Community Indicators Report


Rodney Prunty

United Way continues to advocate for the effective use to data to enrich learning, generate a community-wide culture of continuous improvement, and support positive change. 

For 16 years, United Way of Racine County has published a Community Indicators Report to share with anyone who is interested in the work that we are all doing together to fight for health, education, and financial stability of every person in Racine County. 

This report reflects an ongoing commitment to promote advocacy for our county's key issues,

measure, progress, and find solutions by building stronger collaborations. While data is critically important to creating and implementing a collective strategy, we all have a role to play in creating a thriving community. Only together can we make change happen. That is what it means to LIVE UNITED!

Rodney Prunty


Key Findings - Health


Across all data, Black people experience higher barriers to health care than any other race.
• Black parents have a 15 percent incidence of low birth-weight babies. White families have the lowest at 6 percent.
Infant mortality is 24.9 out of 1,000 births to Black parents, compared to 5.7 for white parents and 4.6 for Latinx parents.
• The obesity rate is highest for Black people at 38.1 percent and lowest for white people at 31.5 percent.

Key Findings - Education

Across the majority of data, people of color - especially Black people - experience educational difficulties in higher proportions than white people. The rate of success for Black students compared to white students is in many cases as low as 1 to 5.
• In Racine County’s two largest school districts, Burlington Area School District (BASD) and Racine Unified School District (RUSD), Black students have the lowest graduation rates, and white students have the highest. Comprehensive data divided by race are not available for other school districts.
• In the city of Racine, while men are the demographic group most likely to have attained a bachelor’s degree or higher. Black men are more than five times less likely than white men to have the same level of attainment, and they are the least likely group to have a bachelor’s degree.
• Black students are suspended at higher rates than their peers. In RUSD, Black students’ suspension rate is more than five times higher than white students.

Key Findings - Financial Stability

While Racine County is level with the state poverty rate, segments of our population are falling behind - especially Black households, mixed-raced households, and households in the city of Racine.
• 40 percent of Black households make less than 125 percent of the poverty rate, compared to 16 percent of white families.
• While the total percentage of all Racine County households in poverty is 12 percent, 27 percent of all Racine County households are ALICE (asset limited, income constrained, employed), which means they are above poverty but still not earning enough funds for household stability. This means a total of 39 percent of Racine County households not financial stable.
• Black Wisconsin residents are 10 times more likely to experience homelessness than white Wisconsin residents. 


Racine County Snapshot - Demographics


The region we call Racine County today is the former home of the Potawatomi and Miami tribes. The Miami tribe migrated from this region into southern Michigan and northern Indiana around 1700, following the most advantageous trade opportunities. The Potawatomi tribe continued to reside in southeastern Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. Through a series of “treaties” throughout the early 1800s, the United Stated government pressured the Potawatomi to cede their five million acres of land to the U.S., with the exception of a selection of small reservations, and migrate to Iowa. This migration culminated in 1836. 
In late 1836, the U.S. legislature of the territory of Wisconsin established the county of Racine (the French form of “root,” named for the Root River). At the time, Racine County included Kenosha County, which was not divided and defined as such until 1850. 
Racine County hosts a total of 196,071 people. This is a slight increase over the previous year’s population of 195,010, following a several-year trend of slight population increases. Today, the county is made up of two cities, six towns, and nine villages. The largest population group lives in the city of Racine, which is home to 39 percent of the county’s people - 77,542 individuals.   
Racine County Population by Age


Racine County’s population is weighted slightly towards 35-to-54-year-old adults. As of 2016, the median age was 39.9. 
Racine County Population by Race


Racine County’s community is now predominantly white and just .3 percent Native American. The proportions of different races have remained steady over the last handful of years. Compared to the U.S. as a whole, Racine County has a much larger proportion of non-Latinx white people - 73 percent in Racine and 60.7 percent in the U.S. Racine’s Asian population is six times less dense than the nation’s, and Racine’s Native American population is four times less dense than the nation’s. All other Racine County populations of color have less dramatic but still noticeable decrease in density when compared to the United States. 

Racine County Snapshot - Industry


The majority of Racine County’s residents are employed in manufacturing (23%) and the education and health services industries (19%). Trade, transportation, and utilities was formerly a runner up at 20 percent of all residents in 2015, but in 2017 it dropped to six percent. Now, leisure and hospitality is the third most common occupation in the county at 10 percent. All other industries’ proportions in our community have remained relatively level. 
The average commute time for Racine County residents is 24.2 minutes. 
Racine County Population by Industry


Racine County Snapshot - Housing


The proportion of rend to a household’s income is a measure of housing affordability. In communities with disproportionate rent, homeless shelters are prone to higher use and expenses. If 30 percent or more of a household’s income goes to housing, this is considered a “housing-cost burden.” Currently, Racine County’s median gross rent is $979, which comprises 28.5 percent of the county’s median household income ($58,334). While this is just a hair below the housing-cost burden threshold, nearly half (48.5%) of Racine County residents experience housing-cost burden. Burdened households are even more common in the city of Racine at 51.9 percent. 
According to the 2016 United Way ALICE Report Household Survival Budget, modest housing for a family of four should be about $735 each month. This is based on a bare-minimum budget that does not allow for savings or unplanned expenses. With the median housing cost in Racine County at $979 and rising steadily, housing - not to mention financial stability - is becoming harder for working families to attain.
Rent as Percentage of Monthly Income



Impact Measurement:

By 2025, reduce unhealthy behaviors and poor mental health days for Racine County residents by at least 20 percent. 

United Way of Racine County ensures wellness for the workforces of today and tomorrow by increasing the number of Racine County residents who participate in quality and mental health practices. Reducing preventable illnesses and increasing access to care cuts everyone’s healthcare costs. Adults with physical or mental illnesses may miss more time at work and school and struggle to hold a steady job. Healthier children miss fewer days of school and are more prepared to learn. United Way’s strategies prioritize healthy eating and physical activity and support mental health and healthy choices. 



Health Indicators - Impact Measurement



Health in Racine County - Low Birth Weight

8 percent of Racine County children weigh less than 2,500 grams (about 5.5 pounds) at birth. 


Health in Racine County - Infant Mortality

8.8 Racine County Infants out of 1,000, or .9 percent, die within their first year of life. 


Health in Racine County - Teen Birth

The number of births to Racine County 15- to 19-year olds assigned female is 24.1 in 1,000, or 2 percent. 


Health In Racine County - STIs

While Racine County’s STI cases had been dwindling since 2010, the number rose again to 1,043 in 2016. 


Health in Racine County - Substance Abuse

In 2015, there were 433 alcohol-related hospitalizations and 123 drug-related hospitalizations, a total fo 556 substance abuse hospitalizations. 


Health in Racine County - Mental Health

18.75 percent of adults in Wisconsin have mental illnesses, only slightly higher than the national average of 17.9 percent. 


Health in Racine County - Child Abuse and Neglect

In 2015, 390 cases of child neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse were substantiated. 


Health in Racine County - Overweight and Obese

As of 2017, Wisconsin’s adult obesity rate is 32 percent, placing it at #21 for the highest adult obesity rate of all states. 


Health in Racine County - Crime

2,561 Part | crime incidents were reported by the Racine Police Department in 2016, at a 51-year low for the city of Racine. 




Education Indicators




By 2025, 75 percent of students who graduate will enroll in college, secure employment, or join job training or the military. 

United Way of Racine County is working to build the workforce of tomorrow by ensuring students graduate high school with the knowledge, skills and motivation to succeed in college, vocational training or careers. Nothing is more important to Racine County’s long-term economic prosperity than the development of a workforce with the skills and knowledge required to gain and sustain employment. The foundation for post-high school success begins in early childhood and continues throughout the student’s career. United Way’s strategies prioritize early childhood literacy and address middle and high school success. 


Education in Racine County - Racial Demographics

Public school districts in Racine County enroll from 7 percent to 61 percent students of color, with RUSD enrolling the most. 


Education in Racine County - Economic Disadvantage

62 percent of RUSD students are considered “economically disadvantaged,” which means their households earn 185 percent or less of the poverty rate. 


Education in Racine County - English Language Learners

13 percent of RUSD students are English language learners (ELL). RUSD enrolls more than twice as many ELL students as districts statewide on average. 


Education in Racine County - Reading and Math Proficiency

Third grade reading proficiency for RUSD students was 24.1 percent for the 2016-17 school year, compared to 42 percent across Wisconsin. 


Education in Racine County - ACT Scores

Waterford HS has the highest proportion of ACT takers who earn college-proficient English and math scores, at 53 percent and 52 percent respectively. 


Education in Racine County - Suspension and Dropouts

The suspension rate for Black RUSD students is 25.5 percent, more than 5 times the rate of white students. 


Education in Racine County - Graduation Rates

10 percent of Racine County residents have not graduated high school. In the city of Racine, 15 percent haven’t graduated high school. 


Education in Racine County - Post-Graduation Plans

85 percent of Wisconsin high school seniors expressed plans to pursue college, employment, the military, or job training. 


Education in Racine County - Disability and Neurodivergence

4.2 percent of all Racine County residents have some form of cognitive disability. 




By 2025, increase the number of financially stable Racine County residents by 2,000.

United Way of Racine County helps individuals and families achieve long-term self-sufficiency. That includes providing access to basic needs such as food, shelter and safety while also empowering people to gain the financial resources they need to improve their lives, care for their families, and get back on track. United Way’s strategies focus on connecting individuals with family-sustaining employment, income supports, savings and assets, and manageable expenses. 



Financial Stability Indicators - Impact Measurement



Financial Stability in Racine County - Poverty


Financial Stability in Racine County - ALICE


Financial Stability in Racine County - Foodshare


Financial Stability in Racine County - Unemployment


Financial Stability in Racine County - Homlessness


Good indicators are objective measurements that reveal whether key community conditions are improving, worsening, or remaining constant. The indicators selected for inclusion in this report: 

  • Reflect the communities and districts throughout Racine County. 
  • Illustrate fundamental factors underlying the impact of health, education, and financial stability on the success of the county. 
  • Can be easily understood and accepted by the community. 
  • Are statistically measurable and contain data that are both reliable and available long-term. 
  • Measure outcomes rather than inputs whenever possible. 

More than 10 different research tools contributed to this extensive view of Racine County. For example, one data source was the American Community Survey (ACS)'s one-year estimates. The ACS is an ongoing survey that provides data annually, giving communities current information to plan investments and services. The ACS covers a broad range of topics about social, economic, demographic, and housing characteristics of the U.S. population. Much of the ACS data provided on the Census Bureau's website are available separately by age group, race, ethnicity, and sex. 

Another tool that contributed was the WISEdash Public Portal. Each year, Wisconsin's public school districts collect information about students, staff, and courses based on federal and state requirements. These data sets are submitted to the Department of Public Instruction, where they are stored and linked in a data warehouse. WISEdash provides an interactive system to select and filter Wisconsin public school data. The data set that appears in the graphs when selecting the Certified Data View maintains an "official," static version of the data, which provides consistent reporting over time. In most cases, the Certified Data View produces identical counts, averages, and rates as previously reported in current data. No data modifications are performed to merge or discard duplicate student reporting after the initial release of the certified results. 

A note on language: Throughout this report, the word "Latinx" is used in place of "Hispanic" and "Latino." While none of these terms overlap perfectly, and different individuals prefer different identifiers, this report uses Latinx because it is inclusive of all gender identities.  



  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System: Prevalence and Trends Data — Overweight and Obesity, U.S. Obesity Trends 
  • Center for Urban Population Health's Racine County Health Data Report (2017) 
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 
  • Central Intelligence Agency's "Infant Mortality 2016 Estimates: World Factbook" 
  • Central Racine County Health Department's "2011-2016 Racine County Fetal, Infant, and Child Death Review Report" 
  • NAMI Wisconsin's "Basics of Mental Illness
  • Racine Police Department's Annual Reports 
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's The State of Obesity in Wisconsin 
  • Trust for America's Health 
  • U.S. Census Bureau's 2011-2015 American Community Survey 
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Adolescent Health 
  • Wisconsin Department of Health Services 
    • Annual Birth and Infant Mortality Report (2016) (PDF) 
    • Behavioral Risk Factor Survey: Wisconsin 
    • Births to Teens in Wisconsin 
    • County Health Profiles 
    • "Mental Health and Substance Abuse Needs Assessment Update" 
    • Teen Birth Rates 
    • "Wisconsin AIDS/HIV Program Notes" 
    • "Wisconsin Epidemiological Profile on Alcohol and Other Drugs (2016)" 
    • "Wisconsin Mental Health and Substance Use Needs Assessment (2017)" 
    • Wisconsin Public Health Profiles, Racine County (2016) 
    • "Wisconsin Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance Report (2016)" 
  • Wisconsin Department of Children and Families' Wisconsin Child Abuse and Neglect Reports 
  • Wisconsin Department of Justice 
    • Crime and Arrests in Wisconsin 
    • Domestic Abuse Incident Report 
  •  World Health Organization 




Financial Stability

  • Feeding America  
  • The Homelessness and Housing Alliance of Racine County (The Continuum of Care of Racine County) 
  • Institute for Community Alliances 
  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 
  • U.S. Census Bureau 
    • 2015 ACS One-Year Estimates (S1701, S1702) 
    • 2015 American Community Survey One-Year Estimates (DP03) 
    • 2017 ACS One-Year Estimates 
    • 2017 American Community Survey One-Year Estimates (DP03) 
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, HUD Exchange 
  • United for ALICE: Wisconsin 
  • United Way of Racine County's "ALICE
  • United Way of Wisconsin's "2016 United Way ALICE Report: Wisconsin Executive Summary" (PDF) 
  • Wisconsin Department of Health Services' Wisconsin FoodShare Program 
  • Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development 
  • Wisconsin WorkNet's Local Area Unemployment Statistics Results 

This report was created by Karin Kirchmeier, Shay King, Jessica Safransky Schacht, and Eve Plache. It includes icons made by Designerz BaseFreepikGood WarePause08SmashiconsSrip, and Those Icons of Flaticon.   

For more information, or to schedule a presentation or facilitated discussion about the community data within this report, please contact Jessica Safransky Schacht, chief operating officer of United Way of Racine County, at or (262) 898-2240.