America’s Central Port

The America’s Central Port District needed to conduct a review of existing economic conditions in the area surrounding the Port in Granite City, Illinois. The Port had a need to determine whether or not this subject area would indeed qualify as “distressed.” Since the “distressed” designation has implications for economic development projects, loans, and grants, the study was designed to help determine if the area in which the Port is situated qualifies as a distressed area.

The determination of whether a metropolitan area or county subdivision is distressed was made by the examination of four factors:

  • Poverty Rate (the percent of the population in poverty)
  • Per Capita Income (average income of all individuals within an area)
  • Education Level (percent of population 25 years or older with a college degree)
  • Unemployment Rate (percent of available workers currently not employed)

These four factors were examined within the Study Area and compared to other related areas; the St. Louis Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), the State of Illinois as a whole, and the United States as a whole. If three or more factors were found to be worse within the Study Area than within the related areas, then the Study Area would qualify as distressed. The statistics used to determine the qualifications of the Study included data from the U.S. Census and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

In summary, it was found that the America’s Central Port District Study Area contains conditions that qualify it as a distressed area, and that those conditions exist to a significant extent throughout the Area of study. The Area itself stands in contrast to the United States and Illinois as a whole, as well as the surrounding Metropolitan Areas. It is found that all four of the criteria which are used to qualify an Area as distressed are met. This study played a significant role in obtaining an $8M TIGER grant for construction of the Port’s new harbor project slated for construction this year.