Wisconsin Sees Highest Poverty Rates in 30 Years
Reports released by UW-Madison researchers show poverty in Wisconsin is at its highest level in 30 years. The number of Wisconsin residents living in poverty averaged 13 percent across the post-recession time frame; the highest rate since 1984. Oneida County UW-Extension Family Living Educator Sara Richie says the poverty rate in Oneida County in 2009 and 2013 was 10.7 percent but rose to 11.3 percent within the last couple of years where it remains the same. She says a single adult with 3 kids needs to make over $78,000 to support their family, but numbers show 73% of households in Oneida County make less than $75,000
“…some of that has to do with the type of work we have here; lots of manufacturing, we have a high number of people in healthcare, retail and a lot of those jobs don’t pay that well. Some just pay over minimum wage and it’s hard to make a living that way when you have expenses like rent, food, childcare; stuff like that…”
Richie says 16.5 percent of kids under 18 in Oneida County are living in poverty.
She says unemployment in Oneida County was at 4 percent in September 2015 but says because the Northwoods job market is seasonal it fluctuates. She says poverty rates went up at every level of education and the employment spectrum; not just those with low paying jobs or low levels of schooling.