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|Group Places Knox County on Poverty Watch List
|More than 400,000 Illinoisans have likely been pushed into poverty as a result of the recession, according to a report from by the Heartland Alliance Mid-America Institute on poverty.
The projected increase, based on expectations that the national unemployment rate will reach nine percent this year, would represent a 27 percent jump in the number of people living in poverty in Illinois over the past two years.
The list uses four indicators to determine the counties well being index: high school graduation rates, unemployment rates, teen birth rates, and poverty rates.
In Knox County, which is on the group's poverty watch list, the high school graduation rate for the 2007-08 school year was nearly 86 percent, a 1.7 percent increase over the previous year. The teen birth rate declined 5.5 percent to 42 per 1000 births in women between the ages of 15 and 19. The county's unemployment rate in December of 2008 was 7.1 percent, and the poverty rate in 2007 was nearly 18 percent, the latter a 2 percent increase over the previous year. The total number of Knox County residents listed in poverty in 2007 was nearly 8,400. One-fourth of the total is residents under the age of 18.
Heartland Alliance says rising unemployment precipitates an increase in poverty. With the Illinois unemployment rate already more than 9 percent, the report's authors say effect on state residents will be severe.
Nearly 1.5 million Illinois residents, which is about 12 percent of the state's population, were in poverty in 2007. That's the last year for which poverty data is available.
More than 660,000 Illinoisans lived in extreme poverty that year, defined as an annual income below $11,000 for a family of four. An additional 16 percent, or more than 2-million people, were described as on shaky financial ground with incomes between the poverty line and twice the poverty line.
To view the entire Heartland Alliance groups 2009 report on Poverty, including a county by county breakdown of the numbers, go to www.heartlandalliance.org/research.
|04 30 09 by Newsroom
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