New Report Shows Recovery Act Decreased Poverty in Wisconsin
A new report estimates that portions of the 2009 Recovery Act cut poverty levels in Wisconsin by 1.4 percentage points for all families and by 2.6 percentage points for children.
The Institute for Research on Poverty at UW-Madison built a model to analyze the effect of four programs created or expanded by the Recovery Act: food stamps, refundable tax credits, Making Work Pay Credit, and Economic Recovery Payment. This Wisconsin Budget Project paper shows that Wisconsin residents received more than $3 billion from a variety of Recovery Act direct benefits between February 2009 and May 2010.
The researchers developed a Wisconsin-specific measure of poverty to reflect economic needs and resources in the state. Working from 2008 data (because the 2009 figures weren’t out yet), they found that if the Recovery Act provisions had been in effect in 2008, they would have reduced poverty in Wisconsin by about 75,000 persons, including 35,000 fewer poor children than there actually were in Wisconsin in 2008.
According to a recent release by Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, the overall poverty level in Wisconsin jumped from 10.4 percent in 2008 to 12.4 percent in 2009, and the child poverty rate climbed from 13.4 percent to 16.7 percent. Those numbers are grim enough on their own, and this report shows without the Recovery Act those figures would have likely been even higher.