Wisconsin

Cities

Wisconsin pic1
Wisconsin pic2
Wisconsin pic3
Wisconsin pic4
Wisconsin pic5
Wisconsin pic6
Wisconsin pic7
Wisconsin pic8

Wisconsin

Wisconsin is a state in the upper Midwestern United States. Wisconsin is the 25th-largest state by total area and the 20th-most populous. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north.

Etymology

The word Wisconsin originates from the name given to the Wisconsin River by one of the Algonquian-speaking Native American groups living in the region at the time of European contact. French explorer Jacques Marquette was the first European to reach the Wisconsin River, arriving in 1673 and calling the river Meskousing (likely ᒣᔅᑯᐤᓯᣙ meskowsin) in his journal. Subsequent French writers changed the spelling from Meskousing to Ouisconsin, and over time this became the name for both the Wisconsin River and the surrounding lands. English speakers anglicized the spelling from Ouisconsin to Wisconsin when they began to arrive in large numbers during the early 19th century. The legislature of Wisconsin Territory made the current spelling official in 1845.

The Algonquian word for Wisconsin and its original meaning have both grown obscure. While interpretations vary, most implicate the river and the red sandstone that lines its banks. One leading theory holds that the name originated from the Miami word Meskonsing, meaning “it lies red”, a reference to the setting of the Wisconsin River as it flows through the reddish sandstone of the Wisconsin Dells. Other theories include claims that the name originated from one of a variety of Ojibwa words meaning “red stone place”, “where the waters gather”, or “great rock”.

Geography

Wisconsin is bordered by the Montreal River; Lake Superior and Michigan to the north; by Lake Michigan to the east; by Illinois to the south; and by Iowa to the southwest and Minnesota to the northwest. A border dispute with Michigan was settled by two cases, both Wisconsin v. Michigan, in 1934 and 1935. The state’s boundaries include the Mississippi River and St. Croix River in the west, and the Menominee River in the northeast.

With its location between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, Wisconsin is home to a wide variety of geographical features. The state is divided into five distinct regions. In the north, the Lake Superior Lowland occupies a belt of land along Lake Superior. Just to the south, the Northern Highland has massive mixed hardwood and coniferous forests including the 1,500,000 acres (6,100 km2) Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, as well as thousands of glacial lakes, and the state’s highest point, Timms Hill. In the middle of the

state, the Central Plain has some unique sandstone formations like the Dells of the Wisconsin River in addition to rich farmland. The Eastern Ridges and Lowlands region in the southeast is home to many of Wisconsin’s largest cities. The ridges include the Niagara Escarpment that stretches from New York, the Black River Escarpment and the Magnesian Escarpment.

Climate

Most of Wisconsin is classified as warm-summer humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb), while southern and southwestern portions are classified as hot-summer humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa). The highest temperature ever recorded in the state was in the Wisconsin Dells, on July 13, 1936, where it reached 114 °F (46 °C). The lowest temperature ever recorded in Wisconsin was in the village of Couderay, where it reached −55 °F (−48 °C) on both February 2 and 4, 1996. Wisconsin also receives a large amount of regular snowfall averaging around 40 inches (100 cm) in the southern portions with up to 160 inches (410 cm) annually in the Lake Superior snowbelt each year.

Demographics

The United States Census Bureau estimates that the population of Wisconsin was 5,822,434 on July 1, 2019, a 2.4% increase since the 2010 United States census. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 150,659 people (i.e., 614,771 births minus 464,112 deaths) and an decrease due to net migration of 12,755 people. Immigration resulted in a net increase of 59,251 people, and migration from within the U.S. resulted in a net decrease of 72,006 people.

According to the 2016 American Community Survey, 6.5% of Wisconsin’s population were of Hispanic or Latino origin (of any race): Mexican (4.7%), Puerto Rican (0.9%), Cuban (0.1%), and other Hispanic or Latino origin (0.7%). The five largest ancestry groups were: German (40.5%), Irish (10.8%), Polish (8.8%), Norwegian (7.7%), and English (5.7%). German is the most common ancestry in every county in the state, except Menominee, Trempealeau, and Vernon. Wisconsin has the highest percentage of residents of Polish ancestry of any state.

Since its founding, Wisconsin has been ethnically heterogeneous. Following the period of French fur traders, the next wave of settlers were miners, many of whom were Cornish, who settled the southwestern area of the state. The next wave was dominated by “Yankees”, migrants of English descent from New England and upstate New York; in the early years of statehood, they dominated the state’s heavy industry, finance, politics, and education. Between 1850 and 1900, the immigrants were mostly Germans, Scandinavians (the largest group being Norwegian), Irish, and Poles. In the 20th century, a number of African Americans and Mexicans settled in Milwaukee; and after the end of the Vietnam War came an influx of Hmongs.

Religion

The percentage of Wisconsin residents who belong to various affiliations are  Christian 81% (Protestant 50%, Roman Catholic 29%), Mormon 0.5%, Jewish 0.5%, Muslim 0.5%, Buddhist 0.5%, Hindu 0.5%, and unaffiliated 15%.

Christianity is the predominant religion of Wisconsin. As of 2008, the three largest denominational groups in Wisconsin were Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, and Mainline Protestant. As of 2010, the Catholic Church had the highest number of adherents in Wisconsin (at 1,425,523), followed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 414,326 members, and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod with 223,279 adherents. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the synod with the fourth highest numbers of adherents in Wisconsin, has their headquarters in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Demographics

Population

According to the 2016 American Community Survey, 6.5% of Wisconsin's population were of Hispanic or Latino origin (of any race): Mexican (4.7%), Puerto Rican (0.9%), Cuban (0.1%), and other Hispanic or Latino origin (0.7%). The five largest ancestry groups were: German (40.5%), Irish (10.8%), Polish (8.8%), Norwegian (7.7%), and English (5.7%). German is the most common ancestry in every county in the state, except Menominee, Trempealeau, and Vernon. Wisconsin has the highest percentage of residents of Polish ancestry of any state.

Since its founding, Wisconsin has been ethnically heterogeneous. Following the period of French fur traders, the next wave of settlers were miners, many of whom were Cornish, who settled the southwestern area of the state. The next wave was dominated by "Yankees", migrants of English descent from New England and upstate New York; in the early years of statehood, they dominated the state's heavy industry, finance, politics, and education. Between 1850 and 1900, the immigrants were mostly Germans, Scandinavians (the largest group being Norwegian), Irish, and Poles. In the 20th century, a number of African Americans and Mexicans settled in Milwaukee; and after the end of the Vietnam War came an influx of Hmongs.

Religion

The percentage of Wisconsin residents who belong to various affiliations are  Christian 81% (Protestant 50%, Roman Catholic 29%), Mormon 0.5%, Jewish 0.5%, Muslim 0.5%, Buddhist 0.5%, Hindu 0.5%, and unaffiliated 15%.

Christianity is the predominant religion of Wisconsin. As of 2008, the three largest denominational groups in Wisconsin were Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, and Mainline Protestant. As of 2010, the Catholic Church had the highest number of adherents in Wisconsin (at 1,425,523), followed by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 414,326 members, and the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod with 223,279 adherents. The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the synod with the fourth highest numbers of adherents in Wisconsin, has their headquarters in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Economy

In 2019 Wisconsin’s gross state product was $349.416 billion, making it 21st among U.S. states. The economy of Wisconsin is driven by manufacturing, agriculture, and health care. The state’s economic output from manufacturing was $48.9 billion in 2008, making it the tenth largest among states in manufacturing gross domestic product. Manufacturing accounts for about 20% of the state’s gross domestic product, a proportion that is third among all states. The per capita personal income was $35,239 in 2008. In March 2017, the state’s unemployment rate was 3.4% (seasonally adjusted).

Agriculture

Wisconsin produces about a quarter of America's cheese, leading the nation in cheese production. It is second in milk production, after California, and third in per-capita milk production, behind California and Vermont. Wisconsin is second in butter production, producing about one-quarter of the nation's butter. The state ranks first nationally in the production of corn for silage, cranberries ginseng, and snap beans for processing. It grows more than half the national crop of cranberries. and 97% of the nation's ginseng. Wisconsin is also a leading producer of oats, potatoes, carrots, tart cherries, maple syrup, and sweet corn for processing. The significance of the state's agricultural production is exemplified by the depiction of a Holstein cow, an ear of corn, and a wheel of cheese on Wisconsin's state quarter design. The state annually selects an "Alice in Dairyland" to promote the state's agricultural products around the world.

A large part of the state's manufacturing sector includes commercial food processing, including well-known brands such as Oscar Mayer, Tombstone frozen pizza, Johnsonville brats, and Usinger's sausage. Kraft Foods alone employs more than 5,000 people in the state. Milwaukee is a major producer of beer and was formerly headquarters for Miller Brewing Company—the nation's second-largest brewer—until it merged with Coors. Formerly, Schlitz, Blatz, and Pabst were cornerstone breweries in Milwaukee.

Manufacturing

Wisconsin is home to a very large and diversified manufacturing economy, with special focus on transportation and capital equipment. Major Wisconsin companies in these categories include the Kohler Company; Mercury Marine; Rockwell Automation; Johnson Controls; John Deere; Briggs & Stratton; Milwaukee Electric Tool Company; Miller Electric; Caterpillar Inc.; Joy Global; Oshkosh Corporation; Harley-Davidson; Case IH; S. C. Johnson & Son; Ashley Furniture; Ariens; and Evinrude Outboard Motors.

Consumer Goods

Wisconsin is a major producer of paper, packaging, and other consumer goods. Major consumer products companies based in the state include SC Johnson & Co., and Diversey, Inc. Wisconsin also ranks first nationwide in the production of paper products; the lower Fox River from Lake Winnebago to Green Bay has 24 paper mills along its 39 miles (63 km) stretch. The development and manufacture of health care devices and software is a growing sector of the state’s economy, with key players such as GE Healthcare, Epic Systems, and TomoTherapy.

Tourism

Tourism is a major industry in Wisconsin—the state’s third largest, according to the Department of Tourism. Tourist destinations such as the House on the Rock near Spring Green, Circus World Museum in Baraboo, and The Dells of the Wisconsin River draw thousands of visitors annually, and festivals such as Summerfest and the EAA Oshkosh Airshow draw international attention, along with hundreds of thousands of visitors.

Given the large number of lakes and rivers in the state, water recreation is very popular. In the North Country, what had been an industrial area focused on timber has largely been transformed into a vacation destination. Popular interest in the environment and environmentalism, added to traditional interests in hunting and fishing, has attracted a large urban audience within driving range.

Film industry

On January 1, 2008, a new tax incentive for the film industry came into effect. The first major production to take advantage was Michael Mann's Public Enemies. While the producers spent $18 million on the film, it was reported that most of it went to out-of-state workers and for out-of-state services; Wisconsin taxpayers had provided $4.6 million in subsidies, and derived only $5 million in revenues from the film's making.

Energy

Wisconsin has no production of oil, gas, or coal. Its in-state electrical generation is mostly from coal. Other important electricity sources are natural gas and nuclear. The state has a mandate that ten percent of its electrical energy come from renewable sources by the end of 2015. This goal has been met, but not with in-state sources. As of 2014, a third of that ten percent comes from out of state sources, mostly wind generated electricity from Minnesota and Iowa. The state has agnostic policies for developing wind power in state.

Transportation

Airports

Wisconsin is served by eight commercial service airports, in addition to a number of general aviation airports. Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport is the only international commercial airport located in Wisconsin.

Intercity bus service

Wisconsin is served by multiple intercity bus operators, which provide service to 71 stops and 53 cities.

Major highways

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is responsible for planning, building and maintaining the state's highways. Eight Interstate Highways are located in the state.

Rail service

Amtrak provides daily passenger rail service between Chicago and Milwaukee through the Hiawatha Service. Also provided is cross-country service via the Empire Builder with stops in several cities across Wisconsin. Commuter rail provider Metra's Union Pacific North (UP-N) line has its northern terminus in Kenosha, the only Metra line and station in the state of Wisconsin. The Hop, a modern streetcar system in Milwaukee, began service in 2018. The 2.1 mile (3.4 km) initial line runs from Milwaukee Intermodal Station to Burns Commons. The system is expected to be expanded in the future.

Education

Wisconsin, along with Minnesota and Michigan, was among the Midwestern leaders in the emergent American state university movement following the Civil War in the United States. By the start of the 20th century, education in the state advocated the “Wisconsin Idea”, which emphasized service to the people of the state. The “Wisconsin Idea” exemplified the Progressive movement within colleges and universities at the time.

Today, public post-secondary education in Wisconsin includes both the 26-campus University of Wisconsin System, with the flagship university University of Wisconsin–Madison, and the 16-campus Wisconsin Technical College System. Private colleges and universities include Alverno College, Beloit College, Cardinal Stritch University, Carroll University, Carthage College, Concordia University Wisconsin, Edgewood College, Lakeland College, Lawrence University, Marquette University, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Ripon College, St. Norbert College, Wisconsin Lutheran College, Viterbo University, and others.

Culture

Residents of Wisconsin are referred to as Wisconsinites. The traditional prominence of references to dairy farming and cheesemaking in Wisconsin’s rural economy (the state’s license plates have read “America’s Dairyland” since 1940) have led to the nickname (sometimes used pejoratively among non-residents) of “cheeseheads”, and to the creation of “cheesehead hats” made of yellow foam in the shape of a wedge of cheese.

Numerous ethnic festivals are held throughout Wisconsin to celebrate the heritage of its citizens. Such festivals include Summerfest, Oktoberfest, Polish Fest, Festa Italiana, Irish Fest, Bastille Days, Syttende Mai (Norwegian Constitution Day), Brat(wurst) Days in Sheboygan, Polka Days, Cheese Days in Monroe and Mequon, African World Festival, Indian Summer, Arab Fest, Wisconsin Highland Games, and many others.

Music

Wisconsin's music festivals include Eaux Claires, Country Fest, Country Jam USA, the Hodag Country Festival, Porterfield Country Music Festival, Country Thunder USA in Twin Lakes, and Country USA. Milwaukee hosts Summerfest, dubbed "The World's Largest Music Festival", every year. This festival is held at the lakefront Henry Maier Festival Park just south of downtown, as are a summer-long array of ethnic musical festivals. The Wisconsin Area Music Industry provides an annual WAMI event where it presents an awards show for top Wisconsin artists.

Architecture

The Milwaukee Art Museum, with its brise soleil designed by Santiago Calatrava, is known for its interesting architecture. Monona Terrace in Madison, a convention center designed by Taliesin architect Anthony Puttnam, is based on a 1930s design by Wisconsin native Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright's home and studio in the 20th century was at Taliesin, south of Spring Green. Decades after Wright's death, Taliesin remains an architectural office and school for his followers.

Alcohol Culture

Drinking has long been considered a significant part of Wisconsin culture, and the state ranks at or near the top of national measures of per-capita alcohol consumption, consumption of alcohol per state, and proportion of drinkers. Consumption per-capita per-event, however, ranks low among the nation; number of events (number of times alcohol is involved) is significantly higher or highest, but consumption at each event smaller, marking Wisconsin's consumption as frequent and moderate. Factors such as cultural identification with the state's heritage of German immigration, the long-standing presence of major breweries in Milwaukee, and a cold climate are often associated with the prevalence of drinking in Wisconsin.

In Wisconsin, the legal drinking age is 21, except when accompanied by a parent, guardian, or spouse who is at least 21 years old. Age requirements are waived for possessing alcohol when employed by a brewer, brewpub, beer and/or liquor wholesaler, or producer of alcohol fuel. The minimum legal age to purchase alcohol is 21, with no exceptions. The Absolute Sobriety law states that any person not of legal drinking age (currently 21) may not drive after consuming alcohol.

Recreation

The varied landscape of Wisconsin makes the state a popular vacation destination for outdoor recreation. Winter events include skiing, ice fishing and snowmobile derbies. Wisconsin is situated on two Great Lakes and has many inland lakes of varied size; the state contains 11,188 square miles (28,980 km2) of water, more than all but three other states—Alaska, Michigan, and Florida.

Outdoor activities are popular in Wisconsin, especially hunting and fishing. One of the most prevalent game animals is the whitetail deer. Each year, in Wisconsin, well over 600,000 deer-hunting licenses are sold. In 2008, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources projected the pre-hunt deer population to be between 1.5 and 1.7 million.

Sports

Wisconsin is represented by major league teams in three sports: football, baseball, and basketball. Lambeau Field, located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is home to the National Football League’s Green Bay Packers. The Packers have been part of the NFL since the league’s second season in 1921 and hold the record for the most NFL titles, earning the city of Green Bay the nickname “Titletown USA”. The Packers are the smallest city franchise in the NFL and the only one owned by shareholders statewide. The franchise was founded by “Curly” Lambeau who played and coached for them. 

The Green Bay Packers are one of the most successful small-market professional sports franchises in the world and have won 13 NFL championships, including the first two AFL-NFL Championship games (Super Bowls I and II), Super Bowl XXXI and Super Bowl XLV. The state’s support of the team is evidenced by the 81,000-person waiting list for season tickets to Lambeau Field. The Milwaukee Brewers, the state’s only major league baseball team, play in American Family Field in Milwaukee, the successor to Milwaukee County Stadium since 2001. In 1982, the Brewers won the American League Championship, marking their most successful season. 

The team switched from the American League to the National League starting with the 1998 season. Before the Brewers, Milwaukee had two prior Major League teams. The first team, also called the Brewers, played only one season in the newly founded American League in 1901 before moving to St. Louis and becoming the Browns, who are now the Baltimore Orioles. Milwaukee was also the home of the Braves franchise when they moved from Boston from 1953 to 1965, winning the World Series in 1957 and the National League pennant in 1958, before they moved to Atlanta.

 

Find an Electric Vehicle Charger close to you

Find an EV charging station in any city in the USA.