Report: Major disparities among minority children in Illinois

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(The Center Square) – A new report says Illinois is failing children in minority communities.

According to the “Race for Results” report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, an analysis found that minority children face several inequities in Illinois.

The report analyzed 12 indicators representing well-being milestones from cradle to career and converted them into a scale ranging from 0 to 1,000. In Illinois, Asian and Pacific Islander children have the highest index score at 837, followed by white children at 740. Black children received an index score of 341.

“What it allows us to do is assess how kids and young people of different races and ethnicities are faring both nationally and at the state level,” said Leslie Boissiere, vice president of External Affairs with the foundation.

Boissiere said reading and math scores tumbled during the pandemic, especially for minority students, and the effects are still being felt.

“There are some major disparities in Illinois, particularly around math and reading scores,” Boissiere said. “Only one out of three fourth graders, both national and in Illinois, are reading proficiently.”

The report shows that poverty levels improved between 2007–2011 and 2017–2021, but too many families still struggle to make ends meet. More than half of Black (58%), American Indian or Alaska Native (57%) and Latino (53%) kids live below the federal poverty level.

In response to the report, the Annie E. Casey Foundation is calling for more government investment in child well-being, particularly through tax credits and cash payments that have been proven to improve the lives of young people.

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