ETI Publications

Document Type

Technical Paper

Publication Date



This working paper analyzes recently released estimates of poverty and economic conditions data from the U.S. Census Bureau 2009 American Community Survey. These data are used along with local and state administrative data files to help residents and public officials address concerns related to poverty, employment and education for residents of Milwaukee and the state. Poverty is a most serious statewide problem with 1 out of 8 Wisconsin residents living in poverty, according to the 2009 ACS. In Milwaukee 1 in 4 residents was living in poverty in the 12 months prior to the ACS survey. In Racine, Eau Claire and Madison 1 in 5 residents was living in poverty, and in Kenosha and Green Bay 1 in 6 residents was estimated to be living in poverty. What makes Milwaukee unique is the isolation of the urban poor in the central city. The city of Milwaukee houses 73% of the 4-county area’s poor residents compared to 33% of residents with incomes not below the poverty line. Of the large cities and their MSAs examined, Milwaukee was one of the cities with very high differences between its share of the metro area poor residents vs. its share of the metro area non-poor population.