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Report: Illinois' African-American Children Fare Worse Than Those In Most Other States

Annie E. Casey Foundation
An Annie E. Casey Foundation report that looked at living conditions for African-American child ranked Illinois at 34th. Scores ranged from a low of 0 to a high of 1,000.

The standard of living for African-American children in Illinois is worse than most other states. That’s according to a report released Tuesday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Illinois is 34th in the nation in the terms of the living conditions of African- American children, according to the report.

“You see that African-American children in particular are lagging far behind when you look at this composite score,” says Anna Rowan of Voices for Illinois Children.

The Casey organization created an index with information on education, health and economic stability. Scores ranged from 0 to 1,000. African American and Latino children scored much lower than white and Asian children. The score for African-American children was in the 300s, while Latino, white and Asian children’s scores were in the 400s, 700s and 800s, respectively.

"We know that there are disparities in opportunities, so when we look at what went into the index we know African-American children are more likely to live in poverty; they are more likely to live in areas of concentrated poverty, and African American young adults are the least likely to be in school or working …and the they lag behind in terms of academic achievement." 

Rowan says inequity between school systems is likely a factor.

Meanwhile, the report also looked at immigration.

One in four children in Illinois lives in an immigrant family, according to the report. And 50 percent of immigrant children are Latino. Children are considered to be immigrants if the child was born in another country or at least one parent was foreign born.

“We do know that children living in immigrant families are more likely to live in poverty and are less likely to have a college degree. But we also know that they and their families are working hard toward a better life.”

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is news editor and equity and justice beat reporter for NPR Illinois, where she has been on the staff since 2014 after Illinois Issues magazine’s merger with the station. She joined the magazine’s staff in 1998 as projects editor and became managing editor in 2003. Prior to coming to the University of Illinois Springfield, she was an education reporter and copy editor at three local newspapers, including the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in English from UIS.
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