Wisconsin has nation’s widest gap in well-being between white and African-American children, report says

Wisconsin has the widest gap in well-being between white and African-American children, and other children of color face significant disparities as well, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

“The message remains … the well being of our white kids is in the top and the well being of our African-American kids is at the bottom,” said Ken Taylor, executive director of Kids Forward, the Wisconsin organization that released the report.

For Wisconsin to reach its full potential, every child, every family, and every community must thrive, according to the report, Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children, which highlights just how far Wisconsin lags in providing opportunities for children of color and children in immigrant families:

  • In Wisconsin, just 64% of African American students graduate high school on time, compared to 93% of white non-Hispanic students. Only 78% of Hispanic and American Indian students graduate on time.
  • 72% of white children in Wisconsin live in families that are economically secure compared to just 24% of African American children, 30% of Latino children, 31% of Hmong children, and 36% of American Indian children.
  • Wisconsin children in immigrant families are one third less likely to live in families who are economically secure (double the poverty level) than children in US-born families.
  • The 4th grade reading proficiency rate of Wisconsin children in US-born families is dramatically low, only 39%. That compares to an appallingly low rate of 9% of Wisconsin children in immigrant families.

Locally and nationally, policymakers have made it a priority to roll back programs and policies that provide opportunities for children and families, like public investments in education, affordable and accessible health care, and safety net programs. However, the new report shows divesting from these programs will create even larger gaps between Wisconsin’s white children and its children of color, and it will put the economic stability of the state in jeopardy.

This is the second Race for Results report by the Casey Foundation; the Foundation released the first report in 2014. The report measures children’s progress on the national and state levels on key education, health, and economic milestones by racial and ethnic groups. The report’s index uses a composite score of these milestones on a scale of one (lowest) to 1,000 (highest) to make comparisons.

Read the full report and two executive summaries written by Kids Forward by clicking here. The chart below provides an excellent visual of the status of child well-being in Wisconsin by race: