Cover of the 2021 Kids Count Data Book showing Mother on phone in front of computer and daughter eating breakfast and doing schoolwork

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released the 32nd edition of its Kids Count Data Book. As in previous years, the 2021 version provides the latest available data on child well-being as well as state comparisons and rankings. To produce these rankings, the foundation derives an index of overall child well-being for each state by combining data across four domains: economic well-being, education, health, and family and community. New this year is the inclusion of data on how families endured the pandemic.

According to Voices for Illinois Children, whose Illinois Kids Count report is forthcoming, the data on Illinois children are encouraging. However, the report notes that despite some gains, child poverty rates in Illinois before the pandemic remained a significant concern. Illinois’ overall rank in 2021 is 21st out of 50, up from 24th in 2020 and 23rd in 2019.

Illinois data highlights from the data book include:

  • In 2019, 16% of Illinois children lived below the poverty level. However, Black children lived below the federal poverty level at a rate of 34%.
  • In 2010, 162,000 children did not have health insurance. By 2019, that number had decreased by about 25% to 120,000. However, Latino/a (6%) and Black (5%) children lacked health insurance at higher rates than other racial/ethnic groups.
  • In April/May of 2020, 66% of adults with children in their households reported being employed in the past week, but in March 2021 that number had decreased to 64%.
  • From 2017 to 2019, 45% of children in Illinois ages 3 and 4 were not in school. Young Latino/a children were not in school at a rate of 53%, the only group to exceed the state rate.
  • In 2020, 23% of households with children in Illinois had little or no confidence in their ability to pay their next rent or mortgage payment on time. This number decreased to 19% in March 2021.
Bar chart show tht 34% of African American children live in poverty (below official FPL for a family of 4) in Illinois in 2019.
Chart showing Illinois data from the 2021 Kids Count Interactive Data Book.