Wisconsin, known as "America's Dairyland," is a leader in the production of milk, cheese and other dairy products. The state also has a strong manufacturing sector. Wisconsin is in the Great Lakes region, bordered on the north by Lake Superior and on the east by Lake Michigan. Wisconsin covers 54,310 square miles, with a 2012 estimated population of 5,726,398 people – 1,542,567 living in rural Wisconsin (USDA-ERS). Madison, the capital, is located in the southern region of the state. The state’s largest cities are Milwaukee, Madison and Green Bay. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 88.4% of the state’s population is white, 6.5% is African American/Black, 2.4% is Asian, 1.1% is American Indian & Alaska Native, and 6.1% is of Hispanic/Latino origin (2011).
There are 124 hospitals in Wisconsin (Kaiser, 2010). The state has 58 hospitals identified by the Flex Monitoring Team as Critical Access Hospitals (March 2013). There are 54 Rural Health Clinics in Wisconsin (Kaiser, 2012), and 16 Federally Qualified Health Centers provide services at 86 sites in the state (Kaiser, 2010). Most Wisconsinites have some form of health insurance coverage, although 10.0% of the state's residents lack health insurance (Kaiser, 2011).
According to the USDA Economic Research Service, the average per-capita income for Wisconsinites in 2011 was $39,574, although rural per-capita income lagged at $34,773. Estimates from 2011 indicate a poverty rate of 13.0% exists in rural Wisconsin, compared to a 13.1% level in urban areas of the state. 2011 ACS data reports that 11.3% of the rural population has not completed high school, compared to 9.8% of urban populations. The unemployment rate in rural Wisconsin is at 8.1%, while in urban Wisconsin it is at 7.3% (USDA-ERS, 2012).
For a national comparison, please see an overview of the United States.
For the latest updates, see the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health’s Rural Reporter or their Twitter feed.
U.S. Census Bureau: State & County QuickFacts; USDA Economic Research Service: State Fact Sheets; Kaiser Family Foundation State Health Facts; Flex Monitoring Team: Critical Access Hospital List
Great Lakes Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP)
Assists rural low-income individuals and underserved populations in developing and maintaining community infrastructure to improve rural quality of life through a network of community action agencies.
Great Plains Telehealth Resource and Assistance Center (GPTRAC)
One of the telehealth resource centers funded by the federal Office for the Advancement of Telehealth. Assists health care organizations, health care networks, and health care providers in the implementation of cost-effective telehealth programs to serve rural and medically underserved areas and populations. Includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.
HUD Community Development Block Grants: Wisconsin (CDBG)
Contact information for the State CDBG program. Provides funding for community development projects.
Provides loans to nonprofits in IL, IN, IA, MO, and WI, which serve low-income or special-needs populations. Loans can be used for facility or equipment projects such as community health centers, including construction, acquisition, rehabilitation, purchase of equipment or furnishings, and facility improvements to leased or owned space.
National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Greater Midwest Region (NN/LM-GMR)
Works to improve access to health information for health professionals, librarians and members of the public in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD)
One of four regional rural development centers in the nation. Works with extension professionals, researchers, and partners to enhance rural development outcomes. Serves a 12 state area in the North Central region which includes ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, IA, MO, WI, IL, IN, MI, and OH.
Rural Health Initiative
Sends registered nurses with farming backgrounds to farms in three Wisconsin counties to provide free preventive health and occupational safety screenings to farmers and their adult family members and employees.
Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative (RWHC)
Works to support and enhance rural health and quality of care through a variety of products and services with an emphasis on developing integrated networks among freestanding entities.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: Wisconsin (HUD)
Works to increase homeownership, support community development, and increase access to affordable housing. The HUD state office provides information about HUD housing programs and local contacts for the state.
University of Wisconsin Center for Agricultural Safety and Health
Works to respond to the agricultural safety and health needs of Wisconsin farming communities. Offers programs on agricultural safety, farm and tractor machinery safety, and youth agricultural safety and health.
USDA Rural Development Wisconsin State Office
Committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in all of rural America. The Rural Development State Office provides information about Rural Development programs and applications for financial assistance.
VA Midwest Health Care Network (VISN 23)
Also known as Veterans Integrated Service Network 23. Serves more than 400,000 enrolled Veterans residing in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and portions of Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM)
Consists of a rural education program within the MD Program curriculum at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison. Aims to develop the skills of medical students who wish to participate in a rural setting as well as to improve the supply of physicians in rural Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Area Health Education Center System (AHEC)
Works to improve the supply, distribution, and quality of health care professionals in Wisconsin. Develops community-based health professions training programs. Oversees the seven regional AHEC areas in Wisconsin, which are the Northwest, Northern Highland, Northeast, Milwaukee and Southeast, South Central, Scenic Rivers, and North Central.
Wisconsin Child Support Program
Contributes to the well-being of children through the establishment of paternity and the establishment and enforcement of court-ordered child support and medical support obligations.
Wisconsin Community Action Program Association (WISCAP)
Serves Wisconsin's low-income people and promotes the development of resources which demonstrate progress toward the elimination of poverty. Includes the Wisconsin Rural Community Assistance Program (RCAP), which helps support rural community infrastructure.
Wisconsin Dental Association (WDA)
Works to improve the oral health of Wisconsin residents. Supports projects which provide dental health care for the disadvantaged such as Mission of Mercy, Mentoring Program, and Donated Dental Services.
Wisconsin Department of Administration: Division of Housing
Offers a broad range of financial and technical assistance to improve and expand housing, increase affordable housing opportunities, and provide services to people without housing.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS)
Responsible for a variety of areas, including child welfare, long term care, disability programs, substance abuse, mental health, and public health programs, regulation and licensing of facilities, operation of care and treatment facilities, the food stamp program, and medical assistance and health care for low income families, elderly and disabled persons.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services: Bureau of Long-Term Support
Administers programs including autism services, brain injury, children's long-term support, community integration and relocation, developmental disabilities, and family support.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services: Mental Health Programs
Administers mental health programs including prevention treatment and recovery, forensics, client rights, and psychiatric hospitals and secure treatment facilities.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services: Minority Health Program
Serves as the primary point of contact on minority health for the Department of Health Services and develops initiatives to advance the health of racial and ethnic minority communities in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services: Substance Abuse Services
Provides services relating to substance use and abuse, gambling awareness, reducing tobacco sales to minors, and recovery.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR)
Assists businesses and programs comply with state and federal environmental regulations.
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction: Special Education Team
Provides statewide leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance for Wisconsin's special education services. Promotes collaboration among parents, educators, students, communities, and other agencies to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education.
Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS)
Formed by combining the WI Department of Regulation and Licensing and parts of the WI Department of Commerce. Focuses on job creation and licensing.
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD)
Serves as the state agency charged with building and strengthening Wisconsin's workforce.
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Provides employment services and counseling to people with disabilities, arranges for services to enable individuals to go to work, and provides training and technical assistance to employers regarding disability employment issues.
Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC)
Nurtures business growth and job creation in Wisconsin. Provides resources, technical support, and financial assistance to companies and communities.
Wisconsin Geriatric Education Center (WGEC)
Serves as a formal consortium of academic and health care organizations, for the purpose of creating educational resources and training opportunities in geriatrics for health professionals, faculty, practitioners, and students in Wisconsin. Operates the Low Cost Denture Program.
Wisconsin Head Start Association (WHSA)
Membership organization which represents 62 Head Start Programs in Wisconsin, including American Indian and Migrant/Seasonal programs.
Wisconsin Health Information Technology Extension Center (WHITEC)
Wisconsin State Health Information Technology Regional Extension Center (REC) that helps health care providers become meaningful users of electronic health records by providing information and technical assistance.
Wisconsin Hospital Association (WHA)
Works to provide quality health care services and initiatives to Wisconsin communities. Provides education and training opportunities.
Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA)
Works with lenders, developers, local government, nonprofits, and community groups to implement its low-cost financing programs.
Wisconsin Office of Rural Health
Dedicated to improving the quality of health for rural and underserved communities in Wisconsin. Collaborates with health care organizations and systems, community based providers and individuals, and educational organizations to develop programs and provide resources designed to enhance life in rural communities.
Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association (WPHCA)
Represents a statewide network of Community and Migrant Health Centers. Works to provide access to community-oriented primary health care services including medical homes, quality improvement, and health care quality.
Wisconsin Rural Partners
Serves as a network of Wisconsin public and private sector partners who promote collaboration, innovation, diversity, and community-based priorities.
Wisconsin Technology Council
Provides policy guidance on broadband and technology to lawmakers, the governor, state agencies, and other institutions in Wisconsin. Networks through the Wisconsin Innovation Network (WIN), a community-based organization dedicated to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship.
AgrAbility of Wisconsin
Promotes success in agriculture for farmers with disabilities and their families. AgrAbility of Wisconsin is a partnership between the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension and Easter Seals Wisconsin.
EMS Resource Guide for Critical Access Hospitals
Provides information and resources to Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs) to help them strengthen and improve rural emergency medical services (EMS) capacity in local communities. Covers infrastructure, human resources, funding sources, legislation, and regulation.
ERS State Fact Sheet: Wisconsin
Lists statistics on population, educational attainment, employment, income, farm characteristics, and farm financial indicators for the state.
Healthy Wisconsin Leadership Institute
Works to build public and community health skills and leadership capacity throughout Wisconsin. Includes resources for collaborative leadership, communications, and facilitation.
National Healthcare Quality Report State Snapshot: Wisconsin
Health care quality report for the state, based on the National Healthcare Quality Report.
NN/LM Greater Midwest Region: Wisconsin Resources
Presents an overview of the state, with links to resources for Wisconsin.
Rural Health Careers in Wisconsin
Provides information regarding career opportunities in rural Wisconsin hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics. Includes clinical and non-clinical positions for physical therapists, pharmacists, nurses, lab technicians, and radiology technicians.
State of Wisconsin: ACCESS
Allows Wisconsin residents to apply for benefits online. Programs covered include Medicaid, BadgerCare, the Family Planning Waiver Program, and FoodShare.
Voices of Rural Wisconsin
Collection of audio files representing the stories, thoughts, and histories of Wisconsin's rural population.
Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM) Symposium
Provides access to video and audio recordings of numerous presentations given at several Wisconsin Academy for Rural Medicine (WARM) Symposiums.
Wisconsin Department of Health Services: Wisconsin Well Woman
Provides preventive health screening services to women with little or no health insurance coverage. Well Woman pays for mammograms, Pap tests, certain other health screenings, and multiple sclerosis testing for women with high risk signs of multiple sclerosis.
Wisconsin Health Care Provider Directories
Lists agencies licensed or certified to serve Wisconsin residents. Listings are by county and city and include ambulatory surgical centers, end stage renal dialysis providers, home health agencies, hospices, hospitals, outpatient rehabilitation centers, personal care agencies, rural health clinics, and swing bed hospitals.
Wisconsin Health Centers Research & Data
Provides access to information on Federally Qualified Health Centers for the state. Includes a map of FQHC locations, as well as information on the populations served by health centers, services provided, staff, patient visits, costs of care, and use of electronic health information.
Wisconsin KIDS COUNT Data Center (KCDC)
Provides data on child well-being for the state.
Wisconsin Office of Rural Health: Dentist Recruitment
Provides information on general dentist positions, in towns and cities of all sizes, located throughout Wisconsin.
Wisconsin Office of Rural Health: Physician Recruitment
Helps place physicians in rural Wisconsin communities. Available employment opportunities are listed by specialty and by region.
Wisconsin Public Health Profiles
Annual publications of health and demographic information about the state of Wisconsin and its counties. Separate PDF files are available on this webpage for state-wide, regional, and county-level profiles.
Basic demographic and economic statistics for the state, with links to county-level data.
Wisconsin State Health Facts
Provides the latest state-level data on demographics, health, and health policy, including health coverage, access, financing, and state legislation. Individual state profiles and 50-state comparisons.
See also: State-by-State Resources: Tools
Assistance to Needy Veterans and Family Members
Grant program for veterans that provides limited financial assistance to those in need and who have exhausted all other sources of aid.
Dollar General Youth Literacy Grants
Funding to schools, public libraries, and nonprofit organizations to help students who are below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading.
Gannett Foundation Community Action Grants
Supports local organizations with funding priority given to programs that focus on education and neighborhood improvement, economic development, youth development, community problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged people, environmental conservation, and cultural enrichment.
Georgia-Pacific Foundation Grants
Grants for organizations projects that focus on education, the environment, community enhancement, affordable housing, arts and culture, and entrepreneurship.
IFF Loan Fund
Offers loans to nonprofits serving low-income or special-needs populations for facilities, equipment, vehicles, construction of affordable housing, and food programs.
Medica Foundation Grant Program
Grants designed to improve primary care and preventive health services for people with disabilities, early childhood health, and organizational core mission support.
Mission and Ministry Fund Violence Prevention Grant
Funds may be requested to cover the costs of community-based planning, conducting community meetings, assessing community violence-related assets and needs, continuing specific community-based violence prevention efforts and related activities.
National Network of Libraries of Medicine Greater Midwest Region Funding
Provides funding for National Network of Libraries members located in the greater Midwest region to assist them in conducting outreach and technology projects.
Otto Bremer Foundation Grants
Provides funding for organizations working to supply people with basic needs and helping them become financially stable and self-reliant.
Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program (WRPRAP) Early Development Grants
Provides funding for feasibility studies for graduate medical education residency programs in Wisconsin.
Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program (WRPRAP) Education Development Grants
Provides funding to support existing programs to develop and promote sustainable graduate medical education resident programs in rural areas of Wisconsin.
Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program (WRPRAP) Major Grants
Funding for start-up and early development funding for large-scale program development or support for rural training track programs for physicians in Wisconsin.
Wells Fargo Corporate Giving Programs
Funding for nonprofit organizations in the areas of community development, education, human services, arts and culture, civic responsibility, and environmental consciousness.
Wisconsin Dental Association Foundation Grant
Offers grants to nonprofit organizations that are engaged in efforts to improve dental health for underserved Wisconsin residents.
Wisconsin Seal-a-Smile Program
Grants for professional staff compensation, transportation expenses for staff and volunteers, major equipment, and disposable materials for dental needs.
Wisconsin's Health Professions Loan Assistance Program (HPLAP)
Provides loan repayment assistance to primary care professionals who agree to serve in a Health Professional Shortage Area of Wisconsin.
Inactive Funding Opportunities -
Lists additional funding programs for this state that are not currently accepting applications. Programs that are inactive may be offered again in the future.
Documents, Reports and Other Publications
100 New Physicians a Year: An Imperative for Wisconsin
Sponsoring organization: Wisconsin Hospital Association
Provides recommendations and options for increasing physician supply in Wisconsin. Calls for concerted and collaborative action to address a looming physician workforce shortage.
Date: 11 / 2011
Aiming Higher for Health System Performance: A Profile of Seven States That Perform Well on the Commonwealth Fund’s 2009 State Scorecard
Author(s): Greg Moody, Sharon Silow-Carroll
Sponsoring organization: Commonwealth Fund
Demonstrates that high levels of health system performance are achievable and sustainable, and provides useful examples of policies and practices in Vermont, Hawaii, Iowa, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Delaware that may be associated with health system improvement.
Date: 10 / 2009
Around the Country: Marshfield Telehealth Program Reaches Rural Kidney Patients in Northern Wisconsin
Author(s): Candi Helseth
Sponsoring organization: Rural Assistance Center
Highlights a renal disease telehealth program in Wisconsin, which is serving low-income nursing home residents as well as patients who can travel to their local clinic for care.
Journal citation: Rural Monitor Volume 2012 Issue Winter
Date: 02 / 2012
Case Studies on Transit and Livable Communities in Rural and Small Town America
Author(s): Sean Barry
Sponsoring organization: Transportation for America
Collection of 12 case studies providing examples of how small cities, towns, and rural regions across the country are transforming themselves into more livable communities.
Date: 09 / 2010
Connecting Rural Wisconsin: The Economic Necessity of Broadband
Sponsoring organization: Wisconsin Technology Council
Discusses why broadband access is critical to the future development of rural counties. Benefits include improved access to health care, more higher education options, improved public safety, and a stronger infrastructure.
Date: 11 / 2011
Demographic and Economic Profile: Wisconsin
Sponsoring organization: Rural Policy Research Institute
Discusses demographic and economic data including population, race, education, age, poverty, health care services, and employment. Includes maps and graphics.
Date: 12 / 2008
Farm Calls: Nurses Deliver Free Preventative Care to Farmers
Author(s): Lindsey V. Corey
Sponsoring organization: National Rural Health Association
Highlights the Wisconsin Rural Health Initiative which makes annual house calls to farmers to conduct health screenings, farm safety tips, and referrals.
Journal citation: Rural Roads Volume Fall
Date: 11 / 2012
Financial Effects of Wisconsin Critical Access Hospital Conversion: Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Author(s): Dale Gullickson, Richard Donkle
Sponsoring organization: Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Analyzes the financial condition of Wisconsin critical access hospitals.
Midwest National Health Service Corps Retention Toolkit
Sponsoring organization: National Rural Recruitment & Retention Network
Provides tools to assist National Health Service Corps (NHSC) sites with the retention of health care providers.
Oral Health: Preventing Cavities, Gum Disease, and Tooth Loss Success Stories, 2010
Sponsoring organization: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Describes successful oral health programs in Arkansas, Nevada, and Wisconsin.
Past Silos and Smokestacks: Transforming the Rural Economy in the Midwest
Author(s): Mark Drabenstott
Sponsoring organization: Chicago Council on Global Affairs
Discusses a development strategy that includes regional cooperation, innovation, and a leveraging of all strengths for the rural Midwest to transform its economy.
Profiles of State Innovation: Roadmap for Managing Long-Term Supports and Services
Author(s): Alice Link, Suzanne Gore, Lindsay Barnette, Stephen Somers
Sponsoring organization: Center for Health Care Strategies
Identifies five states that demonstrate expertise in managed care approaches for individuals with long-term care needs. States included are Arizona, Hawaii, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Date: 11 / 2010
Rural Wisconsin Today
Author(s): Rick Rolfsmeyer
Sponsoring organization: Wisconsin Rural Partners
A compilation of key indicators on the status and trends of rural Wisconsin. Includes definitions of rural, employment and income, education and schools, health care, housing, and data.
Small Business Profile: Wisconsin
Sponsoring organization: Small Business Administration
Profile of the state's economy, covering the number of firms, industry composition, small business income, banking, women and minority business ownership, and employment.
Date: 2 / 2013
Strong Rural Communities Initiative (SRCI) Program: Challenges in Promoting Healthier Lifestyles
Author(s): Syed Ahmed, Tim Size, Myron Crouse, Leslie Patterson, et al
Sponsoring organization: Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative
Discusses leadership assistance given to six rural communities in Wisconsin to develop and implement new, collaborative interventions that addressed the specific health needs of each community.
Date: 06 / 2011
USDA Rural Development 2012 Progress Report
Sponsoring organization: USDA Rural Development
Reports on investments made by USDA Rural Development intended to have a lasting, sustainable impact on rural American by supporting economic growth, broadband implementation, housing programs, and public utility projects. Features programs implemented in Minnesota, Georgia, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee, Louisiana, Illinois, Arizona, North Carolina, North Dakota, Colorado, Florida, and Wisconsin. Reports total funds granted to each of the 50 states from 2009 - 2012.
Well-Being of Rural Children and Families in Wisconsin
Discusses how rural children and families face many of the same challenges as their rural neighbors but are disproportionately more likely to be without the public services to assist them when necessary.
WIRED for Health: Wisconsin's Health Information Technology (HIT) Strategic and Operational Plan
Sponsoring organization: WIRED Wisconsin
Describes the HIT and HIE (health information exchange) goals and objectives Wisconsin aspires to achieve and the strategies and operational details on how Wisconsin proposes to accomplish the goals and objectives. Includes specific measures that address rural and workforce shortage areas.
Date: 08 / 2010
See also: State-by-State Resources: Documents
Eye On Health Newsletter
Monthly newsletter of the Rural Wisconsin Health Cooperative.
Monthly newsletter focused on rural health and leadership.
Wisconsin - Rural Reporter
Publication of the Wisconsin Office of Rural Health. Provides daily updates on rural health funding, plus federal, state, local news, and events.
Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program Program Updates
Published monthly. Provides updates on the Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program (WRPRAP), which collaborates with rural health advocates, community clinicians, and residency educators throughout Wisconsin to develop educational experiences that
foster understanding of, and interest in, rural medical practice among new physicians.
Sowing the Seeds of Hope
Sowing the Seeds of Hope is responding to the mental health needs of farm families. This is a collaborative effort of project leaders in seven predominantly rural states: Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
Rural Health Initiative (Stevens Point, Wisconsin)
This project produced several innovative solutions to the lack of affordable dental care in the area by providing dental health services to low-income residents including: outreach, transportation to dental appointments using Head Start buses, and preventative fluoride supplements.
Hispanic Health Outreach Project
The Hispanic Health Outreach Project provided outreach, education, and case management services to Hispanic residents in Portage and Waupaca counties.