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Working poor face rising rents, child care costs

Several statistics in the 2016 Fox Cities Leading Indicators for Excellence (LIFE) Study suggest the number of working poor in our region is on the rise.

The review of available statistics shows a steady increase in Wisconsin Works and food stamp recipients in Outagamie, Calumet and Winnebago counties. Beyond that, monthly rent is rising faster than income. Median rent in 2014 was the highest in Outagamie County at $727 a month.

PrintThe LIFE Study has been conducted every five years since 2001. It is sponsored by United Way Fox Cities, the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region. The study looks at Outagamie, Winnebago and Calumet counties. The four priorities for community change selected by a cross-section of more than 200 area residents in a daylong examination of the LIFE Study were: poverty, youth health, student performance, and youth safety. We will highlight different sections of the report weekly here in The Loop. Read more at

Most surprising stat: The poverty rate for women raising children in 2014 in all three counties was nine times that of married couples with children.

  • The largest share of the child care in all three counties rates only two stars out of five on the YoungStar scale, a rating system that evaluates regulated child care providers based on a set of quality, health and safety standards. Two stars means the facility meets health and safety standards necessary to keep operating.
  • Demand for child care has been relatively flat in recent years, with subsidies of that care declining slowly.
  • In about 80% of households, both parents work or the only parent present works.
  • The average hourly wage child care teachers received as of 2014 was $11.47 in Winnebago County, $11.19 in Outagamie and $10.26 in Calumet County.

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