Series

Most Wisconsinites live in urban and suburban communities, but the state’s landscape is dominated by rural areas where farmland and forest predominate. But what makes a given place rural? What about small towns or exurbs or "up north" tourist destinations? And when is a place even considered small in the first place? Defining the continuum between rural and urban areas is complex and can be a contentious matter. It is also continuously in flux as people grow older, have children and move between places in pursuit of different opportunities. The demographics of rural Wisconsin are changing rapidly, with populations aging and overall numbers decreasing in many areas. These shifts have profound implications for the state as a whole, and will shape its economy, politics and culture.More
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Energy is an essential necessity of human life that powers individual everyday needs and the economy as a whole. Its sources span millenia, from draft animals and wood to coal and oil to nuclear fission. Advancing technology continues to transform energy production, and renewable sources like solar, wind and biofuels are increasingly used. A growing number of homeowners, businesses and communities across Wisconsin are considering renewables as part of their own energy portfolios. The backdrop of a changing climate is one motivation for these shifts, as are changing consumer demand, investment opportunities and public policy incentives. As the state's energy landscape adapts to meet new opportunities, researchers are investigating the potential of renewables and evaluating challenges to pursuing sustainable and secure sources.More
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A century has passed since women won the right to vote in the United States, but their struggle for representation in government continues in the 21st century. Wisconsin was the first state to ratify the 19th Amendment, but it is not a leader when it comes to electing women to office. The state lags behind its neighbors in terms of the number of women elected to state offices. Women also run for office less frequently, facing barriers related to opportunity, incumbency and other factors. To support more women running for office, organizations along the political spectrum are working at local, state and national levels. While Wisconsin might not be a front-runner in this matter of representation, the potential and possibilities for women in office are moving forward.More
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Wisconsin experiences all four seasons in their full intensity, sometimes even within a few days of each other. This pattern reflects a classic example of a continental climate, a classification applied to regions of the globe with hot or warm summers and cold winters with average temperatures often below freezing. More specifically, Wisconsin has a humid continental climate, and straddles the border between its hot and mild summer subtypes. What this means over the summer season is that many areas of the state can have temperatures high enough to be dangerous — to humans, to animals and even to plants. When the mercury rises, though, people can take action to protect lives and property.More
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Fleeing conflict and persecution around the world, refugees are a small but significant part of Wisconsin's population. While it's not the biggest destination for resettlement in the United States, the state is home to thousands of people who arrived as refugees from several dozen countries. A Hmong community took root across Wisconsin in the 1970s, and a small Somali community settled in rural Barron County in the 1990s, but large numbers of refugees from countries including Burma, Iraq and the Democratic Republic of the Congo have arrived in the 21st century. People seeking refugee status in the U.S. — which is distinct from other kinds of immigration — have gone through an extensive vetting process, but a rise of xenophobia and new federal policies threaten to make their position more uncertain.More
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