5/29/17 – Poverty in Wisconsin is at its lowest in nine years. That’s according to U-W Madison, which calculates the rate differently than the federal government. The university’s poverty research institute puts the state rate at nine-point-seven-percent for 2015, one-point-one percent lower than the previous year — but unlike the nation’s official poverty rate, the U-W figure includes the public benefits people receive like FoodShare. Julie Kerksick of Milwaukee’s Public Policy Institute says the benefits are safety nets as a number of new jobs do not pay living wages. Kerksick tells Wisconsin Public Radio the U-W figures are a “positive sign” because they reflect both the importance of a strong economy and government support.