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Waukesha County, Wisconsin facts for kids

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Waukesha County, Wisconsin
Waukesha County Courthouse
Waukesha County Courthouse
Flag of Waukesha County, Wisconsin
Official seal of Waukesha County, Wisconsin
"Leading the way!"
Map of Wisconsin showing Waukesha County
Map of Wisconsin showing Waukesha County
Wisconsin's location in the contiguous United States
Wisconsin's location in the contiguous United States
Country  United States
State  Wisconsin
Incorporated 1846
County seat Waukesha
Largest city Waukesha
 • Total 581 sq mi (1,500 km2)
 • Land 550 sq mi (1,400 km2)
 • Water 31 sq mi (80 km2)
 • Total 389,891
 • Estimate 
 • Rank 3rd largest county in Wisconsin
 • Density 671.1/sq mi (259.10/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (Central)
Area codes 262, 414
Congressional districts 1st, 5th
Interstates I-43.svg I-94.svg I-41.svg
U.S. Routes US 18.svg US 41.svg US 45.svg
State Routes WIS 16.svg WIS 36.svg WIS 59.svg WIS 67.svg WIS 83.svg WIS 100.svg WIS 145.svg WIS 164.svg WIS 175.svg WIS 190.svg
Airports Waukesha County Airport Capitol Airport
Waukesha County Wisconsin Sign WIS59
Waukesha County sign on WIS 59

Waukesha County is a county in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of the 2020 United States Census, the population was 406,978, making it the third-most populous county in Wisconsin. Its county seat and largest city is Waukesha.

Waukesha County is included in the MilwaukeeWaukeshaWest Allis, WI Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The part of Wisconsin that Waukesha County occupies was a part of Michigan Territory when Milwaukee County was organized in September 1834. On July 4, 1836, the Wisconsin Territory was formed, which included land that is now in the state of Minnesota. In January 1846, part of Milwaukee County was split off into Waukesha County. Curtis Reed was the first county chairman. When a vote decided the county seat, Waukesha defeated Pewaukee by two votes. The name is derived from the Potawatomi word for 'fox' because the streams in the lower part of the county drain into the Fox River.

Waukesha was a New England settlement, and Waukesha's founders were settlers from New England, particularly Connecticut, rural Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, as well as from upstate New York who were born to parents who had migrated there from New England shortly after the American Revolution. These people were "Yankees" descended from the English Puritans who settled New England in the 1600s. They were part of a wave of New England farmers who headed west into what was the wilds of the Northwest Territory during the early 1800s. Most arrived as a result of the completion of the Erie Canal as well as the end of the Black Hawk War.

When they arrived in what is now Waukesha County, there was nothing but dense virgin forest and wild prairie. The New Englanders built farms, roads, government buildings and established post routes. They brought many of their Yankee New England values, such as a passion for education that led to the establishment of many schools as well as staunch support for abolitionism. They were mostly members of the Congregationalist Church, though some were Episcopalian. Due to the second Great Awakening some converted to Methodism, and others became Baptists before moving to what is now Waukesha County. Waukesha, like much of Wisconsin, would be culturally very continuous with early New England culture for most of its early history.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 581 square miles (1,500 km2), of which 550 square miles (1,400 km2) is land and 31 square miles (80 km2) (5.3%) is water.

Lake country

Because of its large number of lakes, the northwestern corner of Waukesha County is referred to as "Lake Country" by local residents. It includes Pewaukee, Delafield, Hartland, Merton, Nashotah, Chenequa, Okauchee Lake, Oconomowoc, Summit, and Lac La Belle.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 19,258
1860 26,831 39.3%
1870 28,274 5.4%
1880 28,957 2.4%
1890 33,270 14.9%
1900 35,229 5.9%
1910 37,100 5.3%
1920 42,612 14.9%
1930 52,358 22.9%
1940 62,744 19.8%
1950 85,901 36.9%
1960 158,249 84.2%
1970 231,365 46.2%
1980 280,326 21.2%
1990 304,715 8.7%
2000 360,767 18.4%
2010 389,891 8.1%
2020 (est.) 406,172 4.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2020
USA Waukesha County, Wisconsin age pyramid
2000 Census age pyramid for Waukesha County

2010 census

At the 2010 census there were 389,891 people, 152,663 households, and 108,810 families living in the county. The population density was 672 people per square mile (260/km²). There were 160,864 housing units at an average density of 277 per square mile (107/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 93.3% White, 1.3% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 2.7% Asian, 0.0003% Pacific Islander, 1.0% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. 4.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Of the 152,663 households 30.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.7% were married couples living together, 7.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.7% were non-families. 23.8% of households were one person and 10.1% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 3.00.

The age distribution was 24.1% under the age of 18, 6.8% from 18 to 24, 23.6% from 25 to 44, 31.2% from 45 to 64, and 14.3% 65 or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 96.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.90 males.





Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns/Neighborhoods

Note – due to a zoning issue, a single acre of Waukesha County was annexed by the City of Milwaukee (which otherwise is fully within Milwaukee County) in 2003 to accommodate the Ambrosia Chocolate Factory.




  • Waukesha Metro Transit
  • List of intercity bus stops in Wisconsin

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Waukesha para niños

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