The population of the three suburban counties in metro Milwaukee grew faster than the state of Wisconsin in the past decade, but it still lagged the population growth of the U.S.
Combined, the population of Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties grew 4.5% since 2010 to 635,242, an increase of more than 27,000, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. Metro Milwaukee grew 1.2%.
Milwaukee County lost nearly 0.9% of its population with strong growth in the downtown area and Wauwatosa offset by population losses on the north and northwest sides of the city of Milwaukee.
Ozaukee County led the way for the metro area with 5.9% growth, an increase of roughly 5,100 to 91,503. Waukesha County was second with 4.4% growth, up 17,087 to 406,978. Washington County grew 3.7%, an increase of 4,874 to 136,781.
Wisconsin’s population overall grew 3.6% from 2010 to 5.89 million, an increase of more than 206,000. The U.S. population grew 7.4% over the same period.
The WOW counties did have 41 census tracts with population growth that topped the U.S. pace, covering nearly 30% of the three counties’ population. The faster growing group includes four tracts with greater than 30% growth and another five with greater than 20% growth, according to a BizTimes Milwaukee review of Census data processed by Angeliki Kastanis of the Associated Press.
The fastest growing census tract in the WOW counties covered portions of the city and village of Pewaukee and the town of Lisbon. It stretched from Capitol Drive on the south to Lisbon Road on the north and from Duplainville Road on the east to High or Ryan Road on the west. The tract added 1,551 people in the past decade, a 38.4% increase to 5,588.
The second fastest growing tract in the WOW counties was located about 10 miles west in an area covering portions of the city and town of Oconomowoc. The tract covers and area from just south of Wisconsin Avenue north to Highway K and from Brown Street west to Highway 67. That area added 1,845 residents, an increase of 38% to nearly 6,700.
The third fastest growing census tract inn the WOW counties was in Ozaukee County in an area primarily in the town of Grafton with parts of southern Port Washington. It stretches from I-43 east to Lake Michigan between Pioneer and Sauk roads. The area added 655 residents, a 36.3% increase from 2010 to reach 2,460.
Washington County’s fastest growing census tract was the sixth fastest in the WOW counties. Covering downtown West Bend, the tract added 484 residents for an increase of 25%.
Other fast growing Washington County census tracts included one in Germantown between Mequon and Freistadt roads stretching from River Lane to the county line. That area grew 19.1%, adding 805 residents to reach 5,028.
A triangular tract in the town of Polk, covering the area east of I-41, west of Mayfield Road and generally south of Highway K, was also among the fastest growing in the county, adding 426 residents for 16.5% growth to 3,014.
The tracts located south and east of Hartford saw 15.9% and 14.9% growth respectively, but the tract covering downtown Hartford lost 184 residents, a drop of 4.6%.
While Ozaukee County had just one census tract among the fastest growing in the WOW counties, it did have five tracts with mid-teens percentage growth over the decade. Those tracts included 17.4% growth to the north and west of Cedarburg and Grafton, 16.4% growth in the area northwest of Port Washington, 16.4% and 14.1% growth in two tracts in western Mequon and 14.4% in downtown Grafton.
Other fast growing census tracts in Waukesha County included the town of Brookfield tract home to The Corners and stretching south to Greenfield Avenue, which saw 32.3% growth, the tract covering Lannon and western Menomonee Falls, with 26.6% growth, a tract in the western portion of Waukesha with 24.7% growth, roughly the southeastern half of Muskego with 23.9% growth and the south, southeast portion of the city of Pewaukee with 23.7% growth.
There were 47 tracts across the WOW counties that lost population, although just three of those tracts reached a double-digit percentage decrease.
All three of those were located in Waukesha County. The hardest hit was south of downtown Waukesha in a tract that includes Carroll University. That area lost 17.5% of its population. Another city of Waukesha census tract, stretching north from downtown to I-94 between Grandview and the Fox River, lost 13% of its population. A tract mostly covering the portion of Delafield east of Nagawicka Lake and touching portions of Hartland and the town of Delafield lost 10% of its population.
In Washington County, the hardest hit census tract was in the far northeastern portion of the county in the town of Farmington. That area lost 9.2% of its population over the decade. A tract southwest of West Bend lost 8.8% of its population while one to the city’s northwest lost 6.1%.
The two hardest hit census tracts in Ozaukee County were located north of Saukville and Port Washington with population loss of 4.7% and 3.8% respectively.