News Local/State

Report Shows 43 Percent Of Illinois Young Children In Poverty

A pie chart comparing Illinois to the U.S. for infants in poverty, from Zero to Threes Website

Illinois has 43 percent of toddlers in poverty, compared to 48 percent nationally (Courtesy: Zero to Three)

A new report shows the state of Illinois ranks 20th in the country when it comes to child health and development.

Zero to Three, a national nonprofit, released its 2015 report in late June. The group focuses on child well-being.

The report says that 43 percent of babies and toddlers in Illinois live at or below the poverty line. That's compared to the national average of 48 percent

Patty Cole oversaw the project for Zero to Three. She acknowledges Illinois' budget problems, but says child services are vital in improving these numbers.

“Two-thirds of mothers of infants in Illinois are in the labor force," Cole said. "That means one thing: that means they need childcare. That is a huge issue. The supports to help families work are really important if they want to earn income and provide more resources and support for their children.”

The report also included information on early childhood education, health, and family strength.