The U.S. government defines poverty in relative terms - goods and services that are commonly taken for granted by most people in the country but are unaffordable to those in poverty. In 2011, the poverty threshold in the U.S. for a family of four is $22,350. Minnesota and Wisconsin are relatively well-off states.
In 2008, for example, 13.2 percent of the U.S. population fell below the poverty level but only 9.7 percent of those in Minnesota (ranked 46th out of 50 states) and 10.7 percent of Wisconsinites (ranked 38th). In addition, the Minnesota and Wisconsin counties in the St. Croix Valley form a relatively prosperous part of these relatively prosperous states. For most indicators of poverty included in this section of the website, you will see that the St. Croix Valley Counties have somewhat lower indicators of poverty than their respective states. You will also see that the further the county is from the Twin Cities Metro area, the closer the county is to the state average. In particular, Pierce County and Polk County tend to have somewhat more elevated rates of poverty.