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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 lead editor of Illinois Issues' feature articles, working with freelance writers, and covering the equity beat. Maureen joined the Illinois Issues in 1998 as projects editor. Previously, she worked at three Illinois daily newspapers, most recently the suburban Chicago-based Daily Herald, where she served stints as an education reporter and copy editor. She graduated in 1985 with a bachelor's in journalism. She also has a master's degree in English from the University of Illinois at Springfield.
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