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Fewer Evanston seniors live in poverty

A new Census Bureau survey suggests the overall poverty rate in Evanston has declined so far this decade but more children are now living in poverty.

The overall poverty rate here last year is estimated at 10.5 percent, compared to 11.1 percent in 2000.

But the rate for children has increased from 8.7 percent to 10.6 percent, while the rate for persons 65 years of age and older has declined from 7.1 percent to 3.3 percent.

For the state of Illinois, the poverty rate last year was 12 percent, compared to a 12.6 percent rate for the nation as a whole.

People who don’t live with other family members are more likely to be poor. In Evanston the poverty rate for men living alone or with persons to whom they were not related increased from 22.4 percent to 25.3 percent over the past five years. But the rate for women in the same housing status declined from 25.9 percent to 14.5 percent.

The changes the local poverty rates for seniors and for women not living with families were large enough to be statistically significant.

Only 5.2 percent of married-couple families in Evanston were at or below the poverty level last year, compared to 9.2 percent of single-parent households headed by women.

Low educational attainment was highly correlated with poverty. Nearly 40 percent of Evanston families where the head of household had only a high school education lived in poverty, compared to 0.4 percent of households with at least a bachelor’s degree.

While the poverty rate here appears to have declined, earnings of many Evanston residents have not kept up with inflation.

The Census Bureau says the median household income in Evanston last year was $58,940. But the inflation-adjusted median income back in 2000 was $62,562.

For families, however, the median income last year was $90,132, a little better than the inflation adjusted $87,606 the median family earned in 2000.

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