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Gap between rich and poor growing

By Pam G. Dempsey/CU-CitizenAccess - The gap between Champaign County's rich and poor has grown over the past three years, new data shows.

An analysis of new data released from the Census Bureau on Sept. 28 shows an increase of 28 percent for those county households earning $100,000 or more between 2006 and 2009 and a decrease of more than 10 percent in those county households earning between $45,000 and $99,000.

The percent of county households with an income below the poverty level increased by nearly 13 percent over 2006, according to the data.

Further, the percentage of Champaign County renters who pay more than 30 percent of their income to housing costs increased over 2006. The National Low Income Housing Council defines unaffordable housing as rent and utility costs that exceed 30 percent of a household's monthly income.

The biggest change over 2006 is the number of Champaign County renter-occupied households who pay between 40 and 49 percent of their income to housing costs.

In 2006, nearly 1,500 renter-occupied households paid between 40 and 49 percent of their income to rent and utility costs. By 2009, more than 3,500 renter-occupied households paid between 40 and 49 percent of their income to rent and utility costs.

"The numbers from the most recent ACS are not too surprising given the high unemployment rates and rising rents across the country," said NLIHC Research Director Danilo Pelletiere in a release. "We expected to see another year of increases in the number of households struggling to stay in their homes and make ends meet "¦"

Number and percent change between 2006 and 2009 in household income in Champaign County:

"¢ Below poverty level: 25,500 people (12.94 percent increase)

"¢ Between $25,000 and $44,999: 16,400 people (6.69 percent increase)

"¢ Between $45,000 and $99,000: 23,300 people (-10.38 percent decrease)

"¢ Above $100,000: 12,800 people (28.07 percent increase)

Number and percent change between 2006 and 2009 in household income in Champaign:

"¢ Below poverty level: 11,900 people (20.12 percent increase)

"¢ Between $25,000 and $44,999: 5,740 people (-4.12 percent decrease)

"¢ Between $45,000 and $99,000: 8,568 people (2.02 percent increase)

"¢ Above $100,000: 4,900 people (27.78 percent increase)

Number and percent change in amount of household income use to pay for housing costs in Champaign County:

"¢ Between 0 and 29 percent of household income: 11,970 households (-2.45 percent decrease)

"¢ Between 30 to 35 percent of household income: 2,420 households (-12.51 percent decrease)

"¢ Between 35 and 39 percent of household income: 2,330 households (23.36 percent increase)

"¢ Between 40 and 49 percent of household income: 3,540 households (136.6 percent increase)

"¢ 50 percent or more of household income: 12,829 households (21.17 percent increase)

Number and percent change in amount of household income use to pay for housing costs in Champaign:

"¢ Between 0 and 29 percent of household income: 5,450 households (6.98 percent increase)

"¢ Between 30 to 35 percent of household income: 650 households (-56.49 percent decrease)

"¢ Between 35 and 39 percent of household income: 1,365 households (72.4 percent increase)

"¢ Between 40 and 49 percent of household income: 1,430 households (113.43 percent increase)

"¢ 50 percent or more of household income: 7,027 households (25.87 percent increase)

Source: 2009 and 2006 American Community Survey, U.S. Census Bureau

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