Poverty in Wisconsin reaches its highest level in 30 years

Poverty has increased more dramatically in Wisconsin in recent years than in many other states, according to an analysis just released by University of Wisconsin researchers. UW-Madison’s Applied Population Laboratory says the number of people living in poverty reached 13% across the 5 years ending in 2014 — the highest poverty rate for the state of Wisconsin since 1984.

“Poverty in the 2010-2014 period increased significantly in 31 of the 72 Wisconsin counties, including 11 of our 15 most populous counties,” according to the analysis. “No county had a significant decrease in poverty. About 738,000 Wisconsin residents are now living in poverty, up from about 605,000 in the 5-year period ending in 2009.”

Other key points of the analysis were:

  • Nearly one in five children are now living in poverty.
  • Racial disparities in poverty are bigger in Wisconsin than in the US as a whole, and are growing faster.
  • Poverty increased across every level of educational achievement.
  • Poverty increased among both unemployed and employed adults.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted one of the researchers linking poverty to school performance:

“There is some good evidence that living in poverty and experiencing issues like food and housing insecurity can cause changes in the brain that can lead to behavioral issues and low performance in school, as well as chronic disease later in life,” said Malia Jones, an assistant scientist and social epidemiologist at UW-Madison’s Applied Population Laboratory.

Read the official summary of the analysis:

PovertyAnalysis_600px

Read more in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Poverty across Wisconsin highest in 30 years

Poverty in Wisconsin hit its highest level in 30 years during the five-year period ending in 2014, even as the nation’s economy was recovering from the Great Recession, according to a trend analysis of U.S. census data just released by University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers.

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