Gov. Doyle: Announces Wisconsin continues to grow and attract new residents

Contacts: Laura Smith, Office of the Governor, 608-261-2162

Carla Vigue, Department of Administration, 608-266-7362

Annual Population Estimates Released

MADISON – Governor Doyle announced today that Wisconsin has added nearly 325,000 residents since the 2000 U.S. Census and its population continued to grow through 2008, according to data released by the Department of Administration. The state added 324,325 or 6 percent more residents, with growth distributed throughout communities of all sizes.

“Wisconsin continues to offer good opportunities and a great quality of life to its residents,” Governor Doyle said. “This year’s report shows that our efforts to grow Wisconsin’s economy by investing in our priorities have paid off. I am committed to investing in high-paying jobs, protecting our environment, and supporting our strong education system to provide opportunity and grow Wisconsin into the future.”

The Department of Administration produces population estimates each year as required by state statute. The estimates are used by state and local officials for a variety of purposes including the distribution of state funds, district attorney allocation, and calculation of voter turnout. State demographers use vehicle registrations, tax filings, school enrollment, changes in housing units, institutional enrollment, and records of births and deaths to make their estimates. The report shows that the state’s population was 5,688,040 as of January 1, 2009.

Wisconsin’s growth rate remains strong compared to other Midwestern states, ranking second behind Minnesota in the region and fourth out of all 12 Midwestern states. Unlike other states whose population growth has centered on large metropolitan areas or one particular part of the state, Wisconsin’s growth has extended to communities of all sizes.

Much of the growth is seen in four areas: the Fox River Valley, parts of Western Wisconsin, Dane County and Southeastern Wisconsin. Dane and Waukesha Counties had the largest growth in the state, adding an estimated 47,096 and 22,423 residents respectively since April 1, 2000. St. Croix County recorded the fastest rate of growth in the state, with a 26.5 percent increase since 2000, followed by Calumet County with a 14.8 percent change. Other counties with rapid growth include Polk and Washington counties.

While the Milwaukee Metropolitan area (Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha) continues to show modest growth, the population estimate shows a slight decline for Milwaukee County. The Milwaukee County estimate shows that in percentage terms, Milwaukee County’s population declined 0.9 percent while the other counties in the Milwaukee metropolitan area increased by 40,850 since the 2000 Census, resulting in an overall metropolitan growth rate of 2.2 percent between April 1, 2000 and January 1, 2009.

In the past year, due to reduced interstate migration-common throughout the country-Wisconsin grew at its slowest rate this decade, 0.2 percent. Nonetheless, the state had shown positive increases-ranging from 0.5 to 1 percent annually-in previous years this decade. Other states that grew rapidly during the earlier years of the 2000s have estimated flattened growth, or even declines, in population recently. For example, state demographers in Florida, where the population grew at an average of more than 2 percent annually in the first eight years of this decade, estimated a net loss of 60,000 people, its first decline in 63 years, for the past year. Nevada grew an estimated 4.3 percent per annum from 2000 to 2007 but predicted a gain of only 0.8 percent in 2008.

The final population estimates released today have been reviewed by county and municipal officials. For more information on county and municipal estimates, please visit: or contact the Department of Administration at 101 E. Wilson Street, 10th Floor, P.O. Box 8944, Madison, WI 53708.