Illinois is doing better at improving the lives of children, according to the new 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book.
But the report warns progress could be undermined by a 2020 Census under-count.
The annual snapshot of child well-being says an estimated 150 thousand Illinois children live in areas deemed by the census as "hard-to-count." The KIDS COUNT manager at Voices for Illinois Children, Anna Rowan, says if children are missed, the state could lose out on funding that provides critical supports for a healthy start in life.
"We're talking about Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program, Head Start grants, and grants for Title I schools and the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program. These are all vital programs for child well-being."
Illinois is 22nd nationally in the 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book, ranking in the top half of states in the areas of education and health.
Rowan says there are areas where Illinois could do better for its kids.
"Where we continue to struggle is in the area of economic security for our families. More than 500,000 children in Illinois live in poverty and almost one-in-three Illinois children lives in a household with a high housing-cost burden."
The report notes the under-count of young children has worsened with each census since 1980 and in 2010 had a national under-count of one million children under the age of five.