* The Southern takes a look at poverty in nine deep-south Illinois counties: Gallatin, Hardin, Pope, Massac, Pulaski, Alexander, Johnson, Union and Saline…
• According to Fahe, an organization dedicated to the elimination of poverty in Appalachia, the average poverty rate of the counties that make up the Appalachian region is 19.7 percent. The average poverty rate for the nine Illinois counties that constitute the Illinois Ohio River Valley region is 19.9 percent, as of the 2015 U.S. Census estimates.
• In four of the nine counties, the poverty rates are above 20 percent. They are Alexander, at 34 percent; Saline County, at 23 percent; Hardin, 21 percent; and Pulaski 20 percent. […]
• Seven school districts had a student population loss of greater than 10 percent between 2013 and 2017: Buncombe (Johnson County), at 22 percent; Meridian (Pulaski County), at 20 percent; Cairo (Alexander County), at 17 percent; Egyptian (Pulaski County) and Shawnee (Union County), at 16 percent each; Cobden (Union County) and Century (Pulaski County), at 13 percent each. […]
• The opioid epidemic is hitting Southern Illinois harder than any other region in the state. Seven of the nine counties — Hardin, Pope, Saline, Gallatin, Massac, Union and Alexander — ranked in the top 10 in terms of Schedule II opioid prescriptions per patient in 2016, according to a recent report by the Belleville News-Democrat, which cited data from the Illinois Prescription Monitoring Program. Four of those counties were in the top five: Hardin, at 3.51 prescriptions per patient; Pope, at 3.16; Saline, at 2.99; and Gallatin, at 2.97. […]
• Child abuse and neglect rates are well above the statewide rate in all nine counties, and double or more the statewide rate in the counties of Alexander, Hardin, Massac, Saline and Gallatin, according to the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
• Child sexual abuse rates are triple the statewide rate in Alexander, Hardin, Gallatin and Saline.
Go read the whole thing.