UW-Madison: New analysis shows Wisconsin poverty on the upswing

CONTACT: Malia Jones, [email protected], (608) 262-9529

MADISON – Poverty in Wisconsin hit its highest level in 30 years during a five-year period that ended in 2014, according to a new analysis by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Applied Population Laboratory.

“The data tell us that poverty has been getting worse in Wisconsin,” says Malia Jones, an assistant scientist and social epidemiologist at the lab. “Poverty went up significantly, even during a time when the nation’s economy was improving.”

The analysis compared U.S. Census Bureau data from 2005-09 to numbers from 2010-14 and found that the number of state residents living in poverty hit 13 percent during the five years ending in 2014 – the highest rate since 1984.

During the most recent five-year span, poverty increased significantly in 31 of 72 Wisconsin counties, including 11 of the 15 most populous counties. Estimates show that about 738,000 Wisconsin residents were living in poverty, compared to 605,000 in the previous five-year period.

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