Milwaukee County’s population dropped by more than 10,000 in 2021

The Milwaukee skyline is visible from the corner of Fond du Lac Avenue and Country Aire Drive on the east side of Germantown.
The Milwaukee skyline is visible from the corner of Fond du Lac Avenue and Country Aire Drive on the east side of Germantown.

Last updated on March 29th, 2022 at 11:49 am

Milwaukee County’s population decreased by 10,090 in 2021 even as the number of births outpaced deaths and the county added more than 700 residents from outside the country, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

The natural population increase and immigration were not enough to offset the net loss of 12,764 residents to domestic migration, according to Census data. Overall, Milwaukee County’s population decreased nearly 1.1%.

The estimates are as of July 1, 2021 and are compared to the same time in 2020.

The rest of the metro area, made up of Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties, saw a nearly 0.5% population increase, adding 2,979 residents. Those three counties have 638,428 residents compared to 928,059 in Milwaukee.

The WOW counties saw a natural decrease in population of 1,268 as deaths outpaced births. They added 216 residents via international migration and 3,984 via domestic migration.

Ozaukee County led the WOW counties with a 1% population increase. Waukesha County was up almost 0.4% and Washington County was up a little more than 0.3%.

Elsewhere in southeastern Wisconsin, Walworth County grew 0.28% while Sheboygan was down 0.16%, Kenosha was down 0.2%, and Racine dipped 0.28%.

As a state, Wisconsin’s population was up 3,585 or 0.06%. Dane County grew 0.29% and Brown County was up 0.32%. Vilas County, which is in northern Wisconsin and includes the Eagle River area, was the fastest growing up 1.92% or 444 residents.

As a region, metro Milwaukee’s population was down 7,111 or 0.45%, ranking 326th out of 384 metro areas in the country. Among the 100 largest metros, Milwaukee’s population drop was the 15th worst. Among the 10 metros closest in population to Milwaukee, only New Orleans had a worse decline, down 0.68%.

Milwaukee wasn’t alone among Midwestern metro areas in seeing a population decline. Chicago was down 0.95%, losing 91,671 residents, Detroit decreased 0.47%, Minneapolis-St. Paul dipped 0.05%, St. Louis lost 0.32%, Pittsburgh lost 0.58% and Cleveland was down 0.46%.

At the same time, a number of Midwest metros saw growth. Cincinnati was up 0.1%, Kansas City was up 0.27%, Columbus, Ohio grew 0.47%, Indianapolis grew 0.62%, Grand Rapids grew 0.31%, and Madison grew 0.25%.

Des Moines led the way with a 1.17% population increase, adding 8,303 residents.

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

No posts to display