The number of Wisconsin children living in poverty has risen dramatically since the recession and stayed high, according to recent numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau.
In 2014, nearly a quarter of a million children in Wisconsin lived below the poverty line, meaning their families did not earn enough to provide for basic necessities. That represents an increase of about 48,000 children compared to the number that lived in poverty in 2007. Put another way, the increase over the last seven years in the number of children living in poverty could fill the University of Wisconsin’s Kohl Center nearly three times over.
The younger the child, the more likely they are to live in poverty. More than 1 out of 6 children in Wisconsin lived in poverty last year, but that figure rose to more than 1 out of 3 for children under five years old.
The costs of child poverty are high, and we all pay the price. In order for Wisconsin to build a strong economy with broadly-shared growth, we need to make sure the future generation of workers is well-educated and healthy. But Wisconsin children who grow up in poverty are more likely to drop out of school, engage in risky behaviors, and have a wide range of chronic health problems like asthma. As long as our rates of child poverty remain high, Wisconsin risks not having the skilled, healthy workforce we need to build the kind of economic growth that can benefit everyone.
Wisconsin Council on Children and Families and the Wisconsin Budget Project have released several publications that that help make sense of new figures on poverty and income that were released by the Census Bureau last week, including:
- Infographic: Poverty in Wisconsin
- Press release: Number of Poor Wisconsinites Remain High, Income Gains Not Widely Shared
- Report: New Census Data Won’t Fully Reflect Health Insurance Gains
- Blog post: Census Figures Show Income Growth Isn’t Widely Shared
- Blog post: Census Figures Show Unprecedented Gains in Insurance Coverage