In October 2020, The Institute for Research on Poverty University of Wisconsin-Madison published the 2018 Wisconsin Poverty Report. This was the Twelfth Annual Report of the Wisconsin Poverty Project and it came with some interesting findings.
The Wisconsin Poverty Measure was developed to show whether families in Wisconsin have the necessary income to meet their basic needs. There are three different measures used for estimating poverty. The three measures are: the market income poverty measure (MIP), which is based on market (private) income only; the Census Bureau’s official poverty measure (OPM), which adds in the value of public cash benefits; and the Wisconsin Poverty Measure (WPM), which takes into account not only cash benefits but also noncash benefits and taxes.
The report found that poverty in Wisconsin was at 10.6% in 2018, an increase from 10.2% in 2017. This finding is significant because this was also the longest economic expansion on record; therefore, poverty should be decreasing. The report determined that rising costs of child care and medical expenses contributed to higher poverty rates. Moreover, increasing payroll tax and limited income supports reduced the safety net’s (FoodShare, Medicaid, etc.) ability to pull Wisconsin households out of poverty.
A rise in poverty, especially for children, is disheartening. REACH Waupun recognizes and understands the barriers that can make it difficult for families to pull themselves out of poverty. We try to come alongside them to provide resources and programming that will not only bring about positive, lasting change in the lives of the children, but families overall. To learn more about our programming please visit our website at reachwaupun.org.
- Darian Schmitz