Wisconsin population up 21,517 in 2018

State has grown 2.2 percent since 2010

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Wisconsin’s population continued to increase in 2018, but the state continued to lose ground to western and southern states that have seen some of the strongest population growth since the 2010 Census.

Wisconsin’s population increased by a net of 21,517 in the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 estimates, an increase of 0.37 percent that ranks 26th out of 50 states. The Census Bureau estimates population as of July 1 annually.

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The Badger State has averaged an increase of 0.27 percent per year for the last five years and has steadily increased in population growth rankings from 38th in 2012.

Despite the gains, the state’s 2.2 percent increase since the 2010 Census ranks 36th in the country.

Data for metro areas will be released in spring, but estimates for 2017 showed Milwaukee County has been a drag on population growth for the state in recent years. Madison and Appleton have led the rest of the state in showing population gains since the 2010 Census.

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Many business leaders have lamented their inability to find enough workers with the state’s unemployment rate around 3 percent.

State lawmakers allocated $6.8 million to efforts to attract workers to the state. Those plans include efforts to recruit veterans and alumni of state colleges and universities to the state, but they also started with a marketing campaign targeting Chicago-area millennials.

Wisconsin ranks eighth amongst other Midwestern states in population growth since 2010. Illinois is last in the region with a population decrease 0.7 percent during that period. Data for 2018 is not available, but from 2014 to 2017 Wisconsin has averaged a net yearly in-migration of around 14,300 from Illinois.

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Minnesota is third in the Midwest with an increase of 5.8 percent. In 2010, Wisconsin had 383,000 more residents than Minnesota, but that figure is down to roughly 203,000 in the 2018 Census estimates. Net migration between Minnesota and Wisconsin is essentially flat over the last four years.

North Dakota leads the region as one of nine states nationally that have seen double-digit population increases during since 2010. Utah increased the most at 14.4 percent. Texas is second at 14.1 percent. Others with double-digit increases include Florida, Colorado, Nevada, Arizona, Washington and Idaho.

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