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Wausau, Wisconsin

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Census Data for Wausau ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2017 and it gives Wausau a population of 38,739 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, giving Wausau a population of 39,106 people.

The city of Wausau is located in Marathon County. The 2010 Census gave Marathon County a population of 134,063 people. This means that Wausau had 29.17% of the county's total population, making it Marathon's most populous community.

At the same time, Wisconsin had a population of 5,686,986 people, meaning that Wausau had 0.69% of the total population of Wisconsin - making it the state's 17th most populous community.

Area ...

When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Wausau, they draw a boundary around the area in which they are going to conduct their count - this is called a sampling area (or 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 the population, area and housing for Wausau reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Wausau might be slightly different, it's best to check with the U.S. Census Bureau if you need precision.

The 2010 Census shows that the sample polygon for Wausau has a total area of 20.04 square miles [51.9 km²]. Of this total, 18.78 square miles [48.6 km²] is land, with the balance (6.31%) being water (1.26 square miles [3.3 km²]).

Marathon County has a land area of 1,544 square miles [4,001.5 km²]. At 18.78 square miles [48.6 km²], Wausau has 1.22% of the county's total land area.

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 at the center of the polygon). At the time of the 2010 Census, the sampling area was located at:

Lat:   44° 57' 42"   (or 44.96°)             [Map]

Lon:   -89° 38' 36"   (or -89.64°)

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).

Population Density ...

Using the population (39,106 people) and land area (18.78 square miles [48.6 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, Wausau had a population density of 1,951 people per square mile [753 people/km²].

In comparison, the 2000 Census shows Wausau had a population of 38,426 people and a land area of 16.49 square miles [42.7 km²]. This gives a population density of 2,164 people per square mile [835 people/km²]

NOTE: Be aware that when comparing population density between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Wausau. You need to be careful when making such a comparison, the differences are likely to lead to an incorrect comparison. More information about these differences can be found in the section Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Wausau had 18,154 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 39,106 people, this averages 2.15 people per Housing Unit.

The 2010 Census shows Wausau had a land area of 18.78 square miles [48.6 km²]. This translates to 905 Housing Units per square mile [349.7 housing units/km²].

From the Census of 2000: Wausau had 16,668 Housing Units, a population of 38,426 people and a land area of 16.49 square miles [42.7 km²]. This gives a density of 2.31 people per Housing Unit and 938 Housing Units per square mile [362.5 housing units/km²].

NOTE: Repeating the caution above (under Population Density), be aware that when comparing Housing Units between the 2000 Census and the 2010 Census, there were changes in the sampling area for Wausau and you need to be careful when comparing numbers between the censuses. More information about the changes can be found in the section called Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Marathon County ...

The community of Wausau is located in Marathon County and is the County Seat for Marathon County.

The county had a population of 134,063 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 39,106 people, Wausau represented 29.17% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of Wausau has a population density of 1,951 people per square mile [753 people/km²], Marathon County averages 86.8 people per square mile [33.5 people/km²].

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

Population Rings for Wausau ...

To help identify the number of people who live in Wausau and the surrounding area, we have drawn concentric rings centered on Wausau. We counted the number of communities within each ring and summed their populations.<4>

  Radius   No of
  Since 2010    
5 mi   [8 km]655,621-0.41%
10 mi   [16 km]1474,002+0.38%
15 mi   [24 km]28102,372---
20 mi   [32 km]45118,815+0.26%
25 mi   [40 km]71138,051+0.25%
30 mi   [48 km]96193,729-0.2%

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Wausau, 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 Wausau. It's important to note that from one Census to the next, the shape and location of the polygon can change. If you need precision or details about the methodology of the Census, you should visit the U.S. Census Bureau for a definitive answer.

Area ...

The sampling area (or polygon) given for the 2010 Census is 12.9% larger than the 2000 Census.

The 2010 Census shows that the total area for Wausau was 20.04 square miles [51.9 km²]. Of this total, 18.78 square miles [48.6 km²] is land, with the balance (6.31%) being water (1.26 square miles [3.3 km²]).

The 2000 Census shows a total area of 17.75 square miles [46 km²]. Of this total, 16.49 square miles [42.7 km²] is land, with the balance (6.31%) being water (1.27 square miles [3.3 km²]).

Location ...

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

For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:

Lat:   44.961866°   (or 44°57'42" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -89.643486°   (or -89°38'36" W)

For the 2000 Census, the location given was:

Lat:   44.961168°   (or 44°57'40" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -89.638821°   (or -89°38'19" W)

The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 1,230 feet to the west<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 (#1584379) to Wausau. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Wausau. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:

Lat:   44.961635°   (or 44°57'41" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -89.644567°   (or -89°38'40" W)

The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 291.3 feet to the east<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Wausau. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Wausau.

Miscellaneous Information for Wausau ...

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

The GNIS Codes ...

The current system of identification is called the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The following GNIS codes relate to Wausau:

GNIS ID for Wausau: 1584379

GNIS ID for Marathon County: 1581096

GNIS ID for Wisconsin: 1779806

The FIPS Codes ...

An earlier (and largely obsolete) identification method was called the Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS):

State Code: 55 (Wisconsin)

County Code: 073 (Marathon County)

Place Code: 84475 (Wausau)

State & County Code: 55/073 (Wisconsin / Marathon County)

State & Place Code: 55/84475 (Wisconsin / Wausau)

Misc. Census Codes ...

Wausau 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 Wausau.

Other Roadside Stops ...

Find a Community within Wisconsin

About Marathon County

About Wisconsin

Off-the-Road Links ...

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

The official website for Wausau:

The official website for Marathon County:

The official website for State of Wisconsin:

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 2017.

- Return to Citation

<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.

- Return to Citation

<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).

- Return to Citation

<4>The communities in our count are those provided by the 2010 Census, so keep in mind that our population rings will only include the people living in those communities. Smaller communities usually don't participate directly in the Census and therefore they won't be included. While our count is a close approximation, it shouldn't be considered as a complete or accurate count.

- Return to Citation

<5>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2010 Census location is 78 degrees and a distance of 1,230 feet.

- Return to Citation

<6>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the GNIS point is 286 degrees and a distance of 291.3 feet.

- Return to Citation


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This page was last modified: 13 Nov 2018
By John Hall