MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Poverty in Wisconsin continues to drop -- but the rates are still higher than before the Great Recession.
That's according to a new UW-Madison study, which found that 10.2 percent of state residents were in poverty as of 2012. That's much lower than the federal government's official rate of 12.8 percent.
The difference is that the UW study considers the impact of tax-funded benefits, like food assistance and refundable tax credits which don't require certain levels of income.
Timothy Smeeding of the UW Institute for Research on Poverty says Wisconsin has a safety net that enhances low earnings for families, puts food on the table, and encourages self-reliance. But the report said the safety net has shrunk due to the recovery, and cutbacks in recession related tax credits.
The UW said the 2012 poverty rate for children was 11 percent statewide, and just over six percent for the elderly.
The study said ten counties in northwest Wisconsin had poverty rates higher than the statewide figure -- and so did Milwaukee and Dane counties. Most counties in the eastern third of the state were better off than the state as a whole, along with much of west central Wisconsin.
(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)