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Kids Count Report: Illinois Kids Making Progress, But Too Many Face Challenges
Prior to the state budget crisis, Illinois kids were improving in important indicators of child well-being, including education and health, according to the 2016 KIDS COUNT® Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. However, one in five children in Illinois continued to live in poverty in 2014, and the number of kids growing up in high poverty neighborhoods has increased since 2008.
Illinois is ranked 21st nationally on indicators of child well-being, down from 20th place in 2015.
This year’s KIDS COUNT Data Book focuses on trends over the last six years (roughly 2008-2014). Other key findings for Illinois include:
- 12 percent of children (362,000) are living in high-poverty neighborhoods today, up from 10 percent in 2008.
- Nationally, African-American children were twice as likely as the average child to live in high-poverty neighborhoods. In Illinois, African-American children are more than three times more likely to live in high-poverty neighborhoods: 44 percent, compared to 12 percent across all race groups.
- 29 percent (858,000) of kids live in households where neither parent has full-time, year-round employment, up from 26 percent in 2008.
Improvements in Health
- Fewer Illinois teens are abusing alcohol, and mortality rates of children and teens have been declining.
- Illinois is ranked third for the lowest number of uninsured kids among states, cutting the uninsured rate by 50 percent since 2008.
Improvements in Education
- The number of teens not engaged in school or work declined, and more of our kids are graduating from high school on time.
- In 2013, 83 percent of Illinois high school students graduated on time, up from 80 percent in 2008.
The continued state financial crisis, however, threatens these improvements. Without funding, key investments in children’s well-being have been gutted, putting more kids at risk of falling behind in education, health, and their overall economic security. Illinois can change the current downward trajectory of our state by enacting a budget that raises the revenue necessary to invest in our kids’ long-term success.