Try 1 month for 99¢
residential home file photo

Ask any Wisconsin homeowner how high his or her property taxes are and you're likely to get this response: too high.

But how high are the state's property taxes really? And how do those taxes match up with home values in the county?

These are the questions addressed by economists at the Tax Policy Center in a report released late last year.

Using data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, the report's authors examined residential property taxes in every U.S. county from 2007 to 2011, looking at how much homeowners were paying on average and how that average compared to average home sale prices over the same time period.

The data contained some interesting, though perhaps not surprising, revelations about Wisconsin's property taxes:

• Dane County levied the state's highest average property tax in dollars — $4,279 — and ranked 61st among all U.S. counties examined in the report.

• Waukesha County had the highest average home price in the state at $261,100, which puts the county 207th in the country.

But the most surprising fact revealed in the data was about which county had the highest taxes when weighed against the average home price.

Believe it or not, residents of Menominee County, population 4,317, paid an average of 2.61 percent of their home values in property taxes, making it number 20 in the nation and placing it in the company of counties in New York and other northeastern states, according to the report's authors.

For comparison, Dane County residents paid an average of 1.85 percent over the same time period. The statewide average was 1.84 percent.

It should be noted that the period this report examines covers the Great Recession, which saw home values plummet in much of the country while municipalities struggled to make up for lost state and federal funds. So it's probably best to view this report as a snapshot of the times we're living in rather than as an example of the way things are in better economic times.

Check out the map below to see the average property taxes paid in each county. Click on the "As percent of home value" tab to see a different view of the data.

Hover your mouse over any county to see more details about the average property taxes in that county.

Source: "Residential Property Taxes in the United States," Tax Policy Center, Nov. 18, 2013

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.
0
1
1
0
2

Average property taxes and home prices by county, 2007-11

Source: State & Local Government Finance Initiative - The Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center.

Data from U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (2005-2012). Date of access Sept. 20, 2013.

County Avg. taxes paid WI rank US rank Avg. home price WI rank US rank Taxes as share of home price WI rank US rank
Adams County $2,053 55 477 $135,000 46 1073 1.52% 59 496
Ashland County $1,854 64 580 $113,700 66 1441 1.63% 45 366
Barron County $2,304 41 360 $135,000 45 1073 1.71% 40 296
Bayfield County $1,957 60 522 $157,900 23 746 1.24% 68 912
Brown County $2,976 17 182 $159,900 20 724 1.86% 20 177
Buffalo County $2,171 50 413 $134,100 47 1085 1.62% 50 388
Burnett County $1,887 63 562 $155,400 25 780 1.21% 69 944
Calumet County $3,027 15 175 $161,300 19 707 1.88% 18 165
Chippewa County $2,193 46 404 $147,900 31 883 1.48% 62 536
Clark County $1,956 61 523 $111,900 67 1479 1.75% 34 259
Columbia County $3,065 14 167 $177,000 13 562 1.73% 36 270
Crawford County $2,296 42 363 $116,100 64 1398 1.98% 9 111
Dane County $4,279 1 61 $231,400 3 303 1.85% 22 187
Dodge County $2,954 19 185 $157,400 24 752 1.88% 17 164
Door County $2,420 36 320 $189,400 9 482 1.28% 67 846
Douglas County $2,165 51 416 $133,600 48 1089 1.62% 49 385
Dunn County $2,952 20 186 $158,300 22 739 1.86% 19 171
Eau Claire County $2,677 27 249 $148,600 30 874 1.80% 28 218
Florence County $1,744 68 656 $129,600 53 1155 1.35% 65 741
Fond du Lac County $2,692 26 246 $145,200 35 920 1.85% 21 183
Forest County $1,683 69 694 $120,100 60 1318 1.40% 63 641
Grant County $2,120 52 436 $121,500 59 1282 1.74% 35 261
Green County $3,149 12 154 $154,000 28 801 2.04% 3 86
Green Lake County $2,356 40 341 $140,000 40 991 1.68% 41 317
Iowa County $3,097 13 163 $159,200 21 731 1.95% 10 119
Iron County $1,511 72 839 $109,100 69 1539 1.38% 64 667
Jackson County $2,017 58 496 $124,000 56 1237 1.63% 46 370
Jefferson County $3,219 11 146 $183,100 10 515 1.76% 33 252
Juneau County $2,072 54 461 $116,500 63 1391 1.78% 30 235
Kenosha County $3,597 7 115 $180,000 11 538 2.00% 7 103
Kewaunee County $2,444 35 314 $147,200 33 899 1.66% 44 343
La Crosse County $3,005 16 179 $151,900 29 830 1.98% 8 110
Lafayette County $2,447 34 312 $119,700 61 1326 2.04% 4 88
Langlade County $1,781 66 636 $107,100 71 1585 1.66% 43 339
Lincoln County $2,182 47 407 $131,000 52 1136 1.67% 42 336
Manitowoc County $2,389 38 332 $125,600 54 1205 1.90% 14 148
Marathon County $2,674 28 251 $141,700 38 971 1.89% 16 158
Marinette County $1,626 71 742 $109,100 68 1539 1.49% 61 528
Marquette County $2,268 43 373 $143,000 37 951 1.59% 53 429
Menominee County $2,509 31 299 $96,000 72 1880 2.61% 1 20
Milwaukee County $3,812 4 93 $165,300 18 671 2.31% 2 42
Monroe County $2,393 37 331 $131,900 51 1122 1.81% 27 205
Oconto County $2,253 45 380 $147,300 32 898 1.53% 58 486
Oneida County $2,018 57 495 $170,700 14 613 1.18% 70 991
Outagamie County $2,842 22 212 $155,300 26 781 1.83% 26 200
Ozaukee County $4,131 2 66 $256,800 2 217 1.61% 52 405
Pepin County $2,666 29 252 $139,200 41 1003 1.92% 13 142
Pierce County $3,623 5 112 $197,400 7 430 1.84% 24 195
Polk County $2,710 25 245 $167,100 17 648 1.62% 48 381
Portage County $2,567 30 278 $144,400 36 932 1.78% 31 236
Price County $1,845 65 586 $114,000 65 1436 1.62% 51 390
Racine County $3,445 8 127 $177,300 12 558 1.94% 11 121
Richland County $2,265 44 374 $123,600 57 1244 1.83% 25 197
Rock County $2,791 24 222 $139,000 42 1006 2.01% 5 97
Rusk County $1,634 70 735 $108,100 70 1563 1.51% 60 507
Sauk County $2,858 21 208 $167,200 16 647 1.71% 39 294
Sawyer County $1,745 67 655 $167,900 15 639 1.04% 71 1249
Shawano County $2,025 56 491 $124,800 55 1214 1.62% 47 379
Sheboygan County $2,968 18 183 $154,300 27 794 1.92% 12 133
St. Croix County $3,391 10 133 $220,300 5 337 1.54% 57 477
Taylor County $2,111 53 440 $122,400 58 1262 1.72% 38 279
Trempealeau County $2,497 32 303 $132,100 50 1119 1.89% 15 154
Vernon County $2,357 39 340 $133,300 49 1094 1.77% 32 241
Vilas County $1,946 62 526 $195,000 8 448 1.00% 72 1323
Walworth County $3,427 9 129 $198,700 6 424 1.72% 37 278
Washburn County $1,962 59 520 $146,400 34 908 1.34% 66 745
Washington County $3,610 6 113 $231,200 4 304 1.56% 55 454
Waukesha County $4,053 3 72 $261,100 1 207 1.55% 56 462
Waupaca County $2,477 33 309 $138,300 44 1018 1.79% 29 227
Waushara County $2,181 48 408 $138,500 43 1015 1.57% 54 439
Winnebago County $2,826 23 216 $140,800 39 978 2.01% 6 98
Wood County $2,172 49 412 $117,900 62 1360 1.84% 23 190

Nick Heynen was the online editor for the Wisconsin State Journal and managed the newspaper's social media accounts until 2018. A Maryland native transplanted to Wisconsin, he joined the paper in 2007 as data reporter.