Poverty--It Takes a Village

Thursday, June 23, 2016


Contributor: Nanci Micke, Vice President Marketing & Communications at United Way Fox Cities

By the time we hit the age of 60 at least 80% of us will have experienced poverty at some time in our life.

I heard that astounding statistic at the Weight of the Fox Valley Breakfast on June 23.  Amber Canto, MPH, RDN who currently serves as the State Coordinator of the Wisconsin Nutrition Education Program (WNEP) with University of Wisconsin-Extension said that there are remarkably high odds that you will be poor at some point in your life.

This message was especially striking to me in a week where the 2016 Fox Cities LIFE Study was released.  For the first time in the sixteen year history of the study a cross-section of engaged people gathered to hear the results, and chose priorities for community action.  The number one priority that was chosen was poverty.

Some of the key data points from the LIFE Study related to poverty include:

  • While there appears no significant climb in child and overall poverty rates in the past three years, there has been a steady increase in Wisconsin Works (W-2) program participants, alongside an increase in the percentage of the population receiving food stamps. 
  • When considering slow growth in household income alongside an increase in median gross rent in the Fox Cities' counties, this suggests an increase in working poor, who may be marginally above the poverty threshold, but are susceptible to food insecurity.
  • The poverty rate for single women raising children was approximately eight times higher than the rate for married couples with children across the Fox Cities counties from 2010 to 2014. 

Amber Canto also said, “Where you live ultimately matters for your health. Communities that invest in community initiatives can make a real difference.”   The title of Canto’s presentation was “It Takes a Village.”   We live in a state where one in every five children is living in poverty.   It will truly take all of us working together as a united village to make a difference.

If you would like to continue reading more information about this year’s Life Study, follow this link to the website http://www.foxcitieslifestudy.org/