Poverty rates in both Iowa and Illinois are down, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The average two-year poverty rate for 2017-2018 was 10.9% in Illinois, down from 11.5% for 2016-2017.
In Iowa, the average poverty rate for 2017-2018 was 8.2%, down from 9.4% for 2016-2017.
That puts the poverty rates in both states below the national average of 12% for 2017-2018.
Poverty is down across the country. In 2018, about 1.4 million fewer people were in poverty than the year before, according to the Census report. Since 2014, the poverty rate in America has fallen 3 percentage points, according to the Census Bureau.
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Still, poverty remains prevalent. Even people above the poverty threshold — defined as $25,701 for a family of four — can struggle with food insecurity and housing.
The Midwest tends to have lower rates of poverty than the West and South. The Midwest’s poverty rate in 2018 was 10.4%, more than three percentage points below the South’s rate at 13.6%.
Louisiana had the highest average poverty rate in the country for 2017-2018 at 19.8%, or almost one in five people. The lowest average poverty rate was New Hampshire's 6.6%.
In 2018, about 566,000 fewer Midwesterners were in poverty than the year before, according to the data. That amounts to about a 1% drop.
The U.S. Census Bureau has not yet released new poverty data on a county or metropolitan level.