February 29, 2016

Wisconsin Poverty Rates Highest in 30 years; Particular Impact on Children

A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article on Wisconsin poverty rates shows that the number of Wisconsin residents living in poverty averaged 13% across the 2010-2014 post-recession time frame — the highest since 1984, according to the analysis by UW-Madison’s Applied Population Laboratory.  

But for children, it’s even worse. Nearly one in five Wisconsin children was living in poverty during the 2010-2014 period — 239,000 children in all, or 18.5% of all children. The children’s poverty rate is up significantly from 14.6% in 2005-2009.  Only 10 states had faster rates of increase in child poverty than Wisconsin.


Menominee county has the highest poverty rate for children:  44.8%. No county had a significant decline in child poverty.

According to the article:  “Milwaukee County, the state’s largest urban center, went from 26.4% to 33% child poverty and is now tied for second highest with Sawyer County in northern Wisconsin, where Hayward is located.

Other Wisconsin counties with child poverty rates above the national average (21.9%) for 2010-2014 included: Kenosha, Rock, Vilas, Forest, Adams, Clark, Vernon, Monroe, Burnett, Ashland, Rusk and Jackson.”

These trends are troubling. Nearly one in every five children in Wisconsin lives in poverty.

Dave Edie