Statistics show recession pushed more Wisconsin families into povertyA new study sheds some light on how the recession affected children in Wisconsin.
By: By Patty Murray, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A new study sheds some light on how the recession affected children in Wisconsin. The Annie E. Casey Foundation says more children are living at or below the poverty rate. And more of them are living in places where many of their neighbors are in the same situation.
The study compares census data from the most recent, 2010 count with that from 2007. What changed from before and after the recession? Bob Jacobson says the state's child poverty rate jumped five points, it's now 19 percent.
Jacobson is a spokesman for the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families. He says the effects of growing up in a poor household can be life-lasting.
"Growing up in a neighborhood or community where a whole lot of people are poor is even worse as contrasted to someone who grows up poor where most people are middle class,” Jacobson said. “It's not good but you're more likely to have access to things like high quality childcare, transportation options and most importantly jobs."
Milwaukee has the states' most highly concentrated poor neighborhoods. Jacobson says the city ranks fourth highest in the nation. He says the city's number of children living in poverty rose by 8 percentage points. While it still has the most people living in poverty, Jacobson says Milwaukee didn't see the biggest overall increase.
"That was dwarfed by what we saw in other places,” he said. “Fond Du Lac County we saw a jump of 6.6 percent up to 18 percent."
That's a 12 percentage point jump. Jefferson County's poverty rate went up by 16-percentage points between 2007 and 2010. Jacobson says it is harder to gauge concentrations of poverty in rural areas than it is in urban centers.