A new study from the United Way of Illinois concludes more Evanstonians living north of Dempster Street meet federal poverty standards, but more south Evanston residents have above poverty level incomes but still don’t earn enough to meet the basic cost of living in Cook County.

Overall the study concludes that 32% of all Evanston households either meet the federal poverty standard or are what the study calls ALICE households — ones that are Asset Limited and Income Constrained but Employed.

The most granular data available from the study was at the ZIP Code level, which makes Dempster Street as the dividing line between 60201 to the north and 60202 to the south.

The study attempts to adjust for household size, concluding that a single adult living on a basic survival budget would need to earn $21,444 a year — or an hourly wage of $10.72 for working 40 hour week 50 weeks a year.

By comparison, it says that a household with two adults plus one infant and one pre-school age child would need an annual income of $60,444 to reach a similar standard of living. If only one member of the household was working, that person would need to make $30.22 an hour.

The Household Survival Budget figures used by the report.

Household income figures in the report are based on 2017 data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Evanston figures are a bit lower than the statewide average, which showed 13% percent in poverty plus 23% below the ALICE threshold in 2010, shifting to 12% in poverty plus 24% below the ALICE threshold in 2017.

The data show that marital status is strongly associated with household finances. Statewide 82% of married couple households were above the ALICE threshold in 2017, but only 27% of single female-headed households and 43% of single male-headed households were above the threshold.

The study data excludes college students living in campus dormitories but includes those living elsewhere in the community.

Across the state only 30% of households headed by a person under the age of 25 had incomes above the ALICE threshold — roughly half as many as for households headed by an older person.

Blacks and Hispanics were least likely to have an income above the ALICE threshhold while whites and Asians were most likely to be above that level.

Among Cook County communities the share of poverty plus ALICE households ranged from a low of 4% in Golf to a high of 70% in Harvey.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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