Ed McDonald (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Series: Disparities In Wisconsin

Since the turn of the century, Wisconsin's population has steadily grown more diverse, but there has also been growing understanding that the state has some of the worst racial disparities in the United States. Particularly stark indicators come in the form of health, education and housing struggles of racial minorities. These problems have deep roots in Wisconsin, from the establishment of Native American reservations to the treatment of the state's first Latin-American and African-American residents to the segregation of neighborhoods in Milwaukee. A growing body of research across disciplines ranging from public health to economics is revealing the far-reaching impacts of structural racism, and in the process outlines the challenges policymakers, educators and health care providers will need to address to make Wisconsin an equitable place for all people.
 
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Every year, County Health Rankings & Roadmaps issues data about how a myriad of factors contribute to health. UW Population Health Institute director Sheri Johnson discusses how the 2019 rankings emphasize housing to explain the interconnectedness of inequality and health.
Wisconsin fares well among other states in child wellness overall, but when the data is broken down by race, stark disparities emerge. Erica Nelson of Kids Forward discusses what the state can do to bridge the racial divide.
Air pollution levels vary quite broadly across Wisconsin, but they follow a clear geographic trend.
One important issue contributing to and compounding 53206 residents' woes is a lack of transportation options from the urban center to the suburbs, where the Milwaukee metro area's job growth has been centered for decades.
Income inequality has been rising since the 1980s, both in Wisconsin and nationally, and economists and policymakers have become increasingly aware of and concerned about this trend.
One of Milwaukee's most impoverished ZIP codes is 53206. Marc Levine of UW-Milwaukee's Center for Economic Developments said the area feels the effects of multiple disadvantages, and while the job market is improving, many are working at poverty-level wages.
Milwaukee is one of the most racially segregated cities in the United States, and one of segregation's most meaningful engines was the historical practice of redlining.
Completing college substantially improves living standards, according to a report from the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, but there are also increasing racial disparities in Wisconsin's higher education system. Laura Dresser of the research group explains its findings.
Wisconsin continues to have some of the worst racial achievement gaps in education, including the largest disparity in eighth-grade reading scores between black and white students.