Chicago families are struggling to afford the basics.
The report shows how economic hardship mirrors patterns of racial segregation in Chicago: in the Near North Side, a quarter of households struggle to afford basic needs, compared to 70% in South Shore.
The findings point to an uneven economic recovery in the decade after the Great Recession. While the vast majority of working-age people in Illinois are employed, 56% of those jobs pay under $20 an hour. And as wages stagnate, job insecurity is up across the board, making it hard for workers to pay off rising monthly expenses while saving enough money for a secure future.
“There are so many families who aren’t in deep poverty but make a litany of tough decisions every day,” said Ashley Anglin, the director of research at United Way. “Families are asking themselves if they should get groceries this week, or buy medicine? Get the car fixed or take your kids out of daycare?”