Public record: Where is Milwaukee County growing?

Last updated on September 27th, 2021 at 12:13 pm

Milwaukee County and the city of Milwaukee did not receive good news when the U.S. Census Bureau released new population figures this summer. 

From 2010 to 2020, the city lost more than 17,600 residents, a nearly 3% drop, and the county lost more than 8,200 residents, an almost 1% decline. The state of Wisconsin’s population at least grew 3.6%, but it still trailed the entire country’s population growth of 7.4%. 

A closer look using Census data processed by Angeliki Kastanis of the Associated Press, however, shows diverging stories in Milwaukee’s population. The downtown and vicinity was home to some of the fastest growing areas of the state while the north and northwest sides of the city were among the hardest hit by population loss. 

Downtown Milwaukee and surrounding areas like the Third Ward, Walker’s Point and the Lower East Side added more than 7,600 residents, an increase of nearly 17% across 15 census tracts to reach a population of 52,855. 

At the same time, the area bounded by Capitol Drive, North 35th Street, Brown Street and just east of I-43 was home to 10 census tracts with more than 20% population loss. The area, which stretches just beyond the boundaries of the 53206 zip code, lost more than 6,900, to drop to a population of 32,891.

Other findings from the data include:

  • Dane County had 15 of 25, 26 of 50 and 36 of 100 of the fastest growing census tracts in the state, including the four fastest. However, the fastest growing tract in the state barely cracked the top 1,000 nationally. 
  • The fifth fastest growing census tract was in Grand Chute, just northwest of Appleton.
  • The census tract covering the Third Ward, along with parts of downtown Milwaukee and Walker’s Point, grew almost 70%, the sixth fastest rate in the state.
  • Two tracts in Wauwatosa had particularly strong growth. The area that includes the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center and neighborhoods immediately north and west grew 36%, while the tract containing the Mayfair Collection grew 26%

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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.