27 Percent of Renters in Illinois Can Barely Afford Rent

More than one in four renters in Illinois are barely able to make rent, according to a new analysis.

In light of the state budget impasse and the freezing of funding for affordable housing, the organization Make Room, an advocacy group that raises awareness for millions of U.S. families struggling to pay rent, analyzed U.S. Census data from 2014 to see where in Illinois renters are most burdened by the cost of rent.

The analysis found 27 percent of renters in Illinois are "severely burdened" by housing expenses, which means more than half of renters' income goes toward rent and utilities.

In terms of raw numbers, that's 441,381 households throughout the state that spend at least 50 percent of their income solely on rent. Illinois ranked No. 13 in the nation for percentage of renters severely burdened by housing costs, according to Make Room.

The report also looked at the 10 most populous cities in Illinois and found 28 percent of the 736,000 renters are severely burdened. Here's the percent of renters in each city who are either severely burdened or moderately burdened (pay 30-50 percent of income to housing), along with the estimated number of renters, as reported by Northern Public Radio. A plain text version follow the pie chart.

10. Elgin

  • Renters: 13,613
  • Severely burdened: 19.1%
  • Moderately burdened: 26.7%

9. Peoria

  • Renters: 18,750
  • Severely burdened: 19.2%
  • Moderately burdened: 14.9%
8. Naperville
  • Renters: 12,808
  • Severely burdened: 20.3%
  • Moderately burdened: 25.1%

7. Joliet

  • Renters: 14,706
  • Severely burdened: 23.8%
  • Moderately burdened: 17.9%

6. Aurora

  • Renters: 17,600
  • Severely burdened: 25%
  • Moderately burdened: 23.4%

5. Cicero

  • Renters: 11,240
  • Severely burdened: 25.8%
  • Moderately burdened: 24.5%
4. Rockford
  • Renters: 30,389
  • Severely burdened: 28.3%
  • Moderately burdened: 19.9%

3. Chicago

  • Renters: 582,292
  • Severely burdened: 28.8%
  • Moderately burdened: 22.2%

2. Waukegan

  • Renters: 15,335
  • Severely burdened: 31.3%
  • Moderately burdened: 24.7%

1. Springfield

  • Renters: 20,000
  • Severely burdened: 31.5%
  • Moderately burdened: 23.7%

Nationwide, there are roughly 11.4 million families -- one in four renter households -- that spend at least half their income on housing costs, which Make Room says forces families to choose between paying rent or food, medicine, childcare and other necessities.

You can find the original report as well as Make Room's fact sheet for Illinois here.