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2017 Race for Results Report: Illinois Children of Color Continue to Face Barriers to Success

Written by Anna Rowan

Illinois’ success as a state is directly tied to the well-being of every one of its children. Yet, too many Illinois young people, especially children of color and children living in immigrant families, still face barriers that limit their opportunities for success, according to the 2017 Race for Results report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The Race for Results report examines national and state data on key education, health and economic milestones by racial and ethnic groups. The report’s index uses a composite score of these milestones on a scale of one (lowest) to 1,000 (highest) to make comparisons. The index shows significant disparities among African-American (327) and Latino children (475) compared to Asian and Pacific Islander (844) and white children (766) in Illinois.

In comparison to other states, the index scores for White and Asian and Pacific Islander children in Illinois ranked in the top 10 nationally for their respective groups. The index score for Latino children in Illinois ranked 15th nationally, ahead of some states with similar demographics to Illinois, like New York, but behind others such as Florida and New Jersey. The Illinois index score for African-American children ranked in the bottom group (34th in the nation), behind New Jersey, New York, and Florida but ahead of other midwestern states like Ohio and Michigan.


Source: The Annie E. Casey Foundation

The data clearly show that our public policies must do more to reduce inequities among groups:

  • African-American children in Illinois face the most significant barriers to success and are more likely to live in lower income families. They are also the least likely to live in a low-poverty area, with only 36 percent living in low-poverty areas, compared to 91 percent of white children. African-American young adults are also the least likely to be in school or working.
  • Hispanic children also struggle with poverty and are the least likely to live with a householder who has at least a high school degree. Additionally, early childhood education enrollment rates for Hispanic children ages 3-5 (56 percent) lag behind those of African-American (66 percent), Asian (67 percent), and white (67 percent) children.
  • White students in Illinois perform at about the national average for their demographic group in fourth grade reading and eighth grade math. Large achievement gaps between groups mirror those at the national level.

The report also provides a glimpse into the well-being of children in immigrant families, who face the additional stress and trauma of the fear of separation from their parents due to detention or deportation:

  • One in four children in Illinois lives in an immigrant family. Hispanic children make up more than half of this group.
  • Although children in immigrant families are more likely to live in poverty, they and their families are also working hard toward a better life. For example, parents of children in immigrant families are more likely to have regular, full-time employment. And foreign-born young adults are as likely as U.S.-born young adults to be in school or working.

In addition to advocating for policies and investments that connect all children to opportunities, the report makes several recommendations specific to children in immigrant families:

  • Keep families together and in their communities.
  • Help children in immigrant families meet key developmental milestones.
  • Increase economic opportunity for immigrant parents.

The 2017 Race for Results report can be viewed at www.aecf.org/raceforresults/.





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