The 2008 Report on Illinois Poverty showcases how Illinois families struggle to achieve or maintain economic stability. Negative economic shifts including stagnating wages and rising costs have taken their toll on people across Illinois, hitting those with the least to start with the hardest. **The report finds that poverty continues to cast a pall on Illinois' economic future. Statewide, poverty increased in 74 of Illinois' 102 counties. It now afflicts more than 1.5 million Illinoisans, representing a population large enough to rank as the nation's fifth-largest city. Nearly 250,000 additional Illinoisans have succumbed to poverty since 1999, a 19 percent increase.
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