The purpose of this paper is to examine the geography of poverty in the state of Illinois and to use these empirical results as a basis for classroom discussions and exercises intended to involve students in the current debate on poverty. Although poverty is generally associated with inner city locations, our results indicate that poverty levels are higher in rural areas, particularly those that are not adjacent to metropolitan locations. The prevalence of low-wage employment and the growing number of single-parent families in rural areas are closely linked to increased poverty. Student surveys and the presentation of data were successful in generating discussion among undergraduate students at Western Illinois University. Student comments revealed a high degree of concern about poverty and sensitivity to the circumstances of the poor.
- Political geography