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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:  

Rotary Pancake Day: 7:30 a.m. Feb. 28, Waukesha County Expo Center, 1000 Northview Road, Waukesha. Fundraiser for the Waukesha Rotary Club is 7:30 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Expo Center Arena. Advance tickets at Waukesha State Bank, downtown location., $5-$7. $5 advance, $7 at the door; free for children 5 and younger. www.waukesharotary.org.

Ninth Annual Oconomowoc Rotary Wine & Brew Fest: 5 p.m. Feb. 28, Olympia Resort, 1350 Royale Mile Rd, Oconomowoc. Wine, food and beer. Features foods from the best of our local restaurants. Purchase tickets at $50 from an O-Town Rotarian, through Facebook, or in person at most area First Bank Financial Centre locations, Books & Company & Lorleberg True Value Hardware. See more at www.oconomowocrotary.org. $50.

Chili Tasting: 11 a.m. Feb. 28, The Garden Mart, W297 S9115 Highway 83, Mukwonago. Chili tasting from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Local vendors will be selling unique merchandise. Judging is open to the public and all proceeds from voting will be donated to the Mukwonago Food Pantry. Event is free. Call (262) 363-5252 for information.

Dr. Seuss Birthday Bash Literacy Event: 10 a.m. Feb. 28, Hartland North Elementary, 232 Church Street, Hartland. Families with children in 4-year old kindergarten through second grade are invited to a special event. The Cat in the Hat and the Lorax will celebrate with a big birthday cake for all of our guests along with lots of literacy activities based around Dr. Seuss books.

Updates to this calendar are made weekly Monday afternoon. 

 

All weekend happenings.