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 2012, the poverty threshold in the U.S. for a family of four is $22,050. Minnesota and Wisconsin are relatively well-off states.
In 2012, for example, 11.6 percent of the U.S. families fell below the poverty level but only 7.6 percent of those in Minnesota (tied for fourth-lowest out of 50 states and the District of Columbia) and 9.0 percent of Wisconsinites (ranked 16th lowest). 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.