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Median income in Wisconsin declined by more than 14 percent over last decade

The most recent census data shows the median income in Wisconsin declined by more than 14 percent over the last decade. That's a much steeper drop than the national average.

The most recent census data shows the median income in Wisconsin declined by more than 14 percent over the last decade. That's a much steeper drop than the national average.

Last year the median income in the state was $49,000. Adjusted for inflation, that's a drop of $8,000 over the past 10 years. Half of that drop came in the past four years. Nationally, median income dropped by only 9 percent for the decade. The director of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy says Wisconsin's dependence on manufacturing jobs explains that gap. Laura Dresser says the state has lost 150,000 manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

"Of every four workers that were in manufacturing in 2000, only three are in the labor market now in manufacturing jobs," she said. "It's harder for Wisconsin because we had more to start with we had more to lose and that is a shift against good median wage jobs in this state."

An analysis of the census data by the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families finds child poverty rates have also soared over the past three years in the state. The number of children living in poverty state wide is up by almost 5 percent. The biggest jump in the child poverty rate was in Jefferson County where it rose by more than 16 percent. The council also points to the racial disparity in the rise in poverty rates. Thirty-eight percent of black families earn below the poverty line compared to 10 percent of white families. The median household income for African Americans was just over $26,000 compared to $51,000 for white households.

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