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La Crosse County employment is up, poverty is down and the population is grayer than it was in 2010, according to the U.S. Census data released Thursday.

There were 65,622 people in the civilian labor force across the county in 2017, and La Crosse County had an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent, down from 5.2 percent in 2010. The Wisconsin unemployment rate of 4.7 percent in 2017 was down from 6.7 percent in 2010.

Of the 62,589 people employed across the county, 26,341 people, or 29.8 percent, have a bachelor’s degree or higher, an increase from roughly 24.8 percent in 2010.

Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting and mining employed 1.2 percent of La Crosse County workers in 2017, down from 1.5 percent in 2010. Educational services, healthcare and social assistance jobs were the biggest category at 29.6 percent of workers, up from 27 percent in 2010 — an increase of 2,076 jobs.

The total number of residents older than 50 was 39,898, 33.9 percent of La Crosse County’s population, up from 31.4 percent in 2010. The number of residents older than 65 was 17,569, or 14.9 percent of the county population in 2017, up from 13.3 percent in 2010.

Statewide, 2,112,865 people, or 36.66 percent, were older than 50, up from 32.5 percent in 2010. Wisconsin’s cohort of people older than 65 was 896,724, or 15.56 percent of the population, up from 13.5 percent of the population in 2010.

In La Crosse County, 6.5 percent of families lived below the poverty line of $24,257 in annual income in 2017, down from 7.2 percent of families below the poverty line of $20,180 in 2010. Across the state, 8.1 percent of families lived below the poverty line, a slight increase from 8 percent in 2010.

Median household income increased by an average of about $3,200 in 15 of the state’s 72 counties. Oneida County had the largest growth, increasing from about $47,000 to nearly $53,000.

Manitowoc County had the only drop, with income falling about $2,300.

About 56 counties saw decreases in uninsured people and no counties had a significant increase in uninsured rates.

The bureau also released its American Community Survey, which studies more than 40 social, economic, housing and demographic topics.

About half of Wisconsin counties had less than 60 percent of households with smartphones, including Richland and a few other western counties. Dane County had the highest percentage of smartphone usage with 77 percent.

The survey found a connection between income and internet access, with 93 percent of Wisconsin households with income above $75,000 had broadband, compared with 75 percent of those with incomes of $20,000 to $75,000. About half of households with income below $20,000 had broadband connections.

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Wisconsin State Journal reporter Chris Hubbuch contributed to this report.

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Data, interactive and video journalist

Elizabeth Beyer is a data, interactive and video journalist with the River Valley Media Group.

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