University of Illinois Extension’s Community and Economic Development team will host a webinar, Local Efficiency Assessment Program (LEAP), presented by Norm Walzer and Andy Blanke of the NIU Center for Governmental Studies on Thursday, February 7, 2019 at Noon (CST). This webinar will address Illinois' shifting demographics, such as a decrease in rural populations, an increase in the proportion of elderly who will require more services, higher per capita property taxes, and more. Discussions will cover ways that local governments can adapt to these shifts, such as reducing the costs of public services and property taxes and using technology, and will include a larger discussion on how local governments can prepare financially, logistically, and realistically for the next five to ten years. REGISTER HERE
For the past few years, The Hamilton Project has released an annual report characterizing poverty in America. Describing who is poor is critical for making anti-poverty policy and directly relevant to determining eligibility for means-tested programs. In 2017, 12.3% of the population—39.7 million people—lived in poverty, as defined by the official poverty measure. The share of the population living in poverty was statistically significantly lower in 2017 than in 2016 by 0.4 percentage points. About a third of those living in poverty in 2017 were children, about an eighth were senior citizens, and more than half were working-age (18- to 64-year-olds) adults. There were a few notable shifts in the composition of who is poor from 2016 to 2017, including among working-age labor force participants (-1.1 percentage points change in share of those living in poverty) and children (-.4 percentage points change in share). By contrast, students (+.6 percentage points), seniors (+.5 percentage points), and early retirees (+.4 percentage points) all became slightly larger portions of the total population living in poverty.
Older people want to stay in their homes as they age. But a recent survey finds that when it becomes time to stop driving, they don’t know what their options are. A survey by the National Aging and Disability Transportation Center found that 68% of adults 60 and older who they polled said it would be hard to find alternative transportation if they stopped driving. The poll also included younger disabled people, with 80% responding that it would be difficult to find alternatives. Virginia Dize, co-director of the center, said the survey reveals the “great need” to provide for both older people and those with disabilities. The NADTC survey found that 49% of older people who have given up driving in small towns said they had “good” or “excellent” alternatives, compared to 62% of non-drivers in more populated places. Respondents who had stopped driving reported that this new reality kept them from activities they needed or wanted to engage in. They also described feeling dependent on others, isolated and frustrated by their loss of independence.
University of Illinois Professor Marcelo Garcia and post-doctoral research associate Hao Luo are working with researchers from Northwestern University and Argonne National Laboratory to mitigate the effects of extreme weather events on cities across the globe. The team recently received a National Science Foundation grant for their project, Systems Approaches for Vulnerable Evaluation and Urban Resilience (SAVEUR), to more accurately predict extreme weather events and reduce impacts at the neighborhood level. SAVEUR will combine natural science, social science, data science and engineering to more accurately predict weather events such as heat waves, air quality and flooding, and assess vulnerabilities within neighborhoods and cities and propose sustainable, adaptive infrastructure changes. The City of Chicago, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD), The Nature Conservancy, and Chicago Park District are partners in this work. The project will address: improving resolution of extreme weather, improving prediction of air quality at a neighborhood scale, improving prediction of flooding at a neighborhood scale, assessing social and economic impacts, and developing a new convergence framework to reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events. By implementing these processes, researchers also hope to facilitate public discussion and better prepare community members for extreme weather events.