New census study shows record low population growth in Wisconsin

Wisconsin among the slowest growing states in the country
Wisconsin among the slowest growing states in the country(WBAY)
Published: Dec. 19, 2021 at 3:09 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 19, 2021 at 3:20 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A new study from Madison-based Forward Analytics shows Wisconsin’s future could be in danger, if the state’s population growth trends don’t drastically pick up.

According to the study, “Slowing Down: Wisconsin’s Waning Population Growth,” the state’s population increased by 3.6%, making us among the slowest growing states in the country.

“We knew the state was growing slowly, but this is the slowest 10-year growth rate ever for the state of Wisconsin. The most troubling pieces are that decline in birth rates and the decline in under 18 population. Because that pretends really long term challenges for Wisconsin that are going to be really difficult to turn around,” said Dale Knapp, Director of Forward Analytics.

Wisconsin’s under-18 population fell 4.3%, more than double the 2.1% decline during 2000 to 2010.

“We’re headed in the direction of a permanent, a long term what we call a natural population decline, where deaths exceed births, unless we can figure out a way to turn birth rates around,” said Knapp.

The report shows that fewer young people in the state negatively affects Wisconsin’s future labor force and our economy.

Knapp says one solution would be to make childcare more affordable.

“I think the target has to be those young families. The 25 to 40 year old age group, because if you get those here, you also get children here, which often times will stay and sort of help in the long term,” said Knapp.

Without migration and increased birth rate, Knapp says Wisconsin will continue to see the population dwindle, “The only solution is to get more people moving here.”

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