Milwaukee is a city located in Milwaukee County Wisconsin. Milwaukee has a 2023 population of 555,640. It is also the county seat of Milwaukee County.Milwaukee is currently declining at a rate of -1.21% annually and its population has decreased by -3.59% since the most recent census, which recorded a population of 576,301 in 2020.
The average household income in Milwaukee is $61,529 with a poverty rate of 24.14%. The median rental costs in recent years comes to - per month, and the median house value is -. The median age in Milwaukee is 31.6 years, 30.8 years for males, and 32.4 years for females.
Milwaukee is the center of the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of 1.57 million.
Despite robust growth through the 1950s, Milwaukee has experienced negative growth since then, and it's only since the 2010 census that signs of growth have been evident, although growth has been small.
The Milwaukee metropolitan area is home to approximately 1.57 million people in 2016. 30% of the entire state's population lives in the 5-country metro area, with 10% of Wisconsin's population within the Milwaukee city limits.
38.3% of Milwaukee's population reports having African American ancestry, while 21% claim German descent. Other common ancestry groups in the city include Polish (8.8%), Irish (6.5%), Italian (3.6%) and English (2.8%).
The city of Milwaukee seems diverse, but the picture changes when you look at the county as a whole. Milwaukee County's population is 55% white, and the county's African American community is 27%. Only about 8% of the county's African American population lives outside the city limits.
Milwaukee is often seen as a very racially segregated city; some consider it the most segregated city in the country, along with Detroit, Michigan, including a 2002 issue of Jet Magazine.
Milwaukee currently ranks 4th among major cities in the US in terms of children living in poverty at 43%. Milwaukee's unemployment rate is the same as the national average, and its jobs market does show signs of stability and even improvement. The city has also started to attract college graduates, 80% of whom moved to Milwaukee because they got a job. Revitalization efforts in the downtown area have been used to attract residents to the city and encourage growth and development.
Milwaukee is a very slowly growing city, with its modest growth mostly concentrated in the neighborhoods around downtown. From 2011 to 2013, Milwaukee added only 4,000 people. While this doesn't sound like a lot, and it isn't, it does show that Milwaukee's experiencing a turnaround after almost five decades of decline. The growth in the downtown areas has been largely attributed to the construction of condos and apartments, with most new residents being young adults.
It's still too soon to tell if the population growth trend in Milwaukee will continue and the city will be able to post positive growth at the next census in 2020, but signs are good Milwaukee has at least partially overcome the slump of the last fifty years.
The Milwaukee area was originally inhabited by several Native American tribes, with French traders and missionaries first passing through the region in the late 17th century. A trading post was established in 1785 by Alexis Laframboise. It's believed the word Milwaukee comes from either a Potawatomi or Ojibwe word meaning "gathering place by the water." For many years, the settlement's name was printed as "Milwaukie," until a newspaper changed it to its current spelling sometime in the 1830s.
In its early history, Milwaukee had a great rivalry with two neighboring towns, Juneautown, across the river, and Walker's Point. By the 1840s, the competition had grown, and there were battles between the town, culminating in the Milwaukee Bridge War of 1845. Afterward, the towns were united and, in 1846, the City of Milwaukee was incorporated.
Milwaukee began to proliferate with an influx of immigrants, especially those from Germany who made their way here from Wisconsin. Milwaukee continued its rapid growth, reaching a height of 741,000 in 1960 before beginning a 5-decade decline.
According to the most recent ACS, the racial composition of Milwaukee was:
Black or African American
Two or more races
Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander
Average Family Size
Average Household Size
Rate of Home Ownership
Less Than 9th Grade
9th to 12th Grade
High School Graduate
High School Graduation Rate
The highest rate of high school graduation is among white people with a rate of 79.91%.
The highest rate of bachelors degrees is among islander people with a rate of 47.06%.
Other Indo-European Languages
Asian and Pacific Island Languages
78.97% of Milwaukee residents speak only English, while 21.03% speak other languages. The non-English language spoken by the largest group is Spanish, which is spoken by 15.16% of the population.
Overall Poverty Rate
Male Poverty Rate
Female Poverty Rate
The race most likely to be in poverty in Milwaukee is Black, with 32.07% below the poverty level.
The race least likely to be in poverty in Milwaukee is Islander, with 5.56% below the poverty level.
The poverty rate among those that worked full-time for the past 12 months was 4.72%. Among those working part-time, it was 27.37%, and for those that did not work, the poverty rate was 37.97%.
Overall Marriage Rate
Male Marriage Rate
Female Marriage Rate
The age group where males are most likely to be married is Over 65, while the female age group most likely to be married is 45-54.
Second Gulf War
First Gulf War
World War II
Less Than 9th Grade
High School Graduate
Bachelors or Greater
Veteran Poverty Rate
Veteran Disability Rate
Labor Force Participation
Non citizens include legal permanent residents (green card holders), international students, temporary workers, humanitarian migrants, and illegal immigrants.
Born in Milwaukee
92.44% of Milwaukee residents were born in the United States, with 68.33% having been born in Wisconsin. 6.43% of residents are not US citizens. Of those not born in the United States, the largest percentage are from Latin America.