Where Are All the New Residents of Milwaukee Moving From?

If you associate Milwaukee with beer, you certainly aren’t alone, but what about golf? Or motorcycles? It’s true: Milwaukee-area golf courses have hosted PGA and LPGA events, and Harley-Davidson has its headquarters—and a museum—in the city.

Perhaps that’s what’s attracting new residents to the area. Although the metro area and the city proper have seen slight population declines recently, nearly 40,000 people moved to the area between 2011 and 2015.

Let’s break that down a little. Between July 2015 and July 2016, according to the latest census data, the Milwaukee metro area population declined a hair, from 1,574,349 to 1,572,482, a .12 percent decrease. The population of Milwaukee County, where the city of Milwaukee is located, declined a little more in percentage terms. It went from 956,314 to 941,448 in that time, a .51 percent reduction. (The metro area spans multiple counties, so it has a larger population than Milwaukee County has.)

However, according to another census study, one conducted over five years from 2011 to 2015, Milwaukee County attracted 37,325 domestic movers in that five-year span of time. That same study also gives us a pretty good idea of where all those people are coming from. The majority, 55 percent, is moving in from other parts of Wisconsin, while the rest, 45 percent, is moving from other places in the U.S.

Below are rankings for the top five counties of origin for movers to Milwaukee County:

Movers outside of Wisconsin:

  1. Cook County, IL (Chicago)
  2. Lake County, IL (north of Chicago)
  3. DuPage County, IL (west of Chicago)
  4. Maricopa County, AZ (Phoenix)
  5. Hennepin County, MN (Minneapolis)

Movers from Wisconsin:

  1. Waukesha County
  2. Racine County
  3. Dane County
  4. Washington County
  5. Ozaukee County

Above are the top places inside Wisconsin that people moved to Milwaukee County from over the five-year period 2011-2015. Numbers represent the number of movers from that place during the period.


Visit Milwaukee


U.S. Census Bureau

Elizabeth Whalen