- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

MILWAUKEE (AP) - A recent survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau found the number of single mothers living in poverty in Wisconsin is increasing.

The latest American Community Survey, which focused on family homes with children under the age of 18, found four out of 10 single-mother households in the state were living in poverty last year. The increase from nearly 40 percent in 2012 to 42.5 percent in 2013 is statistically significant, according to the bureau.

The single-mother household data doesn’t clearly define what role the children’s fathers play, such as the contribution of child support or visitation rights, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (https://bit.ly/1ATaBfM ) reported. But the survey asked participants to include all forms of income, including unemployment, child support or alimony.

The American Community Survey samples about 3.5 million addresses each year. The information it gathers helps determine the distribution of federal and state funds.

Wisconsin should address the results of the report by figuring out how it can create better conditions for all of Wisconsin’s women and families, according to Magda Peck, dean of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Zilber School of Public Health.

“Poverty is a known significant driver of poor health, compromised educational opportunities and diminished human potential, especially for women and their children,” she said.

Women are often paid less for equal work, have less access to higher-paying jobs and are more likely to bear the costs of raising their children, according to Peck.

“It is a matter of fairness and justice,” she said. “We have yet another opportunity and obligation to examine the interconnected policies and practices that are keeping women from thriving, families from staying stronger together, and our state from achieving greater prosperity.”

Poverty among Wisconsin’s seniors also increased significantly, from 7.5 percent in 2011 to 9 percent last year, raising another red flag. The overall amount of Wisconsin residents living in poverty remained unchanged from 2012 to 2013, at 13.5 percent, but has increased since 2009, when it was nearly 1 percent lower.


Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, https://www.jsonline.com

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