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PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
3:35pm
Thu Apr 23

Low-Wage Jobs Cost Illinois Taxpayers $1 Billion Annually, Report Finds

Progress Illinois looks at the findings of a new report detailing the "hidden cost of low-wage work" at the national and state levels.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:26pm
Wed Jun 18, 2014

Most Illinois Congressional Members Get Passing Grades On National Poverty Scorecard

Six Democratic members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation had a perfect voting record in 2013 on legislation important to people living in poverty, according to a new scorecard and report published by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law.

Meanwhile, no Republican Congressmen from Illinois earned a grade higher than a 'D' on the center's 2013 Poverty Scorecard, which looked at the voting record of every U.S. senator and representative on poverty-related issues during the last calendar year. The scores were tabulated based on 18 votes taken in the House and Senate on legislation covering a variety of subject areas including budget and tax, food and nutrition, health care, immigrants, cash assistance, domestic violence, education and the workforce, to name a few.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:42pm
Mon May 5, 2014

Report: 40 percent Of Low-Income Working Families In Illinois Headed By Women

A recent report shows that women headed up 40 percent of Illinois' more than 404,100 low-income working families in 2012.

Nationwide, women were the main providers for 4.1 million low-income working families in 2012, with 163,341 of those households being in Illinois, according to the report from the Working Poor Families Project, a national initiative focused on strengthening state-level policies to help working families attain economic security.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
6:07pm
Tue Jan 21, 2014

Poll Explores U.S. Attitudes On Poverty 50 Years After 'War On Poverty' Was Launched

    In January of 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson declared an “unconditional War on Poverty,” which played a part in cutting the nation's poverty rate in half betweem 1960 and 1973.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:29pm
Thu Jan 9, 2014

Report Highlights SNAP Reform Proposals Meant To Reduce Hunger, Promote Nutrition

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a crucial anti-hunger and anti-poverty tool, but a handful of reforms are needed to boost the program's overall effectiveness, argues Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, an associate professor at Northwestern University's School of Education and Social Policy.

About one in eight U.S. families depend on SNAP benefits, at about $1.40 per meal, for food aid. More than 2 million people in Illinois rely on the $80-billion-a-year program, which has helped to reduce hunger and rates of food insecurity in the country, while also providing support to families who face unexpected economic setbacks.

In a recent discussion paper for the Hamilton Project, Schanzenbach noted that despite the program's successes, obesity rates in the nation are still high, the method of determining food aid benefits is outdated and SNAP coverage during economic recessions needs to be improved.

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
1:56pm
Thu Jan 9, 2014

Minimum Wage Lights Up Guv's Race, Study Shows Increase Could Bring 5 Million Out Of Poverty (UPDATED)

About 4.6 million Americans could emerge from poverty if the federal minimum wage was bumped up to $10.10 an hour, a recent study by a University of Massachusetts-Amherst economist shows. Progress Illinois takes a look at the national study as well as the minimum wage battle that has recently cropped up in the race for Illinois governor. 

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:53pm
Mon Dec 9, 2013

New Report Provides Snapshot Of 'Struggling Lower-Middle Class'

More than half of the nation's working-age families with children earn $60,000 or less a year, according to a new report from the Hamilton Project that provides a snapshot of America's "struggling lower-middle class."

Out of those more than 20 million families, about 40 percent have annual incomes at or below $40,000 and a shocking 15 percent, or 5.6 million families, earn between $1 to $20,000 a year, the report showed. The majority of today's families, 76 percent, have annual incomes at $100,000 or less, while "fewer than 3 percent of families earn more than $260,000," according to the report.

The report found that 49 percent of working-age families with children have incomes below 250 percent of the 2012 federal poverty level, or $58,208 for a two-parent family with two children.

About 30 percent of families live between that 250 percent threshold and the official poverty line, which stood at $23,283 in 2012 for a two-parent family with two kids. As such, these families are considered to be the "struggling lower-middle class," the report reads, because their "proximity to the poverty line means that any unanticipated downturns in income could push them into poverty."

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