September 20, 2016

All about Poverty in Wisconsin, in Five Charts

The typical Wisconsin family was better off in 2015 than in 2014, but Wisconsin residents still earn less than they did before the recession. That’s the gist of new poverty and income figures for 2015 that were released by the U.S. Census Bureau this month, giving us a better picture of who in Wisconsin lives in poverty and how that has changed over time.

Here are five charts drawn from the Census data that show how poverty affects Wisconsin residents.

1.  The recession is over, but the number of people living in poverty hasn’t fallen to pre-recession levels. Wisconsin still has tens of thousands more people in poverty than we did in 2007. The number of people in poverty fell between 2014 and 2015, but we still have a long ways to go.

Years after recession is over, poverty rates stay high in Wisconsin



2.  Children are more likely to be in poverty than the rest of the population. About 1 out of every 6 Wisconsin children lived in poverty last year, compared to 1 out of every 8 people in the population as a whole.

Poverty rates


3.  Wisconsin residents in poverty mostly have high school degrees, live outside of Milwaukee County, and are white. Half of them worked, and a significant share of them lived in extreme poverty. Nearly one-third of Wisconsin residents in poverty are children.

Share of people in poverty who...


4.  Wisconsin families face extreme economic disparities based on race. Wisconsin residents who are black are three and a half times more likely than white residents to live in poverty. Residents of other races are also more likely than white residents to live in poverty.

Poverty by race


5.  Incomes are lower for households of color in Wisconsin than for white ones. For example, the income of a typical black household was less than half that of a white household.

MHI by race


Go here for more information about poverty in Wisconsin and how to tackle it: Despite Impressive Gains in 2015, New Census Data Show Need for Improvement. For a pdf document with all the charts, go here.

Tamarine Cornelius