This is the fifth annual Report on Illinois Poverty. Since the 2000 report, poverty has both steadily increased and deepened. Illinois has 31% more people living in poverty than it did five years ago, amounting to an additional 373,000 people, larger than the population of St. Louis. Two years into the economic recovery Illinoisans are still confronted with high unemployment and sluggish job growth, and in 2003 Illinois experienced more layoffs than any other state in the nation. **In addition to a poor employment situation, Illinoisans are experiencing health care, housing, and transportation cost increases, making it increasingly difficult to meet basic needs. **This report looks at how population, economic, and basic needs issues are being affected by poverty in Illinois. Being aware of the problems people who are living in poverty face is the first step to understanding what solutions are best suited for the many different groups of people in Illinois. Promoting the development of economically stable communities within Illinois is in the best interest of the state as stable communities are healthier, more productive, and safer. We need to address these issues now so that in another five years, Illinois can boast a significant decrease in poverty.