Monday, January 19, 2009

Carbondale Poverty

I was doing some reading last night on the Census Bureau's website and found the number of people living below the poverty line in Carbondale stunning. 41% of the C'dale population, as of 1999, the most recent figure, are classified as living in poverty. In Jackson County, it's only 20% and in Williamson and Union counties, only 14%. The county figures are for 2004 so maybe it's due to the Carbondale data being older and things have improved since 1999?

Nope, if anything, they've gotten worse.

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Those graphs link to: ...which has some rather eye-opening comments about Carbondale, if you do a little searching. More than a few comments to the general effect that a college education is wasted if you're planning to stay in the area, or that its a poor location for a new business.

One of the more over-the-top comments:

"And let me mention the dirt, C'dale is so dirty, not so much as in garbage but nothin's new, no new construction, old homes rundown type dwelling, alot of nature on the ground, thay don't believe in raking, I hate it here soooooo much."

the number is high because a large part of the community is college students who don't make much if any money. They scew the percentile. One of the many issues that college towns have to deal with as well as undercounts in the census.
Wow. I didn't know about this... I mean I know Carbondale has its problems but I didn't know it was like this...
Do you suppose that every student, over 18, is living below the poverty line, based on income? If you do just a little research, you will find similar "problems" in college towns across this great land of ours.

Careful, you will be as knee jerk as the "Arbor District" brain trust, if you aren't careful. :)
I thought the same thing too which is why I looked at other college towns in Illinois before making the post. Off the top of my head, Quincy, Peoria, Dekalb and Champaign all have poverty levels of below 20%. Bloomington IN, which, much like Carbondale relies only on a college for it's economic base, still has poverty levels of under 30%.
Do students usually take the census, or are they counted by their parents, etc?
The jerkette who is mouthing off about the Arbor District should plug her pie hole.
Don't worry-- anonymous comments from disembodied voices hiding behind the internet are mostly ignored anyway!
Just a note on Scott's comments: Quincy has a college but is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a college town. Same is true of Peoria. Bradley and Quincy University are small private colleges -they certainly increase the population and enhance the culture of those towns to some degree, but there student populations are relatively insignificant in comparison to the non-student population of the communities.
Might be good to check Macomb.
DaveX: I did look at Macomb before I wrote the post but apparently the statistics for it (and Marion) aren't large enough for the Census Bureau to break out separately.

Jan 21 Anon: You're right and the reliance of C'dale on the university for its economic base, unlike, Peroria and Quincy, is a point I made in a column in this week's Carbondale Times.
Is that column online?
Not that I know of but the Times is free and found throughout town.
You mean I have to read it in MEATSPACE???
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