Families with young children more likely to face economic challenges, survey finds

Families with young children are more likely to face economic challenges than others in Wisconsin, according to an analysis of UW-Madison survey data. 

The university yesterday announced survey results from the La Follette School of Public Affairs, which found more than a third of surveyed families with young children struggle to cover monthly expenses, compared to less than a quarter of other households. 

Meanwhile, 60% of families with young children said they weren’t confident they can handle an unexpected expense. For other households, the rate was 50%. 

And 40% of families with young children say food insecurity is a concern, compared to 25% for all respondents. For low-income young families, the rate is near 66%, according to the university’s release.  

Results come from the WisconSays/La Follette Survey, part of an opinion panel launched by the UW-Madison Survey Center in summer 2023. More than 3,500 state residents are enrolled in the state wide panel, the release shows. 

The analysis was conducted by UW-Madison Prof. Sarah Halpern-Meekin, who found inflation and wealth inequality were the top two concerns for families with young children. 

These families had similar levels of concern about income inequality as other households — 47% compared to 50%, respectively — but 75% pointed to inflation as a concern, versus 63% for others. 

 “While inflation has been coming down recently, these survey results show the price pressures families with young children have been under over the past several years,” Halpern-Meekin said in the release. “The early childhood period is one that comes with a lot of expenses for families, so they have felt the crunch of higher prices.”

See more on the survey.

–By Alex Moe