A Gazetteer for the United States and Canada

Portage, Wisconsin

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Census Data for Portage ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2019 and it gave Portage a population of 10,399 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, which gave Portage a population of 10,324 people.

The city of Portage is located in Columbia County. The 2010 Census gave Columbia County; a population of 56,833 people. This means that Portage had 18.17% of the county's total population, making it Columbia's most populous community.

At the same time, Wisconsin had a population of 5,686,986 people, meaning that Portage had 0.18% of the total population of Wisconsin - making it the state's 89th most populous community.

Area ...

The 2010 Census shows that the sampling area for Portage has a total area of 9.62 square miles [24.9 km²]. Of this total, 8.82 square miles [22.9 km²] is land, with the balance (8.27%) being water (0.8 square miles [2.1 km²]).

Columbia County has a land area of 765 square miles [1,982.7 km²]. At 8.82 square miles [22.9 km²], Portage has 1.15% of the county's total land area.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Portage, they draw a boundary around the area in which they are going to conduct their count - this defines the sampling area (usually a polygon). The shape of the sampling area can be quite complex and it's important to keep in mind that the boundaries of the sampling area may or may not match the recognized boundaries of the city.
    • Things like population, area and housing for Portage reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Portage might be different, it's best to check with the U.S. Census Bureau to resolve any difference between the two.
    • Not only does the sampling area define boundaries, it also has a GPS location (latitude & longitude) that indicates a point within the sampling area (usually the center of the polygon, known as the centroid). At the time of the 2010 Census, the sampling area was located at:
    • Lat:   43° 32' 56"   (or 43.55°)
    • Lon:   -89° 27' 57"   (or -89.47°)
    • More information on this topic and the changes between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census can be found in the section for our Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Portage had 4,493 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 10,324 people, this averages 2.3 people per Housing Unit.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • The 2010 Census shows Portage had a land area of 8.82 square miles [22.9 km²]. This translates to 467 Housing Units per square mile [180.3 housing units/km²].
    • From the Census of 2000: Portage had 3,970 Housing Units, a population of 9,728 people and a land area of 8.29 square miles [21.5 km²]. This gives a density of 2.45 people per Housing Unit and 440.1 Housing Units per square mile [169.9 housing units/km²].
    • Note: Repeating the caution above (under Population Density), be aware that when comparing Housing Units between the 2010 and the 2000 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Portage and you need to be careful when comparing results between the censuses. More information about the nature of these the changes can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Columbia County ...

The community of Portage is located in Columbia County<4> and is the County Seat for Columbia County.

The county had a population of 56,833 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 10,324 people, Portage represented 18.17% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of Portage has a population density of 1,073 people per square mile [414.3 people/km²], Columbia County averages 74.2 people per square mile [28.66 people/km²].

For more information, please visit our Census Page for Columbia County.

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Portage, they start by specifying the boundaries of the area to be counted. This area (or sampling area) is a polygon and its shape can be quite complex - it may or may not match the geographical boundaries of Portage. It's important to note that from one Census to the next, the shape and location of the polygon can change.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • Although we don't have specific information about the shape of the polygon for Portage or how it changed has over time, there is some information that can give us some hints. For example, since the shape of the sampling area is directly related to the shape of the polygon, any change to area probably indicates a new shape for the polygon.
    • If you need precision or details about the methodology of the Census, you should visit the U.S. Census Bureau for a definitive answer.

Location ...

While generally coinciding with the GPS location (latitude/longitude) of Portage, the latitude and longitude given by the Census Bureau actually indicates the GPS location of the polygon for Portage.

  • Continue Reading ...
    • For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:
    • Lat:   43.548951°   (or 43°32'56" N)
    • Lon:   -89.465866°   (or -89°27'57" W)
    • For the 2000 Census, the location given was:
    • Lat:   43.545704°   (or 43°32'44" N)
    • Lon:   -89.463199°   (or -89°27'47" W)
    • The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 1,377 feet to the northwest<5> of the location that was used in the 2000 Census.
    • The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN) have assigned a unique GNIS identifier (#1583953) to Portage. This identifier also marks a GPS point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Portage. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:
    • Lat:   43.548037°   (or 43°32'52" N)
    • Lon:   -89.465954°   (or -89°27'57" W)
    • The GPS location given for the 2010 Census lies 334 feet to the north<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Portage. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Portage.

Miscellaneous Information for Portage ...

The Federal government has assigned various identifying codes to each community, county and state. At one time or another, the US Census Bureau has used one (or more) of the following identifiers when referring to either Columbia County or the city of Portage:

  • The GNIS Codes ...
    • The current system of identification is called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The following GNIS codes relate to Portage:
    • GNIS ID for Portage: 1583953
    • GNIS ID for Columbia County: 1581070
    • GNIS ID for State of Wisconsin: 1779806
  • Misc. Census Codes ...
    • Portage is located in Census Region #2 (the Midwest Region) and Division #3 (the East North-Central Division).

For more information about the various Federal identification codes, please visit our Misc Page for Portage.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Search for a Wisconsin Community

About Columbia County

About Wisconsin

Off-the-Road Links ...

The official website for Portage:

The official website for Columbia County:

The official website for State of Wisconsin:

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

The official website of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN)

The official website of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

Footnotes ...

<1>Every year, the US Census Bureau creates a population estimate for the preceeding year. Keep in mind that this value is an estimate and not an actual count. The most recent Census estimate is for the year 2019.
<2>Every 10 years (eg- 1990, 2000, 2010), the US Census Bureau conducts a Constitutionally-mandated count (or enumeration) of people living within the United States. This count is called a Decennial Census. The last Decennial Census was the 2010 Census, with the next one planned for 2020.
<3>A Housing Unit is a broad term for those places where people live (whether occupied or temporarily vacant), such as a house, an apartment, a mobile home, or an area that is considered as a separate living quarter. Separate living quarters (consisting of one or more rooms) are considered to be those places where people live, sleep and eat separately from others and that have access to the outside (either directly or by a shared hallway).
<4>If you're interested in how the shape of Wisconsin's counties, including Columbia, have changed over time, we recommend the Atlas of Historical County Boundaries.
<5>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2010 Census location is 30 degrees and a distance of 1,377 feet.
<6>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the GNIS point is 356 degrees and a distance of 334 feet.






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This page was last modified: 23 Nov 2021