Chicago poverty higher than San Francisco, Los Angeles
Chicago has one of the highest poverty rates among the nation’s biggest cities, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Chicago’s poverty rate has fluctuated with economic cycles much like the U.S. poverty rate, but the poverty rate in Chicago is higher than average for major U.S. cities – or than Los Angeles, or than San Francisco.
Of the nation’s cities with populations above 1 million, Chicago has the sixth-highest poverty rate, behind Philadelphia, Houston, San Antonio, New York and Dallas. San Francisco and Austin, Texas, have lower poverty rates than Chicago despite considerable media attention to their homelessness crises.
While those cities may have different problems to contend with, such as homelessness and higher costs of living, poverty is just as much of an issue – or even worse – in Chicago, according to the official poverty measure.
With more than 450,000 men, women and children living in poverty in Chicago, the city’s impoverished population is the fourth largest in the nation behind New York City, Los Angeles and Houston.
Prior to the War on Poverty, Chicago’s poverty rate was below the national average, 12% in Chicago in 1960 versus 22.2% in the U.S. Now the opposite is true: the city’s poverty rate of 17.2% is far higher than the U.S. poverty rate of 11.5%.
Chicago’s poverty is higher than before the War on Poverty began. It’s higher than the national average, but that is expected because urban areas have higher poverty rates than suburban areas, where the majority of the U.S. population lives.
The Illinois Policy Institute’s Center for Poverty Solutions intends to study the reasons for that and find ways to fix it by better understanding who is in poverty, why and what’s keeping them there.