Milwaukee City. Archived Photo.

MILWAUKEE – I was going through my LinkedIn recently and I stumbled on an article posted by someone (I have the link in the description of the video attached to this article); the article stated that Milwaukee is one of the best cities in the country for young people to start a career. I also learned that the median income for recent college graduates is 38 thousand a year, or around 18 dollars an hour. This is decent income, compared to minimum wage.

I had some interest on this topic given that I live in Milwaukee. The article did not have much information, so I decided to perform some additional research. After some quick Googling, I found that the median household income in Milwaukee is 58 thousand. I took a step further to check for the meaning of median income; it is the combined income at one household. Meaning, it can be you and your spouse, you and your roommate or just you living alone.

Provided everything I learned from research is accurate, I assume the college graduate’s income may grow by 20 thousand dollars i.e. as an individual in Milwaukee; but how long will it take to earn that? I am not an expert in this particular field so please take my research with a grain of salt. I am providing sources so that you can reach your own conclusion.

While I continued my research, I discovered that from 2005 to 2016, the median income remained roughly the same. I got to know this because I wanted to find a trend from the late 90’s, so I found an archived article in 2011, showing that between 1999 and 2010, the median income declined in Wisconsin. In addition, it appears Milwaukee’s median income has been on the decline for at least 20 years. Before we go into some math, don’t forget I advised you take my research as a grain of salt.

As I would be using assumptions and historical data, keep in mind that the data I am referencing may be inaccurate. Now that all grounds are cleared, here we go. Given the flat ten-year trend between 2005 and 2015, I can assume that it will continue its decline for another 10 years. Why? In 2028, 58 thousand will be equivalent to 45 thousand in 2018. Using an average calculation of 2.5% inflation rate, in 2028, you need to earn 13 thousand dollars more to maintain the same living standard from 2018.

Though, it is obvious I do not know the future, but what if the median income remains flat for another 10 years? What does it take to earn 58 thousand from 38 thousand in Milwaukee besides going back to school and receiving promotions? This could be attached to why I created the ten-year constraint, to back this up, I would add a few more details to make the calculations easy.

Besides that, median income being flat for 10 more years, let’s assume such individual will work for the same company without bonuses or promotions, and the yearly cost of living adjustments is guaranteed at 4%, with that, it will take 11 years to make 58 thousand dollars.

To every young professionals reading, here are important and bothering questions: do you want to remain in Milwaukee for 11 years without earning median household income? What is Milwaukee doing to retain you? Do you believe Milwaukee is growing?

According to the above referenced articles, the answer is yes. Milwaukee is booming but, where is this boom coming from, Illinois? To verify the articles I have outlined, I made a research on Milwaukee’s population size (there are links about this attached in the description of this article’s video). Here are few lines quoted directly from World Population Review’s website: “Milwaukee has a very slowly growing city” “It’s only since the 2010 census that signs of growth have been evident.”

Deducing from the website above, you only see recent growth between 2011 and 2014, while the loss in 2015 and 2016 just about cancels previous growth. I did not find 2017 numbers. Though, you should keep in mind that these are not census numbers, they may be inaccurate. Likewise, in an article published on WPR on May 25th, 2017, Milwaukee’s population dips; referencing census data.

It now brings one to questions, if this was all a spin to seduce Amazon to build their second headquarters in the beautiful and safe Northridge area? How about Downton street cars, taking up one lane streets and the new condos spilling over to major roads? That will be answered in another podcast.

Gathering from further research, I read that Milwaukee is ranked as the 5th fastest growing city in the country; I believe Milwaukee is rated 5th only because of people moving out of Illinois. But, without knowing the true population size in 2017, why would a young professional stay in Milwaukee? As far as I can tell, people are leaving because the median income has been flat for at least 20 years, if not more. What about there being more entry level jobs then senior level or management jobs, considering what I read pointing to Milwaukee being a great starting point in one’s career.

To establish more on the constraints, I experienced a reduction of benefits sometime between 2009-2011. There was also a year that everyone received a 0% cost of living adjustment. 4%, used in my calculation, was a generous number, I probably think 2% is realistic. Remember, I am not an expert so take this with a grain of salt.

In conclusion, based on my research that Milwaukee is a stepping stone city for young professionals; Millennials are known to take new opportunities to grow their career, so what is going to happen to Milwaukee when the Millennials move due to lack of advancement?

Milwaukee is focused on the Millennial workforce without a proven track record of growth. I hope my research is proved wrong because I want Milwaukee to grow and retain the Millennial workforce!

Thank you for reading through. Let me know what you think by commenting. Also, if you have watched the podcast attached to this article, kindly press the like button and subscribe for more.

Contributed by: Alex Vargas of ABCDigital Expert


  1. I don’t know about you guys but I still like Milwaukee, even though it does not very many jobs the crime rate has increased. Still they make some of the best beer in the country. Cheers!

  2. Hey Paul, you have any extra beer that’s cheaper than that Milwaukee damn prices are too and about the crime rate, it’s kick him in the nuts if they give you any grief..


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