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Poverty rates rise among area schoolkids

More kids in poverty

Changes in poverty rates for school-age children (ages 5 to 17) s

County/ 2007/ 2010

Kane/ 9.7 percent/ 15.4 percent

Kendall/ 4.3 percent/ 5.7 percent

DuPage/ 5.2 percent/ 7.9 percent

Will/ 6.2 percent/ 10.7 percent

McHenry/ 5.4 percent/ 8.5 percent

Lake/ 7.5 percent/ 10.6 percent

Cook/ 21 percent/ 23.9 percent

Source: U.S. Census

Updated: December 5, 2011 5:16PM

Poverty rates among school-age children have increased in Kane, Kendall, DuPage and all of the collar counties since the start of the recession, according to U.S. Census data released this week.

Of all the counties in the Chicago area, Kane saw the biggest jump in poverty rates among children ages 5 to 17 — from 9.7 percent in 2007 to 15.4 percent in 2010.

But only Cook County had a poverty rate in that age range above the 2010 national average of 19.8 percent. Cook County’s 2010 rate of 23.9 percent increased from 21 percent in 2007, according to the data.

Kendall County had the lowest poverty rate among school-age kids — 5.7 percent in 2010, up from 4.3 percent three years earlier.

Poverty often affects how well kids do in school, said Michael E. Wooley, an associate professor at the University of Maryland and specialist in school social work services.

“The more financial pressure on parents just to keep the heat and lights on and food on the table, the less able parents are to be available to kids in that respect,” Wooley said.

That means there’s a greater need for teachers and social workers to help identify poverty-stricken kids — to help their families access everything from food pantries to federal funding to pay for books, clothes and temporary housing, Wooley said.

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