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42 Illinois Counties Made the Poverty Watch List by the Social Impact Research Center

02/16/2015 10:06 am ET | Updated Apr 15, 2015

Illinois' poverty rate is the highest it's been in about 55 years, says a new study by the Social Impact Research Center. It's been on a steady rise for the last fifteen years, with 14.7 percent of Illinoisans now living at or below the poverty line as defined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (an annual income of $24,000 or less for a family of four).

That means that nearly 2 million people in Illinois are living in poverty and nearly 1 million of them are living in extreme poverty. Even for people whose incomes don't fall under the poverty line, the economic situation is difficult--18 percent of residents are living in low-income households.

That means Illinois has a higher poverty rate than almost half of the country-24 states have a lower rate than Illinois. It also means Illinois has a slightly higher poverty rate than the nation as a whole in 2013, 14.5 percent of Americans were living at or below the poverty line, says CNNMoney.

The report lists 42 counties (out of the state's 102) that are on the poverty "Watch List," meaning they are facing possibly declining conditions in the areas of income, unemployment, high school graduation rates and teen birth rates. There are another four counties on the report's "Warning List," which are currently facing dire situations in those measurements.

Illinois' Watch List counties:

  • Alexander County
  • Boone County
  • Calhoun County
  • Champaign County
  • Clark County
  • Cook County
  • De Witt County
  • DeKalb County
  • Edgar County
  • Edwards County
  • Fayette County
  • Ford County
  • Franklin County
  • Greene County
  • Hardin County
  • Henry County
  • Iroquois County
  • Johnson County
  • Kankakee County
  • Lawrence County
  • Lee County
  • Logan County
  • Macoupin County
  • Marion County
  • Mercer County
  • Peoria County
  • Perry County
  • Pike County
  • Pope County
  • Pulaski County
  • Putnam County
  • Rock Island County
  • Saline County
  • Sangamon County
  • Scott County
  • Clair County
  • Stephenson County
  • Tazewell County
  • Vermilion County
  • White County
  • Williamson County
  • Winnebago County

Check out Reboot Illinois to see which four counties are on the report's Warning List at Reboot Illinois. Hint: They're all in southern Illinois.

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