Basic Needs

Poverty rates in Wisconsin are slightly lower than the United States average, and lower still in the Fox Cities region. In Calumet, the 2014 poverty rate was approximately a third of the US average. The 2014 Poverty Threshold for a family of four was an annual income of $24,008 or lower. 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(1), alongside an increase in the percentage of the population receiving food stamps between 2006 and 2014. When also considering slow growth in household income (Indicator 2.05) alongside an increase in median gross rent in the Fox Cities' counties, which suggests an increase in working poor who may be marginally above the poverty threshold but are susceptible to food insecurity. This may be even more of an issue in Winnebago, where the percentage of the population with low food access is a third higher than the US average and has the highest overall poverty rate of the three counties.

Rental Costs
There are about twice as many low-income households in the Fox Cities region as there are affordable rental units. Eight-in-ten rental units are affordable to low-income households, which equates to 38,000 affordable units in the region in 2016. There are 66,000 low-income households (with income of 80% or less of the median income in the region), according to the 2016 American Community Survey. This ratio is similar to that for Wisconsin and the U.S. 
The Fox Cities has less of a rental affordability issue than Wisconsin or the U.S. overall. Despite increase rent costs in all counties, the share of renters that are burdened by housing costs higher than 30% of their income is steady or falling in these counties. That said, Winnebago County does have the highest housing cost burden rate for renters (43%) in the region, even though it also has the cheapest rent.

Child Care 
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. The percentage of children receiving childcare subsidies fell between 2011 and 2018. At the same time, the cost of childcare for all three counties has risen substantially. There has been a decline in the total number of regulated childcare providers in the Fox Cities Region from 2015 to 2019  . In Calumet and Outagamie Counties, there are about 5% fewer providers, while in Winnebago County there are 21% fewer providers.  When YoungStar quality ratings were first established, Outagamie County was above average in terms of the share of providers rated 3 or better (42%). Since then, Winnebago and Calumet Counties have improved to 37% and 46% respectively. Calumet County has few regulated childcare facilities, so demand is very high compared to the number of seats available. In other counties, childcare demand is average compared to the state.

Older Populations
The number of seniors has increased from 2006 to 2014 across the Fox Cities region, yet the 5-year poverty rate for seniors (2010-2014) has decreased slightly from the previous 5-year rate (2005-2009); the 2014 poverty threshold for seniors living alone is an annual income of just $11,354. This could mean that the aging population of the Fox Cities region has more financially secure retirement savings, or a greater proportion of seniors are still employed and generating income. A large share of seniors in a population is normally an indicator of a community with greater health care needs and of more people exiting the workforce and becoming economically dependent on the working age population. Seniors who live independently may experience loneliness and feel isolated and may also require assistance with performing activities of daily life. The workforce participation rate (Indicator 2.08) for adults age 18 to 64 decreased slightly in Calumet, Outagamie and Winnebago from 2006-2009 to 2010-2014 alongside an increase in the actual number of employees and a drop in the unemployment rate.

(1) Wisconsin Works is available to parents of minor children whose family income is below 115% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)