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Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 12:01 am

POVERTY RATES DOWN

A decline in poverty rates, food stamp recipients and citizens receiving public assistance in the area are a few reasons why the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce reported things are looking “brighter and brighter” for Springfield.

Poverty rates for the Springfield Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is made up of Sangamon and Menard Counties, decreased from about 16.8 percent in 2011 to about 14.3 percent in 2012, according to census bureau information. The numbers should factor in a 1.8 percent margin of error.

Although it may be hard to identify an exact reason behind the decline, the GSCC reported an increase in workforce numbers and household income may have something to do with it.

The median household income was reported to have increased in Springfield by 8.6 percent from $51,280 to $55,621 between 2011 and 2012. There was also a 7.6 percent drop in unemployed individuals, as participation in the area’s labor force increased from 111,541 to 112,773.

Food stamp recipients also declined in the area, as a 25 percent decrease was recorded between the 12,418 recipients in 2011 to the 9,301 in 2012. The number of those receiving public assistance also declined by about 0.6 percent.

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