When you think of Wisconsin, you may think of cheese, the Green Bay Packers, or Miller Brewing Company. Also known as “The Badger State,” Wisconsin is home to around 6 million people spread across cities like Milwaukee, Wisconsin Dells, and Lake Geneva. If you are looking to make a move to Wisconsin or just want to learn more about the state, we’ve got you covered. We compiled a list of the fastest-growing cities in Wisconsin which saw the largest population increase from 2017 to 2021. Keep reading to see what cities made the list.
#1: Madison, WI
The fastest-growing city in Wisconsin is Madison which is best known for its beautiful lakes, friendly people, and great food. Madison currently has a population of around 269,200, which is an increase of 5% from 2017.
Living in Madison provides access to unique parks like James Madison Park, Tenney Park, and Elver Park, along with a strong arts and entertainment scene with museums like the Madison Children’s Museum, Chazen Museum of Art, and Wisconsin Veterans Museum. You’ll also want to check out entertainment venues such as the Majestic Theatre, High Noon Saloon, and The Orpheum Theater. There are also unique restaurants to try including Graze Restaurant, The Old Fashioned, and Naples 15.
#2: Janesville, WI
Janesville, WI, takes the second spot of the fastest-growing cities in Wisconsin. It saw a 3% increase in population to its current population of nearly 66,000. Janesville, WI is best known for its history in the auto industry. The city was home to the General Motors plant that produced the Chevrolet Suburban and Chevrolet Tahoe. Though the plant closed in 2009, the city has continued to grow and attract new businesses.
There are countless unique things to do in the city, such as strolling at Palmer Park, Traxler Park, and Rockport Park, enjoying a delicious meal at Lark, Italian House, and Park City Family Restaurant, or catching a show at Janesville Performing Arts Center. There is no shortage of excitement while living in Janesville.
#3: Green Bay, WI
Green Bay, WI is best known as the home of the Packers. If you want to experience a taste of what the city has to offer, check out Mackinaws Grill & Spirit, 1919 Kitchen & Tap, or Angelina Restaurant. After a delicious bite, you can visit one of the many parks like Pamperin Park, Leicht Memorial Park, and Joannes Park. Lastly, be sure to get tickets to a show at The Weidner, Meyer Theatre, or Lyric Room.
Green Bay saw a 2% increase in population and has a population of about 107,000.
#4: Eau Claire, WI
Home to great schools and a strong economy, Eau Claire, WI made it to number four on the list of fastest-growing cities in Wisconsin. Eau Claire saw a 1% increase to its current population of nearly 69,500.
If you plan on moving to Eau Claire, you can visit parks like Phoenix Park, Carson Park, and Mount Simon Park or grab a bite to eat at The Livery Restaurant & Saloon, Randy’s Family Restaurant, and The Nucleus. If you love the arts and entertainment scene, be sure to check out the Children’s Museum of Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley Museum, or Chippewa Valley Theatre Guild.
#5: La Crosse, WI
Considering living in La Crosse? The city is known for its scenic views of the Mississippi River, its large collection of Victorian architecture, and its diverse population. La Crosse is also home to several colleges and universities, including the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, Viterbo University, and Western Technical College. It is the fifth fastest-growing city in Wisconsin. La Crosse’s population increased by 1% to nearly 52,200 residents.
You may be wondering, what is there to do in La Crosse? Be sure to make time for these activities: going on a jog at Riverside Park or Myrick Park,, spending a day at the Dahl Auto Museum or the Children’s Museum of La Crosse, watching a show at the Weber Center for the Performing Arts or Cavalier Theater and Lounge, or eating delicious food at The Freighthouse Restaurant, The Crow, and Buzzard Billy’s.
Methodology: Population growth was calculated over a 5-year span (2017 vs. 2021). Only cities with a population of over 50,000 were used, as anything smaller is considered a town. Population data sourced from United States Census Bureau. Median home sale price data from the Redfin Data Center during August 2022. Average rental data from Rent.com during August 2022.