Thursday, October 24, 2013

Recovery from Recession Going Slowly, Shows New County-Level Analysis from WCCF

Many residents of Wisconsin have yet to fully rebound from the impact of the recession that began five years ago, according to a new county-level analysis released today by the Wisconsin Council on Children and Families.

A typical Wisconsin household earned less money in 2012 than it did before the recession, according to the analysis. In several counties, such as Rock, Outagamie, and Walworth, a typical household earned as much as $8,000 less in 2012 than it did in 2008.

Poverty rates also rose dramatically between 2008 and 2012 in every county, according to the analysis. Milwaukee County has the largest number of poor residents – 208,600 people in 2012 – but in many counties, the number of people living in poverty as jumped alarmingly. For example, the number of people living in poverty in Brown County rose by more than 10,000 over this period, and by 4,600 in Eau Claire County.

The number of Wisconsin residents with private health insurance continues to decline, according to the analysis. An estimated 210,000 Wisconsinites lost their private insurance coverage between 2008 and 2012, including 64,100 Milwaukee County residents. In spite of that erosion, Wisconsin’s uninsured rate remained essentially the same, thanks to the ability of the state’s excellent BadgerCare program to pick up much of the slack.

Fortunately, there are some steps we can take to help Wisconsin families pull themselves up out of poverty and improve their access to health insurance. Wisconsin lawmakers should boost the minimum wage, make key investments in early education, and effectively implement the new insurance options in the federal health care reform law.

For more information on economic well-being and access to health insurance for residents of different Wisconsin counties, go here to access the fact sheets that WCCF has put together for 21 counties and for the state.

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