2020 Racial and Ethnic Demographics Data (RED) Report

Message from the Secretary

Dear IDHS Customers, Stakeholders, Honorable Members of the General Assembly, and Illinois Residents,

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) provides Illinois residents with streamlined access to integrated services, especially to those who are striving to achieve economic independence, and to those who face multiple challenges to self-sufficiency. We seek to do this with an equity lens, ensuring equitable access to social and human services, supports, programs, and resources to enhance the lives of all the people we serve. Part of having an equity lens is collecting and analyzing information on who we are serving, and using that information to inform, when/where needed, how to extend our services to people and communities who may be underserved. Public Act 100-0275 is one tool in the toolbox that helps us achieve that.

Since January 1, 2018, [Public Act 100-0275] has required IDHS to collect and publicly report statistical data on the racial, ethnic, and demographic characteristics of program participants for each program administered by IDHS. As per Public Act 100-0275, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) is submitting this 2020 Racial and Ethnic Demographics Data (RED) Report. In addition to racial, ethnic, and demographics data for IDHS customers, this report provides an overview of the IDHS program divisions, and the programs and services IDHS offers. This report also highlights some of the challenges and successes associated with this data collection process.

IDHS serves millions of customers across five program divisions --Developmental Disabilities; Family and Community Services; Mental Health; Rehabilitation Services; and Substance Use Prevention and Recovery. IDHS program divisions collect data for different programs in different ways, but are largely guided by individual program guidelines. This means that there is no standard, department-wide data collection process. Additionally, IDHS uses multiple data collection systems that are often antiquated and that are not designed to work together. Having no standard data collection process and no department-wide data collection and analysis system has resulted in a series of challenges that has impacted the timeliness of this report. Despite these challenges, IDHS is committed to meeting both the spirit and the letter of this mandate, and to confronting and mitigating these challenges to improve our data gathering efforts. We will work on short-term improvements to our data gathering strategies, while also working on longer-term data collection and management solutions.

IDHS understands and supports the intent of this legislative requirement, and we are committed to developing short-term and long-term data collection strategies, policies, and practices that align with overarching efforts of other state agencies and the Office of the Governor to gather and report this information. We recognize that RED data will help us to quantify disparities and to inform our improvement efforts. It will also help us track the evolving human services needs of different communities and populations. Acknowledging our internal data collection challenges, we are providing this preliminary report, although it only provides a partial picture of our customer population. We recognize this falls short of the stated data collection requirements, but are providing this information as a first step in the right direction.

As we embark on the journey of enhanced data collection and accountability amidst the shifting landscape of human services, we invite you to periodically visit this website as additional RED data will be analyzed and reported on a yearly (fiscal year) basis. We deeply appreciate your continued support. Thank you.

In partnership and service,


Section 1 - Introduction


Public Act 100-275 requires IDHS to collect and report ethnic and racial demographic data across all divisions and programs. Given IDHS's commitment to building an equitable system for all people of Illinois, data collection is one step in a process that helps us to understand who is accessing IDHS services and where those services are being provided. Ideally, further analysis of this data, coupled with general population data, will help us to see what populations are represented in our service population, and whether there are groups that are underrepresented. This will begin to provide a roadmap for how we can ensure equitable access to IDHS services and supports. IDHS manages multiple divisions and programs, including an array of federal grants that have various reporting structures and requirements. Despite the various complexities and challenges associated with those differences, IDHS is committed to building robust and transparent data reporting systems.


Public Act 100-275 was signed in August 2017 with an effective date of January 1, 2018. The state law required DHS to "collect and publicly report statistical data on the racial and ethnic demographics of program participants for each program administered by the Department." The law provides a list of required classifications, allows that DHS may further define ("by rule") the classifications to be used, and allows that DHS programs subject to federal reporting requirements may use federal classifications, if they differ from those specified in the Act. It also required DHS to post this racial and ethnic information on the DHS website. The following is the text of P.A. 100-275.

AN ACT concerning State government.

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly:

Section 5. The Department of Human Services Act is amended by adding Section 1-70 as follows:

(20 ILCS 1305/1-70 new) Sec. 1-70. Uniform demographic data collection.

  1. The Department shall collect and publicly report statistical data on the racial and ethnic demographics of program participants for each program administered by the Department. Except as provided in subsection (b), when collecting the data required under this Section, the Department shall use the same racial and ethnic classifications for each program which shall include, but not be limited to, the following:
    1. American Indian and Alaska Native alone.
    2. Asian alone.
    3. Black or African American alone.
    4. Hispanic or Latino of any race.
    5. Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone.
    6. White alone.
    7. Some other race alone.
    8. Two or more race

The Department may further define, by rule, the racial and ethnic classifications provided in this Section.

  1. If a program administered by the Department is subject to federal reporting requirements that include the collection and public reporting of statistical data on the racial and ethnic demographics of program participants, the Department may maintain the same racial and ethnic classifications used under the federal requirements if such classifications differ from the classifications listed in subsection (a).
  2. The Department shall make all demographic information collected under this Section available to the public which at a minimum shall include posting the information for each program in a timely manner on the Department's official website. If the Department already has a mechanism or process in place to report information about program participation for any program administered by the Department, then the Department shall use that mechanism or process to include the demographic information collected under this Section. If the Department does not have a mechanism or process in place to report information about program participation for any program administered by the Department, then the Department shall create a mechanism or process to disseminate the demographic information collected under this Section.

(Source: P.A. 100-275, eff. 1-1-18; 100-863, eff. 8-14-18.)

Data Collection Efforts

Complete and consistent data collection and analysis is integral to fair and effective service provision, and also an important part of the work of advancing equity and racial justice. To ensure equity in access and equity in outcomes, IDHS must have a reliable set of data and information. IDHS is committed to reviewing and overhauling the current internal process to reflect a more universal standard of data collection and reporting, and to ensure compliance with PA 101-0654. Additionally, IDHS will work with external partners who collect data on behalf of the Department to make sure they align their data gathering processes with IDHS internal efforts and requirements.

Challenges to Address

  • Lack of universal intake document or process
  • Lack of standard, agency-wide reporting system
  • Competing federal data collection requirements and restrictions
  • Lack of accurate way to collect complete race data for smaller racial and ethnic groups
  • Duplicated counts for race and ethnicity (i.e., reporting ethnicity as Hispanic and race as Black)
  • Duplicated counts across programs and program Divisions
  • Inconsistent data gathering among external partners (i.e., other state agencies, community providers/partners)
  • Limited technical resources

Racial, Ethnic and Demographic Data, At-A-Glance

  • Total number of program divisions: 5
  • Total number of programs/services: 162
  • Total number of customers: 13,780,295 (duplicated count)
    • American Indian and Alaska Native alone: 21,544
    • Asian alone: 154,572
    • Black or African American alone: 1,588,207
    • Hispanic or Latino of any race (ethnic origin): 366,398
    • Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander alone: 15,488
    • White alone: 2,422,087
    • Some other race alone: 31,868
    • Two or more races: 22,729

The two largest IDHS programs are Medicaid and SNAP, which combined serve over 5,000,000 people.  Many of these customers are also accessing additional IDHS programs, which results in duplicated counts across Divisions and programs.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

IDHS, like many state agencies, has crafted a diversity, equity, and inclusion plan under the guidance of the Governor's Office. The Plan encompasses all offices and divisions of IDHS and reflects a strategic and iterative process to pursue equity and racial justice collectively and collaboratively. Our goal is to operate with an understanding of equity and racial justice that ensures equity in access to IDHS services and supports, and equity in outcomes for the communities relying on those supports. Part of the work of achieving this goal involves the collection of accurate and complete data on all IDHS programs, including racial, ethnic and demographic data. So, while this data collection process will ultimately satisfy the terms of PA 100-125, it will also be used to inform how IDHS staff works to ensure equity in access to IDHS programs, and our ability to track outcomes.

Moving forward, IDHS will continue to:

  • Work on internal data gathering standards;
  • Implement data gathering standards internally and with community partners on new reporting requirements;
  • Determine potential additional data points;
  • Coordinate with other state agencies to identify and secure needed information.

Section 2 - Program Divisions

IDHS has five program divisions that serve the communities of the state of Illinois. Please find below a summary of their work, highlights of customer data, and plans for a more robust data gathering process.