Jersey County, Illinois

This profile presents Jersey County’s demographic characteristics, prioritized needs, key inputs from residents, and the partnership and funding landscape in the county.

Who Lives in Jersey County?

The following data highlight some important demographic information about the people who live in Jersey County:

Total Population 22,215

39% of the population live in urban areas

61% of the population live in rural areas

13% of the population live with a disability

Population in Poverty

Prioritized Needs

The Community Needs Assessment (CNA) began with listening through a public survey, focus groups, and individual interviews, and with a review of existing or secondary data. To identify and prioritize the needs in each county, the CNA researchers gave each topic (or need) a score using all of the data collected. The scores were assigned using these criteria: how many people were impacted; how great the racial disparity was; and if the need was a root cause (main reason) for a condition or outcome. These scores were also driven by how community members responded to the topic through the survey, focus groups, and interviews. Using the scores given by the CNA researchers, United Way ranked the top half of each county’s needs.

RankingTopic/NeedImpact Area
1JobsFinancial Stability
2Built EnvironmentStrengthen Communities
3K-12 Education and Out-of-School TimeFoster Learning
4TransportationProvide Food and Shelter
5*Access to HealthcareImprove Health
5*Housing SecurityProvide Food and Shelter
7Community BuildingStrengthen Communities
8Behavioral Health and Substance AbuseImprove Health
9Disaster Preparedness & ResponseStrengthen Communities
10Child WelfareFoster Learning
11*IncomeFinancial Stability
11*SafetyStrengthen Communities
*scores were tied

Community Engagement

The findings below highlight what was heard and learned from community members. The community engagement process included: gathering insight from residents on individual, family, and community needs through public surveys; perspective on community challenges and resources from local government and social services providers through focus groups; and in-depth accounts of individuals’ daily successes and challenges through one-on-one interviews. 

After CNA partners reviewed all collected data to identify a list of priority needs for each county (listed on the previous page), county residents were given the opportunity to identify the five needs they believed to be highest priority. Residents identified the following as highest priority needs:

  • Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse (4/7)*
  • Income (4/7)
  • Transportation (4/7)

*Number of community members who picked this topic / number of total community members who voted.

This community feedback was not used in the final needs prioritization because in many counties, the participant sample was not representative of the entire county. This is, however, important feedback to understand needs.

Resident Words

“Good schools and nice hospital. Improving parks and recreation services, but not many activities for teens and young adults outside of the school system. Employment opportunities limited to mainly entry level positions.” 

“Limited opportunities for growing families. Increasing issues with substance use and child security.”

A total of 55 responses for Jersey County were recorded through the public survey, focus group, and one-on-one interviews. For the public survey, one of the 44 participants was a person of color. The one-on-one interviews included six individuals, one who was a person of color. No demographic data was recorded for the five focus group participants.

Key takeaways from survey, interview, and focus groups in this county:

  • Jersey County residents are commonly concerned about natural disasters and environmental challenges. When survey participants were asked what they worry about most, 14 of 47 survey and interview participants shared concerns of frequent flooding and its effects, including pest infestation, land erosion, property damage, and job loss.
  • Though efforts have increased, disaster preparedness in the county is lacking. All five focus group participants agreed that there are little to no resources, shelter, or planning in place to respond to an emergency. Despite few formal protocols, interview participants shared pride in the community’s willingness to “pitch in” when disaster hits.
  • Many households had at least one expense unpaid or delayed in payment over the last year. For the 13 of 28 surveyed residents who noted missing payment on a bill in the last 12 months, more than half said they were late paying their gas and/or electric bills.
  • A more supportive community is what residents most commonly desire for the future of Jersey County. Sentiments of their community being more connected, closer, caring, and understanding were shared by 10 of 32 survey and interview participants who answered what they hope for Jersey County’s future.

Only one resident of color participated in the CNA engagement process through the public survey and one-on-one interviews. Due to the relatively low number of people of color in Jersey County and to protect the individual’s anonymity, the participant’s views have been represented in the above takeaways rather than shared separately.

Funding Analysis

The funding map tracked government and philanthropic grants of $50,000 or more awarded in fiscal year 2017. Grants were recorded in the county the terminal grantee is located in, not the terminal grantee’s service area, which may underrepresent grant funding in Jersey County. Click here to access Jersey County grants data.

In 2017, Jersey County received a total of $3.6 million in grant funding across 13 unique grants. These funds amounted to 0.2% of total regional funding and a per capita investment of $165.

Community Partnerships


While Jersey County does not have any community partnerships serving this county specifically, it is served by 43 regional and statewide partnerships.