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Basic Information

2010 Census Population: 5,686,986 (20th)
Land Area: 54,157.8 square miles (25th)
Density: 105 persons per square mile (23rd)
Capital: Madison
Became a State: May 29, 1848 (30th)
Bordering States: Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota
Abbreviation: WI
ANSI Code: 55


The area of Wisconsin was part of the original territory of the United States, being part of lands ceded by four states to the United States and designated in 1787 as the “Territory northwest of the River Ohio.” Wisconsin Territory was organized on July 3, 1836, from part of Michigan Territory; it included all of present-day Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota, eastern North Dakota and South Dakota, and a small part of northeastern Nebraska. The territory was reduced in 1838 with the organization of Iowa Territory west of the Mississippi River and a line northward from the river’s source.

Although the territory had not yet been legally established, census data for Wisconsin are available beginning with the 1820 census. The 1840 census population is for the entire territory, including the portion of Minnesota northeast and east of the Mississippi River and a line northward from the river’s source. For an explanation of the revision to the 1820 and 1830 population of Wisconsin, see Richard L. Forstall, Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790- 1990, Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1996, page 184.

Data for the legally established state of Wisconsin are available beginning with the 1850 census.

About the Geographic Areas


Wisconsin has 12 federally recognized American Indian areas.  There are 11 reservations, 8 with associated off-reservation trust land.  There is also one off-reservation trust land associated with a reservation in a neighboring state.


Wisconsin has 15 metropolitan statistical areas, 13 micropolitan statistical areas, 1 metropolitan division, and 8 combined statistical areas.


There are 72 counties in Wisconsin.  All counties in Wisconsin are functioning governmental entities, each governed by a board of supervisors.  Menominee County and Menominee town are governmentally consolidated. 


Wisconsin has 1,921 county subdivisions known as minor civil divisions (MCDs).  There are 1,257 towns with functioning, but not necessarily active, governments.  Menominee town is coextensive with Menominee County and has a joint county/MCD government.  Towns in Wisconsin are each governed by a board of supervisors.  The 594 incorporated places in Wisconsin are independent of MCDs and serve as 651 county subdivisions.  In addition, there are 13 undefined MCDs consisting entirely of water area.


There are 773 places in Wisconsin; 594 incorporated places and 179 census designated places (CDPs).  The incorporated places consist of 190 cities and 404 villages.  The minimum population required for incorporation in Wisconsin is 150.  Incorporated places are independent of county subdivisions.


Wisconsin has 1,409 census tracts, 4,489 block groups, and 253,096 census blocks.


For the 111th Congress (January 2009-January 2011), Wisconsin had eight congressional districts.  For the 113th Congress (January 2013-January 2015), Wisconsin continues to have eight congressional districts as a result of reapportionment based on the 2010 Census.


Wisconsin has 46 elementary school districts, 10 secondary school districts and 371 unified school districts.


There are 33 state senate districts and 99 assembly districts in Wisconsin.


Wisconsin has 120 urban areas; 18 urbanized areas and 102 urban clusters.


There are 774 ZIP Code tabulation areas (ZCTAs) in Wisconsin.

Centers of Population

Year North Latitude West Longitude
20106 43° 43′ 19″ 89° 01′ 08″
20006 43° 43′ 43″ 89° 00′ 04″
19905 43° 43′ 16″ 88° 58′ 59″
19804 43° 43′ 09″ 88° 58′ 32″
19703 43° 40′ 56″ 88° 55′ 04″
19603 43° 41′ 52″ 88° 55′ 00″
19503 43° 48′ 00″ 89° 02′ 11″
19402 43° 50′ 10″ 89° 06′ 51″
19302 43° 50′ 07″ 89° 07′ 11″
19201 43° 55′ 42″ 89° 12′ 46″
19101 43° 56′ 53″ 89° 14′ 10″
19001 43° 57′ 29″ 89° 18′ 43″
18901 43° 53′ 27″ 89° 18′ 22″
18801 43° 44′ 57″ 89° 17′ 06″

1  Source:  U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1923
2  Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, recomputation for historical county level data which relied upon aggregate county level population data with an estimated county centroid resulting in a possible error of up to one mile.
3  Source:  U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Centers of Population for States and Counties, 1974
4  Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division, recomputation from archived national block group/enumeration area data resulting in a possible error of up to 1,000 feet.
5  Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, Geography Division, recomputation from archived national block group data resulting in a possible error of up to 1,000 feet.
6  Source:  U.S. Census Bureau, computation from national block-level data

Most Populous, Largest, and Dense Areas

Population Land Area
(square miles)
Population Density
(Persons per square mile)

Name Population Name Area Name Density
County Milwaukee County 947,735 Marathon County 1,544.98 Milwaukee County 3,926.0

 - Inc Place Milwaukee city 594,833 Milwaukee city 96.12 Shorewood village 8,276.4
 - CDP Rib Mountain CDP 5,651 Reserve CDP 53.01 French Island CDP 2,198.0
Town Grand Chute town,
Outagamie County
20,919 Menominee town,
Menominee County
357.61 Madison town,
Dane County

List of Entities

See the Gazetteer Files for a list of geographic entities. See the Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas page for a list of metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas and related statistical areas.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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