In the past week, the US Census Bureau released the three-year average estimates of the American Community Survey. This release is the first to include areas with populations of 20,000 or higher. Five-year estimates will be released in late 2013, and will include data for census tracts across all populations and geographic areas.
Based on these 3-year estimates, the number of poor individuals in Coles County is now 11,600, up from 10,944 in 2011 and from 9,456 in 2007; as a result, the percent of individuals living in poverty in Coles County has risen to 23.44% in 2012, an increase of 22.67% over the past six years (2007 to 2012)
Further, the number of individuals living in food insecurity in Coles County also increased, rising from 20,030 (40.81%) in 2011 to 20,919 (42.28%) in 2012. From 2007, where the number of food insecure individuals was 17,186, there is a 21.72% increase to 2012.
The following graph depicts these changes over time:
When focusing on families, the growth in poverty and food insecurity is also severe. In 2012, the number of poor families in Coles County is 1,411–12.5% of all families– up from 1,344 (11.5%) in 2011; this is a 14.07% increase from the 1,237 poor families (10.5%) in 2007.
Likewise, the number of food insecure families increased nominally from 3,153 (26.69%) in 2011 to 3,156 (27.96%) in 2012. The percent change in the number of food insecure families from 2007 to 2012 shows a 3.14% increase, however.
The following graph depicts the growth in impoverished and food insecure families in Coles County from 2007 to 2012:
In comparison to the United States and the state of Illinois, Coles County has a population of individuals as well as families that live in poverty and at-risk of food insecurity with hunger at higher proportions. The following graph shows these comparisons:
In 2012, Coles County had a higher percent of the individual population in poverty than Illinois by nearly nine percentage points and seven and three-quarter percentage points over the United States. However, the difference in the individual and family populations living with food insecurity is more stark. Over 2 in 5 individuals in Coles County, 42.28%, are food insecure; this is more than twelve and one-half percentage points greater than the state and ten percentage points greater than the country. These differences are mirrored when comparing families: for Coles County, 27.96% of families are food insecure, four and one-half percentage points greater than Illinois and well over two percentage points greater than the United States.