Following a trend seen around the country, the percentage of people in Chicago living below the poverty line didn’t nudge from 2012 to 2013, according to new data.
About 14 percent of people in the Chicago metropolitan area, or more than 1.3 million people, lived below the poverty line in 2013, the Census Bureau reported Thursday. That’s nearly unchanged from 2012.
For children, the poverty rate is significantly higher. One in five children in Chicago lives in poverty.
The data come from the American Community Survey, a nationally representative survey that is conducted monthly and reaches more than 3 million addresses each year.
In 20 of the 25 largest metropolitan areas, both the number and percentage of people in poverty remained roughly the same from 2012 to 2013, according to the latest data.
Does this mean that anti-poverty programs aren’t working? Not exactly.
The ACS doesn’t count many of the most popular anti-poverty programs when it asks about income. If you added in the value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (food stamps), Medicaid, Section 8 vouchers, and the Earned-Income Tax Credit, the poverty rate might be quite a bite lower.
Also, the fact that the poverty rate didn’t go up this year, as it did each year from 2007 to 2011, is a sign, however small, of the continued economic recovery.
According to different data from the Census Bureau released Tuesday, 1 million women and 1.8 million men returned to full-time work in 2013.
Chicago again found itself in the middle of the pack of major metropolitan areas, in terms of the percentage of people living in poverty. Of the 25 largest metro areas, Riverside, California had the highest poverty rate, 18.2 percent, and Washington, DC had the lowest, 8.5 percent.