Counties of Wisconsin
LocationState of Wisconsin
Number72
Populations4,226 (Menominee) – 916,205 (Milwaukee)
Areas231.98 square miles (600.8 km2) (Pepin) – 1,544.91 square miles (4,001.3 km2) (Marathon)
Government
Subdivisions
  • cities, villages, towns

There are 72 counties in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The land that eventually became Wisconsin was transferred from British to American control with the 1783 signing of the Treaty of Paris.[1] It was an unorganized part of the Northwest Territory until 1802 when all of the land from St. Louis north to the Canadian border was organized as St. Clair County.[1] When Illinois was admitted to the union in 1818, Wisconsin became part of the Territory of Michigan and divided into two counties: Brown County in the northeast along Lake Michigan and Crawford County in the southwest along the Mississippi River.[1] Iowa County was formed in 1829 from the Crawford County land south of the Wisconsin River.[1] Brown County's southern portion was used to form Milwaukee County in 1834.[1] The state of Wisconsin was created from Wisconsin Territory on May 29, 1848, with 28 counties.

The most populous county in the state is Milwaukee County at 916,205 people at the 2023 Census estimate.[2] The county with the least population is Menominee County with 4,226 residents; the Menominee Indian Reservation is co-extensive with the county.[2] Pepin County is the smallest in area, with 231.98 square miles (600.8 km2); Marathon is the largest, having 1,544.91 square miles (4,001.3 km2).[2]

The Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) code, which is used by the United States government to uniquely identify states and counties, is provided with each entry.[3] Wisconsin's code is 55, which when combined with any county code would be written as 55XXX. The FIPS code for each county links to census data for that county.[4]

Governance

Each county has a county seat, often a populous or centrally located community, where the county's governmental offices are located. Some of the services provided by the county include: law enforcement, circuit courts, social services, vital records and deed registration, road maintenance, and snow removal. County officials include sheriffs, district attorneys, clerks, treasurers, coroners, surveyors, registers of deeds, and clerks of circuit court; these officers are elected for four-year terms. In most counties, elected coroners have been replaced by appointed medical examiners. State law permits counties to appoint a registered land surveyor in place of electing a surveyor.

Counties in Wisconsin are governed by county boards, headed by a chairperson. Counties with a population of 500,000 or more must also have a county executive. Smaller counties may have either a county executive or a county administrator.[5] As of 2011, 13 counties had elected county executives: Brown, Chippewa, Dane, Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Outagamie, Portage, Racine, Sawyer, Waukesha, and Winnebago. 23 had an appointed county administrator, 34 had an appointed administrative coordinator, and 2 had neither an executive nor an administrator. Waukesha County had both an executive and an administrator.[6]

List of counties

County
FIPS code[4] County seat[7] Est.[8] Formed from[9] Etymology[9] Population[2] Area[2] Map
Adams County 001 Friendship 1848 Portage County John Quincy Adams (1767–1848), President of the United States (1825–29) 21,449 645.65 sq mi
(1,672 km2)
State map highlighting Adams County
Ashland County 003 Ashland 1860 La Pointe County Ashland, Henry Clay's estate in Kentucky 16,079 1,045.04 sq mi
(2,707 km2)
State map highlighting Ashland County
Barron County 005 Barron 1859 Polk County Henry D. Barron, state senator and circuit court judge. 46,833 862.71 sq mi
(2,234 km2)
State map highlighting Barron County
Bayfield County 007 Washburn 1845 St. Croix County Henry Bayfield, Royal naval officer and first to survey Great Lakes area 16,769 1,477.86 sq mi
(3,828 km2)
State map highlighting Bayfield County
Brown County 009 Green Bay 1818 unorganized territory Major General Jacob Brown (1775–1828), commanding general of the United States Army during the War of 1812 271,417 529.71 sq mi
(1,372 km2)
State map highlighting Brown County
Buffalo County 011 Alma 1853 Jackson County The Buffalo River, which flows through the county. 13,419 671.64 sq mi
(1,740 km2)
State map highlighting Buffalo County
Burnett County 013 Siren 1856 Polk County Thomas P. Burnett, state legislator 17,092 821.85 sq mi
(2,129 km2)
State map highlighting Burnett County
Calumet County 015 Chilton 1836 Brown County, Wisconsin The French word for a Menominee Ceremonial pipe. 53,199 318.24 sq mi
(824 km2)
State map highlighting Calumet County
Chippewa County 017 Chippewa Falls 1845 Crawford County Chippewa Indians 66,970 1,008.37 sq mi
(2,612 km2)
State map highlighting Chippewa County
Clark County 019 Neillsville 1853 Crawford County George Rogers Clark (1752–1812), Revolutionary War general 34,774 1,209.82 sq mi
(3,133 km2)
State map highlighting Clark County
Columbia County 021 Portage 1846 Portage County Christopher Columbus (1451–1506), navigator and explorer 58,091 765.53 sq mi
(1,983 km2)
State map highlighting Columbia County
Crawford County 023 Prairie du Chien 1818 unorganized territory William Harris Crawford (1772–1834), United States Senator from Georgia (1807–13) and Secretary of the Treasury (1816–25) 15,944 570.66 sq mi
(1,478 km2)
State map highlighting Crawford County
Dane County 025 Madison 1836 Crawford, Iowa, and Milwaukee Countes Nathan Dane (1752–1835), delegate to the First Continental Congress (1785–88) 575,347 1,197.24 sq mi
(3,101 km2)
State map highlighting Dane County
Dodge County 027 Juneau 1836 Brown and Milwaukee Counties Henry Dodge (1782–1867), Territorial Governor of Wisconsin (1845–48) 88,231 875.63 sq mi
(2,268 km2)
State map highlighting Dodge County
Door County 029 Sturgeon Bay 1851 Brown County A dangerous water passage near Door Peninsula known as Porte des Morts or "door of the dead" in French 30,562 481.98 sq mi
(1,248 km2)
State map highlighting Door County
Douglas County 031 Superior 1854 La Pointe County Stephen Douglas (1813–61), United States Senator from Illinois (1847–61) 44,264 1,304.14 sq mi
(3,378 km2)
State map highlighting Douglas County
Dunn County 033 Menomonie 1854 Chippewa County Charles Dunn, state senator and chief justice of Wisconsin Territory 45,794 850.11 sq mi
(2,202 km2)
State map highlighting Dunn County
Eau Claire County 035 Eau Claire 1856 Chippewa County City of Eau Claire French for "clear water" 107,903 637.98 sq mi
(1,652 km2)
State map highlighting Eau Claire County
Florence County 037 Florence 1881 Marinette and Oconto Counties Florence Hulst, the first white woman to settle in the area 4,682 488.20 sq mi
(1,264 km2)
State map highlighting Florence County
Fond du Lac County 039 Fond du Lac 1836 Brown County French for "bottom of the lake" 103,948 719.55 sq mi
(1,864 km2)
State map highlighting Fond du Lac County
Forest County 041 Crandon 1885 Langlade and Oconto Counties Forest which covered the area when it was settled 9,325 1,014.07 sq mi
(2,626 km2)
State map highlighting Forest County
Grant County 043 Lancaster 1837 Iowa County Probably a trader named Grant who made contact with area natives in 1810 but about whom little else is known 51,409 1,146.85 sq mi
(2,970 km2)
State map highlighting Grant County
Green County 045 Monroe 1837 Iowa County and unorganized territory Nathanael Greene (1742–86), quartermaster general during the American Revolutionary War 36,951 583.96 sq mi
(1,512 km2)
State map highlighting Green County
Green Lake County 047 Green Lake 1858 Marquette County Green Lake located within the county 19,344 349.44 sq mi
(905 km2)
State map highlighting Green Lake County
Iowa County 049 Dodgeville 1829 Crawford County Iowa tribe of Indians 23,956 762.58 sq mi
(1,975 km2)
State map highlighting Iowa County
Iron County 051 Hurley 1893 Ashland and Oneida Counties Local iron deposits 6,228 758.17 sq mi
(1,964 km2)
State map highlighting Iron County
Jackson County 053 Black River Falls 1853 La Crosse County Andrew Jackson (1767–1845), President of the United States (1829–37) 20,855 987.72 sq mi
(2,558 km2)
State map highlighting Jackson County
Jefferson County 055 Jefferson 1836 Milwaukee County Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), President of the United States (1801–09) 85,743 556.47 sq mi
(1,441 km2)
State map highlighting Jefferson County
Juneau County 057 Mauston 1856 Adams County Solomon Juneau (1793–1856), founder of what would become Milwaukee 26,594 766.93 sq mi
(1,986 km2)
State map highlighting Juneau County
Kenosha County 059 Kenosha 1850 Racine County Indian word meaning "place of the pike" 167,488 271.99 sq mi
(704 km2)
State map highlighting Kenosha County
Kewaunee County 061 Kewaunee 1852 Door County Either a Potawatomi word meaning "river of the lost" or an Ojibwe word meaning "prairie hen" "wild duck" or "to go around" 20,690 342.52 sq mi
(887 km2)
State map highlighting Kewaunee County
La Crosse County 063 La Crosse 1851 Crawford County Indian game of lacrosse 120,486 451.69 sq mi
(1,170 km2)
State map highlighting La Crosse County
Lafayette County 065 Darlington 1846 Iowa County Gilbert du Motier marquis de La Fayette (1757–1834), a French general in the American Revolutionary War 16,945 633.59 sq mi
(1,641 km2)
State map highlighting Lafayette County
Langlade County 067 Antigo 1879 Oconto County Charles de Langlade (1729 – c. 1800), American Revolutionary War veteran and United States Indian Agent in Green Bay 19,404 870.64 sq mi
(2,255 km2)
State map highlighting Langlade County
Lincoln County 069 Merrill 1874 Marathon County Abraham Lincoln (1809–65), President of the United States (1861–65) 28,405 878.97 sq mi
(2,277 km2)
State map highlighting Lincoln County
Manitowoc County 071 Manitowoc 1836 Brown County Munedoo-owk, an Ojibwe word meaning "the place of the good spirit" 81,331 589.08 sq mi
(1,526 km2)
State map highlighting Manitowoc County
Marathon County 073 Wausau 1850 Portage County Marathon, Greece 138,612 1,544.98 sq mi
(4,001 km2)
State map highlighting Marathon County
Marinette County 075 Marinette 1879 Oconto County Marie Antoinette Chevalier, Indian wife of an early fur trapper 42,106 1,399.35 sq mi
(3,624 km2)
State map highlighting Marinette County
Marquette County 077 Montello 1836 Brown County Jacques Marquette (1637–75), missionary and explorer 15,838 455.60 sq mi
(1,180 km2)
State map highlighting Marquette County
Menominee County 078 Keshena 1959 Menominee Indian Reservation, Shawano, and Oconto Counties Menominee Indians 4,226 357.61 sq mi
(926 km2)
State map highlighting Menominee County
Milwaukee County 079 Milwaukee 1834 Brown County Mahnawaukee-Seepe, an Indian word meaning "gathering place by the river" 916,205 241.40 sq mi
(625 km2)
State map highlighting Milwaukee County
Monroe County 081 Sparta 1854 La Crosse County James Monroe (1758–1831), President of the United States (1817–25) 46,151 900.78 sq mi
(2,333 km2)
State map highlighting Monroe County
Oconto County 083 Oconto 1851 Brown County An Indian settlement and the Oconto River, whose name means "plentiful with fish" 39,775 997.99 sq mi
(2,585 km2)
State map highlighting Oconto County
Oneida County 085 Rhinelander 1885 Lincoln County Oneida Indians 38,226 1,112.97 sq mi
(2,883 km2)
State map highlighting Oneida County
Outagamie County 087 Appleton 1851 Brown County Outagamie Indians 193,234 637.52 sq mi
(1,651 km2)
State map highlighting Outagamie County
Ozaukee County 089 Port Washington 1853 Washington County The Ojibwe word for the Sauk nation 93,460 233.08 sq mi
(604 km2)
State map highlighting Ozaukee County
Pepin County 091 Durand 1858 Dunn County Pierre and Jean Pepin du Chardonnets, explorers 7,441 231.98 sq mi
(601 km2)
State map highlighting Pepin County
Pierce County 093 Ellsworth 1853 Saint Croix County Franklin Pierce (1804–69), President of the United States (1853–57) 43,026 573.75 sq mi
(1,486 km2)
State map highlighting Pierce County
Polk County 095 Balsam Lake 1853 Saint Croix County James Polk (1795–1849), President of the United States (1845–49) 45,762 913.96 sq mi
(2,367 km2)
State map highlighting Polk County
Portage County 097 Stevens Point 1836 Brown, Crawford, Iowa, and Milwaukee Counties Passage between the Fox and Wisconsin Rivers 71,024 800.68 sq mi
(2,074 km2)
State map highlighting Portage County
Price County 099 Phillips 1879 Chippewa and Lincoln Counties William T. Price (1824–86), Representative from Wisconsin (1883–86) 14,102 1,254.38 sq mi
(3,249 km2)
State map highlighting Price County
Racine County 101 Racine 1836 Milwaukee County Racine, the French word for "root", after the Root River, which flows through the county 196,613 332.5 sq mi
(861 km2)
State map highlighting Racine County
Richland County 103 Richland Center 1842 Iowa County The rich soil of the area 17,197 586.15 sq mi
(1,518 km2)
State map highlighting Richland County
Rock County 105 Janesville 1836 Milwaukee County Rock River, which flows through the county 164,278 718.14 sq mi
(1,860 km2)
State map highlighting Rock County
Rusk County 107 Ladysmith 1901 Chippewa County Jeremiah McLain Rusk (1830–93), Governor of Wisconsin (1882–89) 14,143 913.59 sq mi
(2,366 km2)
State map highlighting Rusk County
Sauk County 111 Baraboo 1840 Crawford, Dane and Portage Counties Sauk Indians 65,920 830.9 sq mi
(2,152 km2)
State map highlighting Sauk County
Sawyer County 113 Hayward 1883 Ashland and Chippewa Counties Philetus Sawyer (1816–1900), Representative (1865–75) and Senator (1881–93) from Wisconsin 18,552 1,257.31 sq mi
(3,256 km2)
State map highlighting Sawyer County
Shawano County 115 Shawano 1853 Oconto County An Ojibwe word meaning "southern" 41,109 893.06 sq mi
(2,313 km2)
State map highlighting Shawano County
Sheboygan County 117 Sheboygan 1836 Brown County Shawb-wa-way-kun, an Indian word meaning "great noise underground" 117,752 511.27 sq mi
(1,324 km2)
State map highlighting Sheboygan County
St. Croix County 109 Hudson 1840 Crawford County, and unorganized territory An early French explorer named St. Croix, about whom little is known 96,763 722.33 sq mi
(1,871 km2)
State map highlighting St. Croix County
Taylor County 119 Medford 1875 Clark, Lincoln, Marathon and Chippewa Counties William Robert Taylor (1820–1909), Governor of Wisconsin 1874–76 20,058 974.88 sq mi
(2,525 km2)
State map highlighting Taylor County
Trempealeau County 121 Whitehall 1854 Buffalo, Chippewa, Jackson, and La Crosse Counties Trempealeau Mountain (from the French for "mountain with its foot in the water"), a bluff located in a bend of the Trempealeau River,[10] which flows through the county 30,899 732.97 sq mi
(1,898 km2)
State map highlighting Trempealeau County
Vernon County 123 Viroqua 1851 Richland and Crawford Counties Mount Vernon, home of George Washington 31,170 791.58 sq mi
(2,050 km2)
State map highlighting Vernon County
Vilas County 125 Eagle River 1893 Oneida County William Vilas (1840–1908), officer in the Civil War United States Postmaster General (1885–88) United States Secretary of the Interior (1888–89) and Senator from Wisconsin (1891–97) 23,885 856.60 sq mi
(2,219 km2)
State map highlighting Vilas County
Walworth County 127 Elkhorn 1836 Milwaukee County Reuben Hyde Walworth (1788–1867), jurist from New York 105,822 555.13 sq mi
(1,438 km2)
State map highlighting Walworth County
Washburn County 129 Shell Lake 1883 Burnett County Cadwallader Washburn (1818–82), Governor (1872–74) and Representative from Wisconsin (1867–71) 16,930 797.11 sq mi
(2,065 km2)
State map highlighting Washburn County
Washington County 131 West Bend 1836 Brown and Milwaukee Counties George Washington (1732–99), American Revolutionary War leader (1775–83) and first President of the United States (1789–97) 138,168 430.70 sq mi
(1,116 km2)
State map highlighting Washington County
Waukesha County 133 Waukesha 1846 Milwaukee County Waugooshance, a Pottawatomi word meaning "little foxes" 412,591 549.57 sq mi
(1,423 km2)
State map highlighting Waukesha County
Waupaca County 135 Waupaca 1851 Brown and Winnebago Counties wau-pa-ka-ho-nak, a Menominee word meaning "white sand bottom" or "brave young hero" 51,388 747.71 sq mi
(1,937 km2)
State map highlighting Waupaca County
Waushara County 137 Wautoma 1851 Marquette County An Indian word meaning "good earth" 24,934 626.15 sq mi
(1,622 km2)
State map highlighting Waushara County
Winnebago County 139 Oshkosh 1840 Brown, Calumet, and Fond du Lac Counties Winnebago Indians 171,735 434.49 sq mi
(1,125 km2)
State map highlighting Winnebago County
Wood County 141 Wisconsin Rapids 1856 Portage County Joseph Wood (1809–90), state legislator (1856–58) 73,939 793.12 sq mi
(2,054 km2)
State map highlighting Wood County

Renamed counties

Five counties in Wisconsin have been renamed, but otherwise kept their same borders.[11]

Proposed counties

Two proposed counties were ultimately not established.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Curtiss-Wedge, Franklyn (1919). History of Buffalo and Pepin Counties, Wisconsin, Volume 1. Higginson Book Company. pp. 3–4. Archived from the original on September 22, 2023. Retrieved October 26, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Wisconsin QuickFacts". U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on November 19, 2021. Retrieved April 19, 2024. (2023 Census estimates)
  3. ^ "FIPS Publish 6-4". National Institute of Standards and Technology. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
  4. ^ a b "EPA County FIPS Code Listing". US Environmental Protection Agency. Archived from the original on October 7, 2013. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
  5. ^ Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. State of Wisconsin 2011–2012 Blue Book Archived December 28, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Madison: Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, 2011, p. 736.
  6. ^ Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. State of Wisconsin 2011–2012 Blue Book Archived December 28, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Madison: Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, 2011, p. 732.
  7. ^ "NACo – Find a county". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved February 11, 2008.
  8. ^ Wisconsin Legislative Reference Bureau. State of Wisconsin 2011–2012 Blue Book Archived December 28, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Madison: Joint Committee on Legislative Organization, 2011, p. 731.
  9. ^ a b c Carver, Jonathon (1910). Proceedings of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin at its Fifty-Seventh Annual Meeting (1st ed.). Madison WI: Democrat Printing Company. (WV County Founding Dates and Etymology). Other editions available at ISBN 1130567257 and Google Books Archived April 4, 2023, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ Elkins, Winston (1985). Trempealeau and the Mississippi River Dam. Trempealeau County, WI: Trempealeau County Historical Society.
  11. ^ "Interactive Map of Wisconsin County Formation History". mapgeeks.org. Archived from the original on March 28, 2018. Retrieved September 15, 2014.
  12. ^ History of Vernon County, Wisconsin. Viroqua, WI: Union Publishing. 1884. p. 132. (Bad Ax County). Other editions available: ISBN 1178120341 and Google Books
  13. ^ "Dictionary of Wisconsin History". Wisconsin Historical Society. Archived from the original on August 24, 2008. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  14. ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. pp. 135.
  15. ^ Rusk County Museum Archived October 22, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Wisconsin Historical Society-La Pointe County, Wisconsin (obsolete)". Archived from the original on May 8, 2014. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  17. ^ 'History of Langlade County, Wisconsin from U.S. Government Survey to Present Time, With Biographical Sketches,' Robert Dessueran, Bernier Bros Publishing Co., Antigo, Wisconsin: 1922, History of Langlade County, Chapter V: Organization of Langlade County, pg. 12
  18. ^ Wisconsin (1850). "Acts and Resolves Passed by the Legislature of Wisconsin". Archived from the original on September 22, 2023. Retrieved June 25, 2021.
  19. ^ Clark, Anita (September 28, 1997). "New county only solution to poor service, some say". The Journal Times. Archived from the original on November 5, 2016. Retrieved January 9, 2017.
  20. ^ Kirkby, Sean (March 4, 2012). "Professor advocates creating a new state county". Badger Herald. The Badger Herald. Archived from the original on June 28, 2020. Retrieved March 4, 2012.