Malia Jones, Assistant Scientist, Applied Population Lab
Department of Community and Environmental Sociology
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
FEATURE ARTICLE FOUND HERE: http://news.cals.wisc.edu/2016/02/24/new-analysis-shows-wisconsin-poverty-on-the-upswing/
Malia Jones talks about a news analysis that shows Wisconsin poverty on the upswing.
3:02 – Total Time
0:18 – Substantial increase in poverty
0:32 – Economy leaves people behind
0:53 – Poverty a life of stress and risk
1:28 – Rural, urban areas all increased
1:47 – One in five children impoverished
2:27 – A lasting problem
2:51 – Lead out
Sevie Kenyon: The uptick in poverty in Wisconsin; we’re visiting today with Malia Jones, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and I’m Sevie Kenyon. Wisconsin has seen an increase in poverty; can you explain what you found?
Malia Jones: We found that poverty between 2005 and 2009 compared to the more recent 5 years, it went up pretty substantially. So it’s at its highest rate right now since around 1984.
Sevie Kenyon: Why is this increase happening?
Malia Jones: Well it is a little puzzling considering overall the economy has been trending up. I think what we’re seeing is that people who are at the highest risk, the lowest wage-earners in our economy are not really benefiting from the increasing economy. And so in essence we’re seeing increasing inequality.
Sevie Kenyon: Can you describe for us what poverty looks like?
Malia Jones: People who are living in poverty have real challenges: getting enough quality food, getting quality, stable housing. They are moving around a lot. They may go through periods of homelessness. They are not able to get a home in a good neighborhood that protects their children from crime and offers a good public education. It’s a real stressful kind of way to live. You have all these sort of unknowns and risky situations that your family is exposed to.
Sevie Kenyon: Is there any difference between our rural counties and our urban counties in terms of poverty?
Malia Jones: We did see increases in poverty in both rural and urban places. The increase was a little sharper in urban counties, but nonetheless, even in rural places, poverty was up. This is a concern really for the whole state.
Sevie Kenyon: Can you give us a little thumbnail sketch of the numbers of people involved here in Wisconsin?
Malia Jones: During this most recent period we had about 3/4 of a million Wisconsin residents living in poverty. And that’s up from around 600,000. So it’s a pretty substantial increase in the number of people. In addition to that, we had a really high rate of child poverty, which is especially concerning because exposure to poverty when you’re a kid really has long-term health implications and implications for educational outcomes and employment. We have about 240,000 children who are living in poverty in the state of Wisconsin, which is about 1 in 5 of all children.
Sevie Kenyon: Malia, what are some of the long-term effects of poverty?
Malia Jones: We know that living in poverty, especially as a child is a major source of stress and stress is really bad for your health. People who live in poverty who aren’t sure if there is going to be food to eat, who don’t know how they’ll get to work because their car is not working, who aren’t sure if there is going to be a safe place to sleep tonight; those kinds of major stressors have series long-term health consequences.
Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting today with Malia Jones, Department of Community and Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and I’m Sevie Kenyon.