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Madison grew by nearly 16% over past decade
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Madison grew by nearly 16% over past decade

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The city of Madison proved to be one of the fastest-growing large cities in the state during the past decade, adding 36,631 residents — a 16% growth rate — for a new 2020 population of 269,840.

The Redistricting Data Hub compiled population information for some of Wisconsin’s fastest-growing municipalities, based on Thursday’s U.S. Census Bureau release of detailed 2020 population data for states, counties and municipalities. The data show that Madison-area villages and cities are among the fastest-growing places in Wisconsin since 2010.

Andrea Nelson, the head boxing coach at Ford's Gym in Madison, has been coaching amateur boxers in Madison for over a decade. The lessons she teaches through boxing go far beyond the ring.

The Madison metro area was also the fastest growing in the state, picking up 75,361 residents for a total population of 680,796, a 12.4% increase.

According to Census data, 73.6% of Madison residents identified as non-Hispanic white; 7% identified as Hispanic or Latino; 7% identified as Black or African American; 9% identified as Asian; and 3.5% identified as two or more races.

Wisconsin lawmakers will use the U.S. Census data to draw Wisconsin’s new congressional, legislative, county and municipal voting district lines to be used for the next 10 years.

Broadly speaking, the 2020 census shows the Madison area as the state’s fastest growing, while places such as Milwaukee, as well as some rural counties — Richland County and some in the northern part of the state — lost the most residents, by percentage, since 2010.

Municipal-level data compiled by the Redistricting Hub illustrates the rapid growth of the Madison area. The state’s fastest-growing municipality was the village of Windsor, in Dane County near DeForest. It picked up more than 5,000 people for a 2020 population of 8,754, a 145% growth rate. The village incorporated after town of Windsor voters in 2015 passed a referendum to become a village.

Also fast-growing was the village of Shorewood Hills, which grew nearly 39% to 2,169. The city of Verona grew 32% to 14,030 and the city of Middleton’s population increased 25% to 21,827.

Other Madison-area cities and villages also were some of the fastest growing in the state: the village of Waunakee grew by 23% to 14,879 and the city of Sun Prairie grew about 22% to 35,967. Additionally, the village of Oregon grew by 21%, for a new population of 11,179; and the village of DeForest also grew by about 21%, for a 2020 population of 10,811.

The city of Fitchburg grew by 17% for a new population of 29,609.

Other fast-growing places

Some of the other fastest-growing municipalities in the state, by percentage, were the village of Bristol, west of Kenosha, which grew by 101%; Fontana-on-Geneva Lake, which grew by 87%; Hobart Village, near Green Bay, which grew 65%; and the city of Altoona, near Eau Claire, which grew by 24%.

Eau Claire increased its population by 3,538, or about 5%, to reach 69,421; and Green Bay added 3,338 people, or about 3%, to reach 107,395. Another faster-growing large city, Appleton, grew by 4% to reach 75,644 residents.

Declining population

The municipality that lost the most population, by percentage, during the past decade was the city of New Lisbon, northwest of Wisconsin Dells, which lost 32% of its population. The city of Crandon, in the state’s northeast, lost 11% of its population; and the city of Adams, in central Wisconsin, lost 10%.

As opposed to Madison, the state’s largest city, Milwaukee, saw a population decline of 3% to 577,222, the lowest since 1930. The city’s population peaked at 741,324 in 1960. Thursday’s U.S. Census data show that, while Milwaukee’s population has decreased, some of its suburbs have grown.

The city of Brookfield grew by 9%, for a 2020 population of 41,464, for example, while Pewaukee grew by 21%, Menomonee Falls by 8%, Oak Creek by 6% and nearby Oconomowoc by 16%.


State legislators will use the census data to ensure that Wisconsin’s political maps reflect how the state’s population has grown and shifted since the 2010 census. With a detailed understanding of where Wisconsin’s population resides in 2020, they can update the boundaries of the state’s eight congressional, 99 Assembly and 33 state Senate districts, and local leaders can redraw municipal and county board districts.

The Madison area’s rapid growth during the past 10 years likely means that its legislative districts will need to shrink in order to maintain equal population with the state’s other districts, many of which will need to expand in size to do the same.

Wisconsin’s population rose to 5,893,718, a 3.6% increase from the 2010 census, retaining its position as the 20th most populous state. Its population growth rate ranked 34th among the 50 states. Altogether, the U.S. population rose to 331,449,281, the Census Bureau said, a 7.4% increase that was the second-slowest ever.


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