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Census Bureau: 14 Percent Of Metro Chicago Area Lives Below Poverty Line

By Jon Graef in News on Sep 20, 2014 8:30PM

The rate of people living below the poverty line in the Chicago metropolitan area was 14 percent in 2013, more or less where it was the year prior. This despite the fact that, nationally, the poverty rate decreased for the first time since 2006. That said, that isn't really good news despite how it may sound.

The nation’s official poverty rate in 2013 was 14.5 percent, down from 15.0 percent in 2012. The 45.3 million people living at or below the poverty line in 2013, for the third consecutive year, did not represent a statistically significant change from the previous year’s estimate.

That's three years in a row for more than 45 million of your fellow Americans living at or below the poverty line. USA! USA! USA! The Census Bureau's findings can be seen in Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013, a report you can read for yourself here.

Locally, the number of people in the Chicago metro area at or below the poverty line is at 1.3 million. That number is absolutely too high, but the Bureau found that Chicago had "the 12th lowest poverty rate of major U.S. cities" in both 2012 and 2013.

As the Sun-Times notes:

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.

Not terrible, but not great either. There's been good recent economic news for both Chicago and Illinois as of late. The unemployment rate for both has fallen recently. But, as long as rent in the city remains stubbornly out of the middle class's grasp, along with myriad factors, expect these number to not budge.