New poverty statistics for the state of Illinois were released January 16*. Champaign County's poverty rate is 23.4%, an increase of 3.8% since 2010. The child poverty rate is 21.4%, a 1.2% increase over 2010. Most families in poverty are working: 84.5% of families receiving SNAP benefits have 1 or more working adults. Making ends meet continues to get tougher here in Illinois.
Bright spots in the statistics were our county's teen birth rate, which has declined by 4.6% since 2008 and is half of the Illinois average. The high school graduation rate for low-income students in 2011-2012 increased 4.4%, and is now above the Illinois average. Our young people continue to improve. The unemployment rate in our county is 7.8%, on par with the national average and down 0.9% from September 2011.
Rental assistance continues to be a top concern for those who call our office, and the statistics provide some insight into why. 45.4% of our residents currently rent their home or apartment. The fair market rent for a 2-bedroom apartment in Champaign County is $802. For an individual making minimum wage to be able to afford that apartment at fair market rent, they would need to work 75 hours per week (taking into consideration other living costs such as food and transportation). The mean renter hourly wage here in Champaign is $9.39, meaning an individual can only afford an apartment renting for $488. These numbers show a disparity between workers’ pay and housing costs here in Champaign County.
Other statistics of note:
- Self Sufficiency wage for a One-Parent family with a preschooler and school-age child: $45,598
- Total number of people in poverty: 43,484
- Child food insecurity rate: 19.4%
While poverty numbers continue to increase, the need for human services increases as well. United Way of Champaign County is proud to be a consistent source of funding, helping our agencies to serve over 73,000 people last year.