LIFE of Self-Sufficiency

Figure 1 illustrates that the percentage of Brown County students in free and reduced-fee lunch programs has been stable over time. In the most recent year in the data series, 40% of students were enrolled in free and reduced lunch programs. That figure is similar to previous years.

When asked whether they felt very secure about their financial stability, Brown County residents expressed mixed views. In 2016, 54% of people in Brown County said that they felt very secure about their finances all or most of the time. That year, 23% of people said they sometimes felt very financially secure and 20% said they seldom or never felt very secure about their finances. The responses for 2016 were fairly similar to the responses in the 2011 community survey. It is worth noting that there are some important differences in perceptions about financial security when community members are stratified by race/ethnicity. Among people who reported being white, 55% said that they felt very secure about their finances all or most of the time. For people who were not White, that number was 32%. Among Whites, 22% of people said they felt very financially secure some of the time. Among non–Whites, that number was 32%. A larger percentage (24%) of non-Whites say that they seldom or never feel very financially secure compared to Whites (19%).

Figure 3 provides an overview of the leading indicators for this section. The number of renter households with a housing cost burden (spending more than 30% of income on housing) has remained stable over time, as has the number of students getting free and reduced lunch in area public schools. The number of FoodShare recipients in Brown County increased from 2006 to 2012. Since 2013, there has been a slight decline in the number of FoodShare recipients.