Location within the U.S. state of Wisconsin
Wisconsin's location within the U.S.
|Named for||Philetus Sawyer|
|• Total||1,350 sq mi (3,500 km2)|
|• Land||1,257 sq mi (3,260 km2)|
|• Water||93 sq mi (240 km2) 6.9%%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||12/sq mi (4.7/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−6 (Central)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−5 (CDT)|
Sawyer County is a county in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of the 2010 census, the population was 16,557. Its county seat is Hayward.
The county is named for Philetus Sawyer, a New England man who represented Wisconsin in the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate in the 19th century. Logging began in the late 1850s. Loggers came from Cortland County, New York, Carroll County, New Hampshire, Orange County, Vermont and Down East Maine in what is now Washington County, Maine and Hancock County, Maine. These were "Yankee" migrants, that is to say they were descended from the English Puritans who had settled New England during the 1600s. They were mostly members of the Congregational Church. Sawyer County was created in 1883 and organized in 1885. In the 1890s immigrants came from a variety of countries such as Germany, Norway, Poland, Ireland and Sweden.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,350 square miles (3,500 km2), of which 1,257 square miles (3,260 km2) is land and 93 square miles (240 km2) (6.9%) is water. It is the fifth-largest county in Wisconsin by land area.
Sawyer County Airport (KHYR) serves the county and surrounding communities.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 16,196 people, 6,640 households, and 4,581 families residing in the county. The population density was 13 people per square mile (5/km2). There were 13,722 housing units at an average density of 11 per square mile (4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 81.72% White, 0.31% Black or African American, 16.07% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.35% from other races, and 1.23% from two or more races. 0.90% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 29.6% were of German, 7.8% Irish, 6.7% Norwegian, 5.9% Polish, 5.2% Swedish and 5.2% English ancestry. 95.4% spoke English, 2.0% Ojibwa and 1.1% Spanish as their first language.
There were 6,640 households, out of which 27.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.20% were married couples living together, 10.00% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.00% were non-families. 26.20% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.86.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 24.10% under the age of 18, 6.00% from 18 to 24, 24.60% from 25 to 44, 27.40% from 45 to 64, and 17.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 101.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.00 males.
In 2017, there were 167 births, giving a general fertility rate of 74.5 births per 1000 women aged 15–44, the 8th highest rate out of all 72 Wisconsin counties. Additionally, there were fewer than five reported induced abortions performed on women of Sawyer County residence in 2017.
Sawyer County is a bellwether county in presidential elections, having voted for the overall national winner in every election from 1964. This streak was broken in 2020 when the county backed Donald Trump, who lost to Joe Biden. This is similar to numerous other bellwether counties  and has been adduced as corroboration of claims of election anomalies in the 2020 US Presidential election.