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List of states
Capital: Madison
State motto: Forward
Surface: 169,639 km²
Residents: 5,778,708 (2016 estimated) (33.5 U / km²)
Member since: May 29, 1848
Time zone: Central: UTC − 6 / −5
The highest point: 595 m (Timms Hill)
Average Height: 320 m
Deepest point: 176 m Lake Michigan
Governor : Tony Evers ( D )
Post  / Office /  ISO WI / WI / US-WI
Map of Wisconsin
Map of Wisconsin

Wisconsin  [ wɪˈskɑːnsɪn ] is a state in the United States of America . The name Wisconsin is the English version of the French adaptation of a name of the Miami - Illinois for the Wisconsin River with the meaning "which lies red" (based on the sandstone on the river). Wisconsin's nickname is Badger State ("badger state") or America's Dairyland ("America's dairy country"). Please click to listen!Play


Geographical location

The five geographic regions of Wisconsin

In terms of area, Wisconsin ranks 23rd among the 50 US states with 169,639 km² and is a little less than half the size of Germany . 28,976 km² (17%) of the national territory are water surfaces and 46% are covered by forest. There are around 15,000 lakes and large forest areas in Wisconsin, so that numerous tourists regularly travel from the greater Chicago area to the neighboring state to the north. Geographically, Wisconsin can be divided into five regions: the northern Lake Superior Lowland covers an area along the Lake Superior . To the south of it join the Northern Highlands , which are characterized by mixed and coniferous forests, including the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and thousands of glacial lakes. Here can be found with Timms Hill also the highest point of the territory. In addition to fertile farmland, the Central Plains have some remarkable sandstone formations. The state's largest cities are in the Eastern Ridges and Lowlands in the southeast. The Western Uplands show an alternation between forests and farmland.

Extension of the national territory

Typical farm in Wisconsin
Typical small town street scene, Fountain City

Wisconsin is 500 km long between 42 ° 30 'N and 47 ° 3' N and 420 km between 86 ° 49 'W and 92 ° 54' W.

Neighbore states

Wisconsin is bordered by Lake Superior and Michigan to the north, Lake Michigan to the east, Illinois to the south, and Iowa and Minnesota to the west .



The climate of Wisconsin shows hardly any regional differences, partly due to the relatively small height differences within the state. According to Köppen, the southernmost part of Wisconsin is in a humid continental climate with hot summers (Dfa). All other areas of Wisconsin are in the area of ​​the humid continental climate with warm summers (Dfb). Wisconsin's summers are warm and sometimes muggy; Temperatures over 30 degrees do occur, but are not the rule. Wisconsin's winters sometimes begin as early as November , when the colorful Indian summer draws to a close. Snow often falls in significant amounts across Wisconsin during winter.


The flag of Wisconsin is a blue flag with the Wisconsin seal centered on it. In the middle, under the words 'Wisconsin' and above the year '1848', there is the state coat of arms from 1851, which shows a sailor and a miner as a shield holder as symbols of work on land and at sea.


Population development
Census Residents ± in%
1850 305.391 -
1860 775.881 154.1%
1870 1,054,670 35.9%
1880 1,315,457 24.7%
1890 1,693,330 28.7%
1900 2,069,042 22.2%
1910 2,333,860 12.8%
1920 2,632,067 12.8%
1930 2,939,006 11.7%
1940 3,137,587 6.8%
1950 3,434,575 9.5%
1960 3,951,777 15.1%
1970 4,417,731 11.8%
1980 4,705,767 6.5%
1990 4,891,769 4%
2000 5,363,675 9.6%
2010 5,686,986 6%
Before 1900

1900-1990 2000

Population density

With its 5,709,843 inhabitants (2011), called Wisconsonians or Wisconsinites, Wisconsin ranks 20th in the list of American states, has about 400,000 fewer inhabitants than Hesse and is only half as densely populated with 33.7 inhabitants per square kilometer Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania .

86.2% of the population are white, 6.3% African American, 2.9% Hispanic, around 2.3% Asians, around 1.0% of Native American descent and 2.3% of other origins.

Wisconsin is regularly recorded as the worst African American state . Wisconsin has the highest black child mortality rate in the United States; in Milwaukee it is twice as high among black babies as it is among white ones. The black population is often below the poverty line or in custody, well above average. 70% of black people in the state live in Milwaukee , where almost half of all African American men between 20 and 40 have already been sentenced to prison. During the 2010 US Census , 12.8% of all black men in Wisconsin were in custody, the highest in the US. In addition, there are particularly strict criminal laws that disproportionately affect African Americans.

Historically, there are close ties between Germany and Wisconsin. Almost half of the population comes from German immigrants. City names such as Berlin , New Berlin , Kiel , New Holstein and Rhinelander indicate the origin of the town's founders. Especially after the failed revolution of 1848 , many disappointed and persecuted German democrats were drawn to this part of the USA, which had only recently been opened for settlement. The German revolutionary Carl Schurz was one of those forty-eight and lived in Wisconsin for some time. His wife Margarathe Meyer founded the United States' first kindergarten in Watertown in 1856 . In order to take care of the immigrants religiously, z. B. 1860 Franciscan Minorites from Bremen to America. Among them was u. a. Constantin Maria von Droste zu Hülshoff (1841–1901), who worked as a missionary in Wisconsin for over 30 years.

The development of the largest city in the state, Milwaukee , was also heavily influenced by German influences. According to Samuel Freeman's The Emigrant Handbook , there were six German-language newspapers in the city in 1851 alone, which was nicknamed "German Athens". By 1880, 27 percent of the city's population were native Germans. One of the legacies of the first generation of immigrants was the pronounced community spirit of the citizens of Milwaukee. The city has always been very progressive in social matters. In 1910 Emil Seidel became the first socialist mayor of a major city in the USA.

The German immigrants also left their mark on the culinary front. The major breweries Pabst , Blatz, Schlitz and Miller earned Milwaukee the reputation of the American beer capital. Sausages and sauerkraut are still very popular today. Even the fast food chain McDonald’s had sausages on offer for a short time in Wisconsin, which are mostly just called brats . However, the First World War led to the emphasis on German traditions and the reference to the old homeland being severely restricted. Even the sauerkraut was temporarily renamed liberty cabbage ; This partly forced, partly voluntary assimilation came to an end during the Second World War . The Germanfest takes place annually in Milwaukee .


Wisconsin Welcome Sign to Superior

The religious communities with the largest number of members in 2000 were the Catholic Church with 1,695,660, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America with 463,432 and the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod with 241,306 members.


Campus of Marquette University in Milwaukee

Biggest cities

La Crosse (Wisconsin) West Allis Janesville (Wisconsin) Eau Claire (Wisconsin) Oshkosh (Wisconsin) Waukesha Appleton (Wisconsin) Racine (Wisconsin) Kenosha Green Bay Madison (Wisconsin) Milwaukee

See also:


Wisconsin geographic map
Indian women of the Ho Chunk Nation in Wisconsin

The first Europeans to set foot on Wisconsin soil were French , who crossed the Saint Lawrence River and the Great Lakes to what is now the north of the United States. The Indian tribes of the Winnebago , Chippewa , Menominee , Sioux and Fox lived there . In 1634, the French explorer Jean Nicolet met the Winnebago Indians in Green Bay while looking for a route to Asia . The dominance of the French ended in 1763 with the Treaty of Paris . The subsequent English control of the area lasted until 1812 ( British-American War ).

While the fur trade was the most important source of income for the settlers for a long time, the exploitation of lead mines led to the first wave of settlements at the beginning of the 19th century. The miners were nicknamed "Badger" (badgers). Wisconsin is still considered the "Badger State" to this day. As the century progressed, railroad construction accelerated the exploitation of the country's natural resources. The north of the country was dominated by the timber industry and later the paper industry. In addition to a strong wave of immigration from Germany, many settlers from Norway , Denmark , Sweden and Finland also came to Wisconsin in the second half of the 19th century . Swiss founded the cities of New Glarus and Monroe. But many immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe also found their way to Milwaukee. 10% of Wisconsin's residents are from Poland or from Polish immigrants.

As of May 29, 1848, Wisconsin is the 30th state in the United States. Wisconsin was a free state from the start , a state that did not allow slavery. In 1854, Joshua Glover , a Missouri escaped slave, was arrested in Wisconsin and was to be brought back under the Fugitive Slave Law . A mob of anti-slavery opponents forcibly freed him and let him flee to Canada. The Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled the Fugitive Slave Law unconstitutional. Around 91,000 Wisconsin men fought for the Union during the Civil War .


Capital Madison with Capitol

Wisconsin is one of the states that can currently be referred to as swing states in the United States . Its contrasts of rural-conservative and metropolitan-liberal regions ensure a balanced political balance between the major parties in the USA. Therefore, the results of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections in Wisconsin were very close. In 2004 John Kerry won the 10 electoral votes with only 50.4 percent. Originally, however, Wisconsin was one of those states in which the Democrats had a slight advantage over the Republicans. Between 1932 and 2004, the Democrats won 11 times and the Republicans only 8 times. From 1988 to 2012 there were only democratic victories in presidential elections. In 2016 Donald Trump won with 47.2% of the vote ( Hillary Clinton 46.5%). Time and again, politicians from Wisconsin, regardless of their party affiliation, were champions of progressive politics and social reforms. Among the most important political figures in the history of the state include Robert M. La Follette Sr. , 1901–1906 governor and 1905–1925 Republican Senator of Wisconsin and later founder and presidential candidate of the Progressive Party , Joseph McCarthy , a Republican who lived in the 1950s Hunted actual or supposed communists in social life, and Russ Feingold , a well-known former senator who belonged to the progressive-liberal wing of the Democrats.

Presidential election results
year republican Democrats
2016 47.26% 1,407,028 46.45% 1,382,947
2012 45.89% 1,407,966 52.83% 1,620,985
2008 42.31% 1,262,393 56.22% 1,677,211
2004 49.31% 1,478,120 49.71% 1,489,504
2000 47.56% 1,237,279 47.83% 1,242,987
1996 38.48% 845,029 48.81% 1,071,971
1992 36.78% 930,855 41.13% 1,041,066
1988 47.80% 1,047,794 51.41% 1,126,794
1984 54.19% 1,198,800 45.02% 995,847
1980 47.90% 1,088,845 43.18% 981,584
1976 47.83% 1,004,987 49.50% 1,040,232
1972 53.40% 989,430 43.72% 810,174
1968 47.89% 809,997 44.27% 748,804
1964 37.74% 638,495 62.09% 1,050,424
1960 51.77% 895,175 48.05% 830,805

In the 116th Congress Senate , Wisconsin is represented by Republican Ron Johnson and Democrat Tammy Baldwin . The state delegation to the House of Representatives consists of five Republicans and three Democrats.

In Germany they became aware of Wisconsin because the then prime minister of Hesse , Roland Koch, the local social welfare model Welfare to Work propagated (work instead of welfare) as well. This model goes back to the former governor and ex-US Minister of Health Tommy Thompson , who introduced the “Wisconsin Works” (W-2) program in 1997 and was thus able to greatly reduce the number of welfare recipients. Whether and how this concept can also be implemented in Germany is controversial. In terms of its population and economic structure, Wisconsin can hardly be compared with German conditions. Only in the south ( Madison , Milwaukee) are there larger cities where social problems are tangible to a significant extent.

In the spring of 2011, a power struggle raged in Wisconsin between Republican Governor Scott Walker and a large part of the civil service, because Walker wanted de facto to abolish the collective bargaining of the unions in order to implement drastic spending cuts. This led to chaos, such as the occupation of the Parliament building in Madison by demonstrators. The Democratic senators also left the state to block a vote on the law. The election of the governor planned by the opposition failed, Walker received 54% of the vote.



House of Representatives


The German state of Hesse has been Wisconsin's partner country since September 20, 1976.

Culture and sights


To play in the US professional leagues:

Economy and Infrastructure

The real gross domestic product per capita (English per capita real GDP) was USD 53,565 in 2016 (national average of the 50 US states: USD 57,118; national ranking: 20). The unemployment rate was 3.2% in November 2017 (national average: 4.1%).

The main line of business is still agriculture. Because of its intensive dairy farming , the state bears the name "America's Dairyland". The inhabitants of the country are also jokingly called cheeseheads, so fans of the famous Green Bay Packers football team prefer to wear hats in the shape of a triangular Emmentaler. But Wisconsin also has a strong industrial economy. Milwaukee became "America's Toolbox" during the New Deal and World War II . The sanitary factory Kohler is located in Sheboygan, from Milwaukee to come alongside the motorcycles from Harley-Davidson and the lawn mower from Briggs & Stratton and in Waterloo, the bicycle manufacturer Trek headquartered. The mail-order company Lands' End , which is also represented in Germany, has its headquarters in Dodgeville .


Web links

Commons : Wisconsin  - collection of pictures, videos, and audio files
Wikivoyage: Wisconsin  Travel Guide
Wiktionary: Wisconsin  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Density Using Land Area
  2. Onoma North American Onomastics 38 (2003), pp. 39-56
  3. ^ US Census Bureau _ Census of Population and Housing . Retrieved February 28, 2011
  4. Extract from Census.gov . Retrieved February 28, 2011
  5. Excerpt from factfinder.census.gov.Retrieved February 28, 2011
  6. Quickfacts: Wisconsin (English) ( Memento of March 3, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  7. Brentin Mock: Half of Wisconsin's Black Neighborhoods Are Jails . Citylab, August 9, 2016
  8. Alice Speri: Black students in Milwaukee are demanding changes to racist discipline in public schools The Intercept , April 11, 2018.
  9. ^ University of Wisconsin: Black Imprisonment , 2013 study
  10. ^ National Public Radio: Wisconsin locks up more of its black man then any other state , April 24, 2013
  11. Citylab.com: How Wisconsin Became the Home of Black Incarceration , August 17, 2016
  12. ^ The Association of Religion Data Archives | Maps & Reports
  13. ^ Henry Legler: Leading Events of Wisconsin History . Sentinel, Milwaukee, WI 1898, Rescue of Joshua Glover, a Runaway Slave, p. 226–29 ( here [accessed March 13, 2010]). here ( Memento from June 15, 2010 in the Internet Archive )
  14. ^ Turning Points in Wisconsin History: The Iron Brigade, Old Abe and Military Affairs. Wisconsin Historical Society , accessed March 13, 2010 .
  15. www.270towin.com
  16. ^ David Leip: Dave Leip's Atlas of US Presidential Elections. Retrieved November 28, 2018 .
  17. tagesschau.de Uprising in the American Midwest ( Memento from March 4, 2011 in the Internet Archive ), accessed on March 3, 2011
  18. Decision in Wisconsin: Arch-Conservative US Governor Triumphs over Democrats , accessed July 31, 2013
  19. ^ US Bureau of Economic Analysis: Regional Economic Accounts
  20. ^ Unemployment Rates for States. Retrieved January 8, 2018 .

Coordinates: 44 ° 44 ′  N , 89 ° 45 ′  W