Voices for Illinois Children. Policy advocacy director Emily Miller says it’s a rate that’s stubborn.
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“The report shows that the extent and the persistence of child poverty reflects not only the lingering effects of the Great Recession, but longer-term economic trends as well. Child poverty rates are likely to remain high even as unemployment subsides,” she said at a news conference in Springfield unveiling the report.
Illinois has 634,000 children in poverty, a 36 percent increase since 1999. In 2000, the child poverty rate in Illinois was 14.6 percent.
Among the state’s 40 biggest counties, Jackson, Knox, Marion, Saint Clair and Vermilion had child poverty rates over 30 percent, along with Chicago.
However, over the last 15 years, Illinois has been persistently a couple of percentage points below the national child poverty rate, which was 22.2 percent in 2013.