U.S. Census report: College students boost Evanston’s poverty rate

Ciara McCarthy, Summer Reporter

Northwestern students may be making Evanton poorer, at least by the federal government’s count, according to new report from the U.S. Census.

The report, which was released Monday, shows that the city’s poverty rate drops 4 percentage points when off-campus college students are not counted. More than 13 percent of Evanston’s population is living below the poverty level, according to the report.

The report examined the effect of college students on the poverty rates of cities, counties and states across the country. The data showed that many communities with large student populations have diminished poverty rates when students are not considered.

Evanston was highlighted in the report as one of 20 small cities that demonstrated significant change in their poverty rate when students were taken out of the equation.

“Some of the places with the largest percentage point changes were smaller cities and towns,” statistician Alemayehu Bishaw wrote in a blog post on the U.S. Census website.

The report used demographic data from the American Community Survey from 2009 to 2011, and it did not consider the effect of college students who live with relatives or in dorms on campus.

Ciara McCarthy