$500 Per Person Basic Income Experiment In Progress In Illinois

Image for article titled One of the nation's largest basic income experiments is underway

Photo: Kamil Krzaczynsi (Getty Images)

Illinois’ Cook County, which includes Chicago, has has opened applications for one of the largest Guaranteed Basic Income pilot projects in the United States to date.

Starting this week, Cook County residents can apply to become one of 3,250 households who will receive monthly, non-strings-attached payments of $500 as part of his “Guaranteed income pilot project.” Payments will be spread over two years and total $42 million. Once payment has begun, Cook County and Los Angeles County—the two largest in the United States— will both have active programs measuring the effectiveness of basic income. The results of these pilots could play an important role in the development of future basic income frameworks at the state and possibly even the federal level.

Cook County officials hope the pilot can improve financial and health outcomes for participants and provide new insights into the impacts of direct cash payments for individuals and their communities. According to the program’s website, the pilot is limited to residents over the age of 18 whose household income is at or below 250% of the federal poverty level. This income restriction technically prevents the Cook County program from meeting the definition of best known”universal basic income”, although the general concept here is quite similar. Notably, the program is eligible for residents regardless of their citizenship status. Researchers from the University of Chicago’s Economy Lab will analyze the data collected during the pilot project.

“After months of hard work, Cook County is proud to launch the app portal for the largest publicly funded guaranteed income pilot project in American history,” said the chairman of the board. Cook County administration Toni Preckwinkle in a statement. statement. “We estimate that approximately 36% of Cook County residents will be eligible to participate, and I encourage anyone who meets the requirements to apply.”

The Cook County effort follows a landmark successful Guaranteed Income experiment in Stockton, Calif., last year. This program, which began in 2019, gave $500 a month to 125 residents living in neighborhoods below the city’s median household income. Basically, these funds were disbursed with no strings attached, so that residents can spend it as they see fit. After a full year, researchers determined that recipients had found full-time employment at more than double the rate of those who had not received the funds. Beneficiaries also tended to improve their financial, physical and emotional health.

“SEED has given people the dignity to make their own choices, the ability to live up to their potential and to improve economic stability in the turmoil of the pandemic,” said the former mayor of Stockton, Michael Tubbs, in a statement. Since then, counties near Los Angeles, Oaklandand Boston have all started conducting their own guaranteed income trials and experiments. In the case of LA Country, 1,000 residents are expected receive significantly higher monthly payments of $1,000 for three years.

Universal basic income isn’t a particularly new idea, but it received renewed attention in the last presidential election cycle when Democratic dark horse candidate Andrew Yang made it the focus of his platform. form. Yang failed to advance then failed again in the New York mayoral election. Now, like so many others 21st century burnoutsYang mostly went to shilling for cryptobut the interest in UBI lives.

In 2020, a slim majority (55%) of American voters polled in a Hill-Harris X survey said they support universal basic income, a figure up 12 percentage points from the previous year. That poll saw particularly strong support among young voters who identified as Democrats. Another survey conducted around the same time by Pew Research, however, found that a slight majority (54%) of American adults said they opposite basic income.

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