Nearly 240,000 Chicagoans living on less than $19 a day

Nearly 240,000 Chicagoans living on less than $19 a day

Living on less than half of the federal poverty level is considered “deep poverty.” That describes 53% of impoverished Chicagoans.

Can you live on less than $20 a day? About 240,000 people in Chicago do.

Chicago is facing one of the worst poverty crises in the nation, with more than 450,000 Chicagoans, or 17.2% of residents, living below the federal poverty line. But over half of them live on less than half of what the federal government declares as the poverty line.

That is “deep poverty.” There were nearly 240,000 Chicagoans – 53% of all impoverished Chicagoans – living in deep poverty in 2022.

The deep poverty rate is particularly high among three groups: 14.3% of children under age 18, 15.6% of Black Chicagoans and 17.7% of individuals in single-mother households.

Chicagoans in deep poverty live on extremely low income levels. They earn at most less than $19 per day.

Similarly to poverty in general throughout Chicago, deep poverty is primarily concentrated among those who are able-bodied, of working age and their children. Disabilities do not impact 81% of the deep-poverty population. Only 10% of those in deep poverty are age 65 or over.

While the data reveals the bleak living conditions about 240,000 Chicagoans grapple with daily, information on who these Chicagoans are also offers insight into potential solutions.

Poverty alleviation efforts should focus on addressing the issues that prevent able-bodied adults from securing full-time employment. Evidence suggests anti-poverty programs that incentivize work have been effective in increasing employment and raising incomes to promote upward mobility.

Removing cumbersome regulations, improving the quality of education and fostering an environment in which employees, employers and communities can flourish all present opportunities for public policy solutions. Solutions that reduce poverty improve the lives of all Chicagoans, regardless of income status.

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