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Poverty rate rises in Milwaukee

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UNDATED (WSAU) New Census figures say Milwaukee now has the nation’s fourth-highest poverty rate, up from 11th just two years ago.

27% of Milwaukeeans lived below the poverty line last year, up from 23-percent the year before. Detroit has the nation’s worst poverty rate at 36-percent, followed by Cleveland and Buffalo. The Census Bureau said 158,000 Milwaukee residents lived below the income threshold of $22,000 a year for a family-of-four. Also, four-of-every-10 children in Milwaukee are in poverty.

The statewide rate jumped by two-percent last year, and is now at 12.4%. Marc Levine of U-W Milwaukee said the city has some of the worst job creation records of all U-S urban areas for over 10 years – so it’s not surprising that poverty has gotten worse.

Milwaukee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett called the figures unacceptable, and it’s why he’s pushing for better job creation policies, education, and transportation in the state. Scott Walker, the Republican candidate for governor, blamed what he called “anti-business” policies by Wisconsin Democrats – and what government needs to do is get out of the way so it can help struggling families.

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