A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau says almost a third of Evanston residents listed as living in poverty are off-campus college students.

The census working paper, issued Monday, says the percentage of Evanston residents living in poverty would decline from 13.2 percent to 9 percent if the students were excluded.

Most college students living in Evanston are enrolled at Northwestern University, which has about 8,000 undergraduate students on its Evanston campus. About 60 percent of undergraduates live on campus.

The university has another 8,000 students in graduate programs split between its Chicago and Evanston campuses. A higher percentage of the grad students live off campus

The census poverty figures already exclude students living in on-campus housing. The new report doesn’t adjust for students living at home with their families.

The report says the poverty pattern here is fairly typical for other towns with a large student population.

Nationwide 15.2 percent of Americans are living in poverty, according to census estimates, while 51.8 percent of college students living off campus and not living with relatives fell below the poverty line.

The study was based on 2009-2011 data from the American Community Survey.

Nationwide, the report says, about 63 percent of college students live with their families, about 12 percent live in dorms or other group quarters and 25 percent live off-campus in non-family households.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Leave a comment

The goal of our comment policy is to make the comments section a vibrant yet civil space. Treat each other with respect — even the people you disagree with. Whenever possible, provide links to credible documentary evidence to back up your factual claims.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *