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Poverty level in 53206 zip code more than 3 times higher than the state level

Posted at 7:27 AM, Feb 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-26 08:27:22-05

MILWAUKEE -- Statistics show that Milwaukee's 53206 is the most incarcerated zip code in the entire country.

Statistics like this can take away the humanity of a neighborhood. We took a closer look at what is being done to beat those odds.

Djade Denson grew up in the 53206 zip code, but he says his parents strong foundation kept his goals on track to now be a senior at Marquette University.

We asked him what needs to be done to make things better in his community, "I think a lot of it starts with the youth mentorship, it's huge," said Denson.

Denson is not alone with those feelings.

Andre Lee Ellis started the We Got This in the neighborhood, which teaches children how to grow a garden.

"The garden makes a difference. It gives them pride. They grow something, they put a seed in the ground and they watch it grow," said Ellis.

Ellis also sees the need to be a father-figure in the community.

"Often times I'll put my hand on their shoulder and I start a sentence with the word son and I feel their body loosen up I see them emotional," said Ellis, who says the biggest issue in the community is poverty.

Alderman Kalif Rainey agrees. He showed us the hard truth that people living below the poverty level in 53206 is at a staggering 42-percent.

That is more than three times our state's level, which is 12 percent.

"It's my understanding that we may have one of the largest African-American youth populations in the country so that's an indication of the need," said Ald. Rainey.

Rainey says they are focused on showing the youth what is possible. Denson is one of them.

"That's really a large part of why I wanted to stay in Milwaukee, just cause I owe something to my community," said Denson.