In 2017, American Family commissioned a survey on financial insecurity in our home state of Wisconsin. This gave us deeper information about the financial challenges faced by our neighbors, and their geographic distribution within the state, than had been available before.
Previous surveys on financial insecurity either did not cover the breadth of topics we were interested in, or had limited detail on our home state of Wisconsin. We conducted a survey of over 4,000 Wisconsin residents, asking questions about
Using item response theory, we developed a scale of financial insecurity that allows us to segment respondents according to their overall level of need. We also extended our insecurity scale to the state as a whole. This allowed us to create very detailed visualizations of how financial insecurity is distributed within the state.
Among the things we learned from this survey and modeling effort:
We hope the data that we have collected to support this project is relevant to the concerns of other researchers and policy organizations. We also know that the analysis and summaries linked below only scratch the surface of what is a very rich information source. We want this to be a resource for others, etc. By publicly releasing our survey data and some interactive tools for exploring it, we hope to create opportunities for collaboration and independent continuation of the work.
You can explore our data and findings further by consulting the following resources:
Banner image adapted from Madison morning skyline by Richard Hurd