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Poverty numbers rising as county reels from recession

Nov. 19, 2012

Waukesha County is often noted for its affluence, but beneath its surface of gleaming subdivisions, excellent schools and quaint downtowns lurks the growing and pervasive reality of poverty.

Like other counties and communities across the country, the Great Recession that gripped the nation over the last few years left a lasting mark on the communities we call home.

Take, for example, that in 2000, more than 2.7 percent of Waukesha County's more than 355,000 people lived in poverty - 9,635 people.

The 2010 census showed that the number of people living in poverty doubled in the intervening years, to 5.4 percent of the nearly 385,000 people who called Waukesha County home at that time. That's 20,894 people.

More than 19,000 people in the county now rely on food stamps each month.

According to data from the University of Wisconsin Extension in Waukesha County, there were 1,217 home foreclosures in 2011. That's only slightly better than 2009, when there were 1,335. There were just 273 in 2000.

In the Village of Hartland, the number of people living in poverty jumped from 204 people - 2.6 percent of its population at the turn of the century - to 578 people - 6.5 percent of its population in the 2010 census. Oconomowoc's population of people living in poverty rose from 190 people to 414 people during the same time.

The need at area food pantries has increased exponentially in the last five years.

Beginning in 2007, people suddenly began losing hours, income, jobs and, eventually, their homes.

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

Country Christmas Outdoor Drive-through Lights Display: Nov. 27-30, Dec. 5-31. Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Wisconsin’s largest drive-through holiday lights event features more than a million holiday lights along a mile-long trail that winds through the woods, Includes animated figures and holiday scenes. Call (262) 970-5398 for details. $15-$25. $15 per carload, $25 limo, mini-coach or large van. www.thecountrychristmas.com

 World’s Greatest Cookie Sale: Noon-4 p.m.  Nov. 28, Country Springs Hotel, 2810 Golf Road, Pewaukee. Sale features homemade holiday cookies and baked goods in many varieties. Entertainment includes magic shows, cookie and cupcake decorating, face painting, holiday coloring contest and Santa and Mrs. Claus. Sale ends at 4 p.m. For more information on the World’s Greatest Cookie Sale, call Country Springs, (262) 547-0201 or visit thecountrychristmas.com/cookiesale. Free.

 German Christmas Market: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Nov. 28, 29 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 30, Downtown Oconomowoc, 100 E. Wisconsin Ave., Oconomowoc. Celebrate Wisconsin’s heritage at this family festival that features heated tents, German beer, music, live bands, authentic German food, vendors, Santa and more. Free http://www.germanchristmasmarket.org. 

 Oconomowoc Winter Farmers Market: 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 30, Oconomowoc Landscape Supply & Garden Center, County Road K, Oconomowoc. Features local seasonally grown produce and artisan food products.  www.oconomowoc.org.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.