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Study: Many Wisconsin families “treading water” financially

MADISON (WKOW) — The latest numbers show Wisconsin’s unemployment rate continues to improve. According to data from the state, the jobless rate is now 2.8%. It has decreased since 2009, when it reached nearly nine percent during the Great Recession.

However, an annual study of poverty completed by the Institute for Poverty Research at UW-Madison shows despite economic growth in the state many families are “treading water” financially.

Professor Timothy Smeeding says that is likely due to the rising cost of living in the state. Smeeding added that for many working parents, working more hours means increased child care expenses and spending more on gas and maintaining their vehicle.

Smeeding says tax credits for child care and buying food can help, but they’re not a solution for struggling families.

“It’s not delivering for poor families and workers,” Smeeding said of the economy. “We’re just treading water. The gains were important but they weren’t enough.”

The annual poverty study also found that child poverty rates are declining while elderly poverty rates are increasing.


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