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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2002

Illinois Residents' Standard of Living Improves During 1990s
New Census data shows increase in household income, decrease in poverty

SPRINGFIELD -- New data released today from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that the median household income in Illinois increased by 10.7 percent from 1990 to 2000. In 2000, the median household income was $46,590, compared to $42,078 (when adjusted for inflation) in 1990.

During the last decade, the number of Illinois families living below the poverty line decreased from 264,413 to 244,303 -- a 7.6 percent drop. The number of female single-parent households below the poverty line fell from 135,526 to 116,851 -- a 13.8 percent decrease.

"The latest census data shows that economic conditions for the average Illinois family improved significantly over the last decade," said Governor George H. Ryan. "I'm particularly pleased that the Census report provides encouraging news on education achievement. We're seeing more Illinoisans graduating from high school and pursuing post-secondary instruction levels, which bodes well for a continued increase in the quality of life for our residents."

Statistics from the 2000 Census show that 81.4 percent of those 25 years or older in Illinois have at least a high school degree, compared to 76.2 percent in 1990. Meanwhile, 26.1 percent achieved a bachelor's degree or higher in 2000, compared to 21 percent in 1990.

The new statistics also provide insight into family and work trends.

The number of people married in the state increased from almost 4.8 million in 1990, to more than 5.2 million in 2000. The number of people divorced increased by more than 145,000 during the same period.

The number of residents in the state who were born outside of the U.S. shot up during the last decade, increasing from 952,272 to 1,529,058 -- a jump of more than 60 percent. Census statistics also show about one in five people in the state reported speaking a language other than English at home, up from about one in seven in 1990.

There was more demand for child care during the past decade, as 58.3 percent of children under six years of age had all parents living at home in the labor force, up from 55.7 percent in 1990.

The average travel time to work jumped 11.4 percent. In 1990, the average commute was 25.1 minutes; in 2000 that number increased to 28 minutes. Meanwhile, the number of people commuting to work on public transportation dropped 7.5 percent.

The number of Illinois residents working in agriculture and related industries fell by nearly 50 percent during the decade, from 131,058 to 66,481. Manufacturing jobs also dropped, from 1,055,047 in 1990, to 931,162 in 2000.

"This report shows that the face of Illinois is changing. We are a more diverse state, both economically and socially, and we must prepare Illinois citizens for new challenges in both the workplace and at home," added Governor Ryan.

A complete overview of the Illinois statistics can be found at: http://www.illinoisbiz.biz/2000census

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