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Data Research

Illinois Partners undertakes projects to provide rigorous, evidence-based research to inform lawmakers, policymakers, and the media as they work to create a financial and human services environment that benefits all state residents.

Comparing Efficiency Among Illinois Industries

It is not unknown that human service organizations have been financially pressed for decades – causing state officials, funders, and commentators to question the need for consolidation. The argument is that private sector industries create a leaner industry through consolidation. This research report aims to question this claim for the human service sector – is consolidation within the human service sector necessary? This study compares the efficiency of the private sector to that of the human service industries. In all, the comparison of the allocation of staff and salary across functions within firms, and comparison of the distribution of size of enterprises across Illinois industries, shows that human service providers operate as efficiently, and in some cases, more efficiently than do other Illinois industries. The research shows that smaller industries can thrive alongside larger, and efficiency is not necessarily created by aggregating the smaller units.

Establishments and Employment per Firm

Damage Done “Heat Maps”

Illinois’ budget impasse has been a disaster for our state’s human service infrastructure. The most respected and prominent human service providers are being forced out of our state, and entire programs are in danger of going extinct.

Our communities across the state depend on a strong base of nonprofit human service organizations to thrive and succeed but instead are facing dire risks due to depleted funds totaling $383 million. Many of our residents depend on a strong base of nonprofits that serve youth, persons with disabilities, children, or persons with mental health or substance use problems. Our interactive presentation, released August 2016, provides the first full and clear picture on a community-by-community level of the damage done in Illinois.

A “heat map” of affected providers

Declining Value of Human Services Reimbursements

Flat reimbursement rates have failed to keep pace with the economy, resulting in severe challenges for providers of human services, as our February 2016 report shows. Most service providers have little choice but to accept contracts that end up forcing them to cover the difference between what the State will pay for a service and what it actually costs to provide it. “We know human services providers will do everything in their power to keep their doors open, but … the situation has become dire and they are running out of options,” said Representative Elizabeth Hernandez. “When the time comes to balance the budget, cutting rates for human services is one of the easiest places to go.”

Failing to keep up

Human Services as an Economic Engine

Human services are everywhere. Providers in counties throughout the state make a major contribution to Illinois’s economy, generating $4.5 billion a year in spending – economic activity that generates some $597 million in state and local taxes, as our May 2016 report demonstrates. It is an industry full of small businesses, serving as an important job creator. Contrary to the public perception, many human services workers are well educated: 36% have a college degree. But they are poorly paid, making less than 2/3 of what workers overall with similar education earn in Illinois; and those rates.

Making an impact in your district


Research from our Partner Organizatons

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