Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee

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Shared Prosperity • Shared Responsibility • One Community

The four-county region of Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties is home to 1.57 Million people, of which 246,000—or nearly 16% of the population—live on incomes below poverty.

The vast majority of low income families—72% - live in the city of Milwaukee, even though the city makes up only 38% of the four-county population.

This economic segregation is mirrored by deeply rooted racial segregation, which is among the most pronounced in the United States.

Addressing the economic and racial segregation is a regional problem requiring a regional solution; one that promotes shared prosperity and shared responsibility. When we arrive at a regional sense that we are all One Community, then we will also have arrived at a solution for the racial and economic segregation of the region.

Segregation Affects Everyone in the Region

Instead of focusing on a limited area, we want to show that the economic, social and moral health of our region is interdependent -- all of the people in all of the cities, villages and towns in the greater metro area need to thrive for all of us to be prosperous.

The suburbs are aging and having a difficult time finding workers, while the population of the city of Milwaukee is getting younger. One study shows that when the wage gap between white and minority populations is narrowed, the entire region could see a 24% growth in the overall economy.

When asked, most people will say that they support tolerance and oppose segregation. Yet, segregation not only exists in our region, it has intensified over the years. The reasons are many-fold and they are structural in nature. And, until the metro area begins to see itself as One Community, our future will not look all that different from our past.

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