Walworth County's poverty rate tops 10 percent
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WALWORTH COUNTY Walworth County's poverty rate is 10.9 percent, slightly lower than the statewide average, according to a new report from the University of Wisconsin Extension.
Overall, Wisconsin's poverty rate is 11.1 percent, which is up from 8.7 percent in 2000.
Poverty rates in the majority of Wisconsin counties have risen by more than 10 percent in the last decade.
That's according to a new report from the University of Wisconsin Extension that used census data.
Burnett County in northwestern Wisconsin had the largest jump since the 2000 census, from 9 percent to 17 percent. The second largest rise was in Florence County, where the rate rose from 9 percent to 16 percent.
"An increasing proportion of Wisconsin residents are facing economic hardship," said the report's author, Katherine Curtis, demographic specialist at UW Extension and an assistant professor at UW-Madison. "These numbers suggest that economic development, including living wages, health benefits, food security and housing affordability should be front and center in policy discussions."
The report compared data from the 2000 census to new poverty figures from the U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey's five-year estimates from 2005 through 2009.
There were 10 counties with poverty rates higher than 15 percent, including Milwaukee County, where 18 percent of residents are impoverished, according to the report. The others were Ashland, Burnett, Dunn, Florence, Forest, Menominee, Sawyer, Rusk and Vernon.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that only Menominee and Milwaukee counties had rates that high in the last decennial census.
The lowest poverty rates were in Milwaukee County's suburbs. Waukesha and Ozaukee counties had poverty rates of about 4 percent, followed by Washington County at about 5 percent. Those counties also had the lowest rates in 2000.
The largest decrease was in Bayfield County, where the rate dropped two percentage points to about 11 percent. Other counties with declines included Pepin, at 0.7 percentage points; Lafayette, 0.6; and Iowa, 0.5.
The new data also showed the poverty rate was highest among blacks, with nearly 35 percent living in poverty, followed by American Indians at 27 percent and Hispanics at 23 percent.
Census officials were set to release Tuesday the latest population numbers that will determine whether any states gain or lose congressional seats for the next 10 years. Wisconsin has eight seats in the U.S. House and it's expected to be among the majority of states whose number of seats stays the same.