While Madison as a whole is thriving, there are still people left behind. Dane County and Madison’s inequality was detailed at length in 2013 Race to Equity report. Madison is a great place to live for most of our residents, but we also have some of the highest racial disparities in the United States.

Here are some sobering stats from 2011:

  • the median household income of Dane County’s African American families was less than one third of the median income of white families.
  • Over half of Dane County’s African American households are getting by on less than $20,000 a year.
  • 54 percent of Dane County African Americans lived below the poverty line, compared to 8.7 percent of whites
  • 8 percent of African American children live in poverty in Dane County, compared to an estimate of 5.5 percent of white children.

Both Dane County and the City of Madison have launched additional support programs since the 2013 report to help reduce inequity, but it’s important that Madison continues to invest. We must continue to evaluate what’s working and what’s not working so we can continue to move forward.

Other key efforts we should be looking at as a community include affordable child day care, additional affordable housing and improved transit options.

As a community, we won’t continue to prosper if we don’t address these challenges.