kids encyclopedia robot

Buffalo County, Wisconsin facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Buffalo County
Alma Area Museum in Old Buffalo County Training School and Teachers College Building in Alma, Wisconsin.
Alma Area Museum in Old Buffalo County Training School and Teachers College Building in Alma, Wisconsin.
Map of Wisconsin highlighting Buffalo County
Location within the U.S. state of Wisconsin
Map of the United States highlighting Wisconsin
Wisconsin's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Wisconsin
Founded 1854
Named for Buffalo River
Seat Alma
Largest city Mondovi
 • Total 710 sq mi (1,800 km2)
 • Land 672 sq mi (1,740 km2)
 • Water 38 sq mi (100 km2)  5.3%
 • Total 13,587
 • Estimate 
 • Density 19.14/sq mi (7.39/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 3rd

Buffalo County is a county located in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,587. Its county seat is Alma. The county was created in 1853 and organized the following year.


Buffalo County, founded in 1853, is named for the Buffalo River, which flows from Strum to Alma, Wisconsin, where it empties into the Mississippi River. The Buffalo River obtained its name from the French voyager Father Louis Hennepin, who named it "Riviere des Boeufs" in 1680. The first permanent settlement was established in 1839, located in what is now Fountain City. This settlement was originally named Holmes' Landing after a family that traded with the Sioux and Chippewa. Buffalo County was settled primarily by Swiss, German, and Norwegian immigrants who were drawn to the area by the growing lumber industry, fertile soils, access to the Mississippi, and available land. By 1848 a second community was established called Twelve Mile Bluff, which is now known as Alma.

Agriculture developed during the 1850s on top of the ridges where there were natural prairies and oak savannas, which made working the land much easier. With the lack of good roads, settlement remained along the Mississippi River where farmers could ship their grain on steamboats. The development of the Northern Rail from Winona, Minnesota allowed for development away from the river, and by 1890 farmers were transporting their goods predominantly by rail.

The Civil War gave a boost to the local economy with the rising demand for wheat, which was the main crop of the county. The post-war period brought a large influx of settlers, however, because of declining soil fertility, many moved west rather than adopt crop rotation and fertilization. With the price of wheat falling, farmers turned to dairy farming, and by the 1880s local creameries had started to appear.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 710 square miles (1,800 km2), of which 672 square miles (1,740 km2) is land and 38 square miles (98 km2) (5.3%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 10.svg U.S. Highway 10
  • WIS 25.svg Highway 25 (Wisconsin)
  • WIS 35.svg Highway 35 (Wisconsin)
  • WIS 37.svg Highway 37 (Wisconsin)
  • WIS 54.svg Highway 54 (Wisconsin)
  • WIS 88.svg Highway 88 (Wisconsin)
  • WIS 95.svg Highway 95 (Wisconsin)
  • WIS 121.svg Highway 121 (Wisconsin)


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 3,864
1870 11,123 187.9%
1880 15,528 39.6%
1890 15,997 3.0%
1900 16,765 4.8%
1910 16,006 −4.5%
1920 15,615 −2.4%
1930 15,330 −1.8%
1940 16,090 5.0%
1950 14,719 −8.5%
1960 14,202 −3.5%
1970 13,743 −3.2%
1980 14,309 4.1%
1990 13,584 −5.1%
2000 13,804 1.6%
2010 13,587 −1.6%
2020 (est.) 13,033 −4.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2020
USA Buffalo County, Wisconsin age pyramid
2000 Census Age Pyramid for Buffalo County

As of the census of 2000, there were 13,804 people, 5,511 households, and 3,780 families residing in the county. The population density was 20 people per square mile (8/km2). There were 6,098 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (3/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 98.69% White, 0.12% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.08% from other races, and 0.46% from two or more races. 0.62% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 44.3% were of German, 22.1% Norwegian and 8.8% Polish ancestry. 96.9% spoke English, 1.6% Spanish and 1.1% German as their first language.

There were 5,511 households, out of which 30.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.90% were married couples living together, 6.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.40% were non-families. 27.10% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.01.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 25.10% under the age of 18, 6.90% from 18 to 24, 27.60% from 25 to 44, 23.70% from 45 to 64, and 16.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 100.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.40 males.




Buffalo County sign on WIS 54


Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Ghost towns

Notable people

  • Chauncey H. Cooke (1846–1919), American soldier in the U.S. Civil War

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Buffalo (Wisconsin) para niños

kids search engine
Buffalo County, Wisconsin Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.