ETI Publications

Document Type

Technical Paper

Publication Date



One of the most critical labor force problems facing Milwaukee’s “working poor” families is the lack of steady, good paying jobs available for single mothers raising children. This report provides an update on the income reported by Milwaukee County family tax filers (with dependents) and analyzes Wisconsin tax records for family filers’ 2011 income in 9 central city Milwaukee zipcodes compared with prior years before the recession. Census data on occupations of Milwaukee County single mothers with preschool and school age children are examined to help explain the low and intermittent earnings of many family heads. The Wisconsin earned income tax credit was established in the 1980s to help lower income employed families. Under state legislation passed in 2011, EITC payments were reduced for families with two or more children. As a result, Milwaukee County families saw a $7.7 million loss in credit income. Inner city Milwaukee “working poor” single parents took the brunt of the state-legislated cuts with their credits dropping by 26% (from $15.1 million in 2010 to $11.2 million in 2011).