Brown, Dane counties lead Wis. population growth

Wisconsin population grows a modest 0.3 percent with Brown, Dane counties leading the way

Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Wisconsin's population has grown by about 16,000 people, or 0.3 percent, in the past year with the largest percentage growth coming in Brown and Dane counties, according to figures released Wednesday by the state's Department of Health Services.

There were 5.70 million residents in the state last year, according to the agency's statistics, a modest increase from the 5.69 million people in 2010.

Brown County led the way in percentage growth, gaining about 2,300 residents, or 0.9 percent. Dane County also grew 0.9 percent, adding a state-high 4,214 residents.

The counties that lost residents are mainly in the far north and were already among the smallest in the state. Forest County lost about 100 residents, or 1 percent, leaving about 9,200 remaining. And the state's second-smallest county got 1 percent smaller, as Florence County lost 41 residents to end up with about 4,400.

Overall, 42 counties saw population growth, 19 lost residents and 11 remained essentially unchanged.

The largest counties are Milwaukee County (950,000), Dane County (492,000) and Waukesha County (391,000). The smallest are Menominee County (4,250), Florence County and Iron County (5,850).

Dane and Brown counties had the largest growth in absolute numbers last year. Next were Milwaukee County, which added about 2,000 residents (0.2 percent), and Outagamie County, which added 1,145 people (0.6 percent).

The Department of Health Services also broke down the numbers by dividing the state into five regions. The south, southeast and northeast each gained about 4,500 people, while the western region added about 2,620 people and the northern region remained flat.

Wisconsin is expected to keep growing over the next 30 years. A report from Gov. Scott Walker's administration in July predicted that the state would gain more than 800,000 people by 2040, swelling to a population of 6.5 million.

The report predicted the growth would be driven by increased migration and a birth rate that stayed ahead of the death rate. The increase is expected to slow around 2030, however, as baby boomer deaths rise and migration slows.

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