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Milwaukee County, Wisconsin facts for kids

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Milwaukee County
Milwaukee County Courthouse
Milwaukee County Courthouse
Flag of Milwaukee County
Official seal of Milwaukee County
Map of Wisconsin highlighting Milwaukee County
Location within the U.S. state of Wisconsin
Map of the United States highlighting Wisconsin
Wisconsin's location within the U.S.
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Country  United States
State  Wisconsin
Founded 1835
Named for Milwaukee River
Seat Milwaukee
Largest city Milwaukee
 • Total 1,189 sq mi (3,080 km2)
 • Land 241 sq mi (620 km2)
 • Water 948 sq mi (2,460 km2)  80%
 • Total 939,489
 • Density 3,891/sq mi (1,502/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional districts 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th

Milwaukee County is located in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of the 2010 census, the population was 947,735 and was estimated to be 945,016 in 2020. It is both the most populous and most densely populated county in Wisconsin, and the 45th most populous county nationwide; Milwaukee, its eponymous county seat, is also the most populous city in the state. The county was created in 1834 as part of Michigan Territory and organized the following year.

Milwaukee County is the most populous county of the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI Metropolitan Statistical Area, as well as of the Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha, WI Combined Statistical Area (See Milwaukee metropolitan area).

There are 19 cities in Milwaukee County; after the city of Milwaukee, the most populous as of 2019 are West Allis (59,890), Wauwatosa (48,118), Greenfield (37,221), Oak Creek (36,325), and Franklin (35,811). The county is home to two major-league professional sports teams, the Milwaukee Bucks and Milwaukee Brewers, and one of the world's largest music festivals, Summerfest.


Portions of what is now Milwaukee County are known to have been inhabited by a number of Native American tribes, including the Sauk, Meskwaki or "Fox", Menomonee, Ojibwe and Potawotami, with elements of other tribes attested as well.

In 1818, when the land later to be Wisconsin was made part of Michigan Territory, territorial governor Lewis Cass created Brown County, which at that time included all the land now part of Milwaukee County. It remained a part of Brown county until 1834, when Milwaukee County was created, including the area south of the line between townships eleven and twelve north (i.e., the northern boundary of Washington and Ozaukee counties), west of Lake Michigan, north of Illinois, and east of the line which now separates Green and Rock counties. This territory encompassed all of what are now Milwaukee, Jefferson, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Racine, Rock, Walworth, Washington, and Waukesha counties, as well as large parts of the present-day Columbia, Dane and Dodge counties.

Milwaukee County remained attached to Brown County for judicial purposes until Aug. 25, 1835, when an act was passed by the Michigan territorial legislature giving it an independent organization. In 1836, the legislature divided the area south and east of the Wisconsin and Fox rivers into counties, as a consequence reducing Milwaukee County's extent to what is now Milwaukee and Waukesha counties. In 1846 Waukesha County was created by taking from Milwaukee all of the territory west of range 21, reducing Milwaukee County to its present boundaries.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,190 square miles (3,100 km2), of which 241 square miles (620 km2) is land and 948 square miles (2,460 km2) (80%) is water. It is the third-smallest county in Wisconsin by land area. It is watered by the Milwaukee, Menomonee, Kinnickinnic, and Root Rivers. The surface is undulating, and the soil calcareous and fertile.

Adjacent counties


Birth related statistics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 31,077
1860 62,518 101.2%
1870 89,930 43.8%
1880 138,537 54.0%
1890 236,101 70.4%
1900 330,017 39.8%
1910 433,187 31.3%
1920 539,449 24.5%
1930 725,263 34.4%
1940 766,885 5.7%
1950 871,047 13.6%
1960 1,036,041 18.9%
1970 1,054,063 1.7%
1980 964,988 −8.5%
1990 959,275 −0.6%
2000 940,164 −2.0%
2010 947,735 0.8%
2020 939,489 −0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2020 2020 census
USA Milwaukee County, Wisconsin age pyramid
2000 Census Age Pyramid for Milwaukee County

2010 census

As of the 2010 census, there were 947,735 people, 383,591 households, and 221,019 families residing in the county. The population density was 3,932 people per square mile (1,528/km2). There were 418,053 housing units at an average density of 1,734 per square mile (674/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 60.6% White, 26.8% Black or African American, 0.7% Native American, 3.4% Asian, 0.003% Pacific Islander, 5.4% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. 13.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 383,591 households, of which 28.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.1% were married couples living together, 17.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.4% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.14.

In the county, the age distribution was spread out, with 24.9% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33.6 years. For every 100 females there were 93.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.2 males.

Religious statistics

In 2010 statistics, the largest religious group in Milwaukee County was the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, with 199,153 Catholics worshipping at 80 parishes, followed by 32,340 non-denominational adherents with 126 congregations, 28,274 Missouri Synod Lutherans with 44 congregations, 23,043 ELCA Lutherans with 50 congregations, 20,416 Wisconsin Synod Lutherans with 45 congregations, 18,127 NBC Baptists with 27 congregations, 12,191 CoGiC Pentecostals with 28 congregations, 12,121 SBC Baptists with 32 congregations, 10,960 AoG Pentecostals with 20 congregations, and an estimated 9,156 Muslims with 8 congregations. Altogether, 46.4% of the population was claimed as members by religious congregations, although members of historically African-American denominations were underrepresented due to incomplete information. In 2014, Milwaukee County had 483 religious organizations, the 48th most out of all 3,141 US counties.


Bus service in Milwaukee County is provided by the Milwaukee County Transit System, which operates 469 New Flyer and 5 Gillig Low Floor buses on 56 routes.


  • General Mitchell International Airport (KMKE) is located in Milwaukee and serves the entire metropolitan area. It has scheduled service to cities across the United States as well as Canada and Mexico.
  • Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport (KMWC) also serves the county and surrounding communities.

Major highways

  • I-41.svg Interstate 41
  • I-43.svg Interstate 43
  • I-94.svg Interstate 94
  • I-794.svg Interstate 794
  • I-894.svg Interstate 894
  • US 18.svg U.S. Highway 18
  • US 41.svg U.S. Highway 41
  • US 45.svg U.S. Highway 45
  • WIS 24.svg Highway 24
  • WIS 32.svg Highway 32
  • WIS 36.svg Highway 36
  • WIS 38.svg Highway 38
  • WIS 57.svg Highway 57
  • WIS 59.svg Highway 59
  • WIS 100.svg Highway 100
  • WIS 119.svg Highway 119
  • WIS 145.svg Highway 145
  • WIS 175.svg Highway 175
  • WIS 181.svg Highway 181
  • WIS 190.svg Highway 190
  • WIS 241.svg Highway 241
  • WIS 794.svg Highway 794


Milwaukee skyline
Milwaukee, Wisconsin's largest city



Former towns/neighborhoods

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