Woodstock Institute has a proud history of standing up against financial injustice and supporting lower-wealth communities and marginalized consumers. The interactive map highlights some of the economic disparities in Illinois. For example, Cook County has one of the higher median incomes, but it also has one of the highest poverty levels at 9.6 percent. The map allows users to further track income inequality trends at the census tract level.
New foreclosure filings, which are the first step in the foreclosure process, dropped to the lowest level since 2007 following months of sustained year-over-year declines, data from Woodstock Institute show. Foreclosure filings in the Chicago six county region decreased by nearly 40 percent from the first half of 2013 to the first half of 2014. Foreclosure auctions, which signify the completion of the foreclosure process, declined at a less dramatic pace, dropping just 16.7 percent over the same time period.
Aggregated by community area, ward, suburban region, and municipality, Woodstock's first half of 2013 through first half of 2014 foreclosure update offers community stakeholders the information they need to understand the scope of the problem and measure the success of their efforts.
On average, about two of every seven businesses in low-income, majority minority areas received small business loans—including business credit cards, lines of credit, and traditional loans of under $1 million—from large financial institutions with assets of more than $1 billion, according to the report, “Dis-Credited: Disparate Access to Credit for Businesses in the Chicago Six County Region.”
As a lending team manager for micro-lender Accion Chicago, I’ve met the people behind the statistics in the study: hard-working, entrepreneurial people who have the potential to generate jobs for their neighborhood, but struggle to find access to credit in a marketplace that favors bigger borrowers with fancier addresses.
“Businesses need affordable capital in order to grow, create jobs, and generate economic activity,” said Spencer Cowan, Vice President of Research at Woodstock Institute. “This research clearly shows that businesses in low-income and majority minority communities do not have the same opportunities to expand as businesses in high-income, majority white neighborhoods, potentially exacerbating the wealth gap and stifling entrepreneurship that could help rebuild distressed neighborhoods.”