Wisconsin's Population Trends Similar to Neighboring States

Jan 14, 2020

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MADISON, Wis. -- Newly released Census estimates show Wisconsin's population is growing a bit, but isn't exactly surging. However, one demographer says it's much better than some other Midwestern states.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Wisconsin gained 15,000 residents from July 2018 to July 2019. William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, said what's happening in the Badger State is similar to some neighboring states in the upper Midwest. "Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa are all growing at kind of a modest rate - a little bit higher for Minnesota than for Wisconsin or Iowa," Frey said. Minnesota led the three states with a population gain of more than 33,000, while Iowa added more than 6,000 residents.

As for other Midwestern states, Michigan barely saw any growth, while Illinois lost residents for a sixth year in a row. The recent estimate from the Census Bureau leads up to the next official count, which will begin to unfold in the coming months. Frey said while Wisconsin and its neighbors are seeing a lot of residents move out of their respective states to other parts of the country, they're offsetting those losses through having more births than deaths. International immigration is also a factor. "All have also experienced immigration from abroad that, along with the natural increase, counters that," he said. "So, I think that's a good sign."

The upcoming official Census count will play a role in determining whether states will gain or lose Congressional seats. While there hasn't been much talk of Wisconsin losing a seat, Frey said it's still too early in the process to speculate. He said making sure all residents participate in the Census will be helpful in ensuring that doesn't happen.