A diverse range of cultures in DuPage County.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 18.9% of DuPage County residents (176,000) are foreign-born, which is higher than the national average of 13.7%. This large immigrant population has produced a rich palette of languages across the county.
In 2018, 26.5% (232,282) residents spoke a language other than English at home, of which 80,641 spoke English “less than very well or not at all.” Within the foreign-born population, 40% (59,190) spoke English less than well or not at all, and 20% of households had limited English ability.
Our community’s surprising educational gaps and poverty rates.
The educational attainment of county residents 18-24 (82,240) reveals that 7,763 have less than a high school diploma and for those 25 and older (632,012) that 47,981 have less than a high school diploma (source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey). Further, in the 2018 Impact DuPage survey, over 70% of low-income respondents indicated challenges in finding suitable full-time employment and housing. They also needed assistance with job training, child care, and transportation to achieve self-sufficiency. When asked, “What do you believe causes poverty?” the top answer was “lack of education.”
From 2010 to 2017, the overall poverty rate in DuPage County grew from 3.8% to 6.2%. The poverty rate for the DuPage County Hispanic/Latino population was much higher at 12.2% and 18.3% for Latino children. The Black/African American poverty rate was 20.1%, and Asian was 7.3%. Forty thousand foreign-born residents were under 200% of the federal poverty level (source: 2017 American Community Survey 5-year Estimates).
In 2020, the median household income for DuPage County was $92,809, while the annual average income for a student in the Literacy DuPage program is $27,519. Eighty-eight percent of Literacy DuPage students are low to extremely low-income, with 38% receiving social service benefits. Twenty-six percent of learners have less than a 12th-grade education from their country of origin.
Literacy DuPage aims to break the cycle of adults with low literacy living in poverty while struggling to find work, remain healthy, and support their families.
Since 1972, Literacy DuPage has served immigrants, refugees, and/or economically disadvantaged adults seeking to improve their English comprehension, listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. The program’s impact is a proven long-term solution that bridges limited opportunities and thriving in the U.S. by gaining life skills to achieve goals like obtaining and retaining jobs, gaining citizenship, increasing financial and health literacy, or reading to children.
Literacy DuPage is the only DuPage County organization that provides accessible and customized one-to-one adult instruction. It allows learners the flexibility to determine their own schedules and meeting places for instruction.
With Literacy DuPage, students and tutors work together to overcome challenges.
Literacy DuPage learners are adult men and women of all ages, nationalities, and socioeconomic backgrounds who live in DuPage County. They all have hopes and dreams. They wish to be self-sufficient individuals, productive employees, involved parents, connected neighbors, and informed citizens.
The instruction is customized to the learner’s needs. The learner chooses specific goals — such as understanding street signs, deciphering prescription labels, reading mail, telling bedtime stories, or applying for a job — and the tutor offers practical language instruction to help the learner achieve those goals. This highly personalized approach produces results, builds relationships, and strengthens families and communities.