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Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

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Census Data for Wisconsin Rapids ...

Population ...

The most recent Census Estimate<1> was for 2017 and it gives Wisconsin Rapids a population of 17,806 people.

The last Decennial Census<2> was in 2010, giving Wisconsin Rapids a population of 18,367 people.

The city of Wisconsin Rapids is located in Wood County. The 2010 Census gave Wood County a population of 74,749 people. This means that Wisconsin Rapids had 24.57% of the county's total population, making it Wood's 2nd most populous community.

At the same time, Wisconsin had a population of 5,686,986 people, meaning that Wisconsin Rapids had 0.32% of the total population of Wisconsin - making it the state's 43rd most populous community.

Area ...

When the Census Bureau conducts a census for a city like Wisconsin Rapids, 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 Wisconsin Rapids reflect the sampling area. Since the shape of the sampling area and the actual boundaries of Wisconsin Rapids 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 Wisconsin Rapids has a total area of 14.67 square miles [38 km²]. Of this total, 13.82 square miles [35.8 km²] is land, with the balance (5.79%) being water (0.85 square miles [2.2 km²]).

Wood County has a land area of 793 square miles [2,054.2 km²]. At 13.82 square miles [35.8 km²], Wisconsin Rapids has 1.74% 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° 23' 34"   (or 44.39°)             [Map]

Lon:   -89° 49' 36"   (or -89.83°)

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 (18,367 people) and land area (13.82 square miles [35.8 km²]) values from the 2010 Census, Wisconsin Rapids had a population density of 1,251 people per square mile [483.3 people/km²].

In comparison, the 2000 Census shows Wisconsin Rapids had a population of 18,435 people and a land area of 13.26 square miles [34.4 km²]. This gives a population density of 1,306 people per square mile [504 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 Wisconsin Rapids. You need to be careful when making such a comparison, the differences are likely to lead to an incorrect comparison. More information about the nature of these changes can be found in the section Census-to-Census Observations ... (see below).

Housing Units ...

At the time of the 2010 Census, Wisconsin Rapids had 8,972 Housing Units<3> and with its population of 18,367 people, this averages 2.05 people per Housing Unit.

The 2010 Census shows Wisconsin Rapids had a land area of 13.82 square miles [35.8 km²]. This translates to 611 Housing Units per square mile [236.1 housing units/km²].

From the Census of 2000: Wisconsin Rapids had 8,426 Housing Units, a population of 18,435 people and a land area of 13.26 square miles [34.4 km²]. This gives a density of 2.19 people per Housing Unit and 597 Housing Units per square mile [230.5 housing units/km²].

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

Wood County ...

The community of Wisconsin Rapids is located in Wood County and is the County Seat for Wood County.

The county had a population of 74,749 people at the 2010 Census. With it's population of 18,367 people, Wisconsin Rapids represented 24.57% of the county's total.

In addition, where the city of Wisconsin Rapids has a population density of 1,251 people per square mile [483.3 people/km²], Wood County averages 94.2 people per square mile [36.39 people/km²].

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

Population Rings for Wisconsin Rapids ...

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

  Radius   No of
  Since 2010    
5 mi   [8 km]528,773-3.11%
10 mi   [16 km]1542,928-3.08%
15 mi   [24 km]3195,096-1.48%
20 mi   [32 km]50115,376-1.27%
25 mi   [40 km]71150,314-0.77%
30 mi   [48 km]98178,350-0.61%

Census-to-Census Observations ...

Introduction ...

When the Census Bureau takes a census count (or enumeration) for Wisconsin Rapids, 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 Wisconsin Rapids. 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 3.96% larger than the 2000 Census.

The 2010 Census shows that the total area for Wisconsin Rapids was 14.67 square miles [38 km²]. Of this total, 13.82 square miles [35.8 km²] is land, with the balance (5.79%) being water (0.85 square miles [2.2 km²]).

The 2000 Census shows a total area of 14.11 square miles [36.6 km²]. Of this total, 13.26 square miles [34.4 km²] is land, with the balance (5.8%) being water (0.85 square miles [2.2 km²]).

Location ...

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

For the 2010 Census, the location was given as:

Lat:   44.392924°   (or 44°23'34" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -89.826740°   (or -89°49'36" W)

For the 2000 Census, the location given was:

Lat:   44.386805°   (or 44°23'12" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -89.823078°   (or -89°49'23" W)

The difference indicates that the U.S. Census Bureau moved the location of the polygon for the 2010 Census 2,426 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 (#1584463) to Wisconsin Rapids. This identifier also marks a GSP point on the map, and that point lies within the boundaries of Wisconsin Rapids. The GNIS point has been mapped to the latitude/longitude:

Lat:   44.394409°   (or 44°23'39" N)             [Map]

Lon:   -89.832903°   (or -89°49'58" W)

The GSP location given for the 2010 Census lies 1,694 feet to the east<6> of the point given by the GNIS for Wisconsin Rapids. For more information about this and the relationship of the various Federal Codes, please visit our Misc Page for Wisconsin Rapids.

Miscellaneous Information for Wisconsin Rapids ...

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 Wood County or the city of Wisconsin Rapids:

The GNIS Codes ...

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

GNIS ID for Wisconsin Rapids: 1584463

GNIS ID for Wood County: 1581130

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: 141 (Wood County)

Place Code: 88200 (Wisconsin Rapids)

State & County Code: 55/141 (Wisconsin / Wood County)

State & Place Code: 55/88200 (Wisconsin / Wisconsin Rapids)

Misc. Census Codes ...

Wisconsin Rapids is located in Census Region #2 (the Midwest Region) and Division #3 (the East North-Central Division).

The US Postal Service ZIP Code ...

While some people have used a ZIP code to identify a community, the purpose of the ZIP code was to make mail delivery more efficient by grouping addresses together. Although the ZIP Code doesn't specifically identify a city like Wisconsin Rapids, it does identify addresses that are in (or near) Wisconsin Rapids. It's important to remember that the boundaries of a ZIP Code can be changed, re-assigned or overlapped with other ZIP Codes.

The ZIP code for Wisconsin Rapids: 54494-54495<7>

Census ZCTA Codes ...

The US Census Bureau created statistical entities that they call ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs) and these ZCTAs are frequently confused with the ZIP codes that come from the US Postal Service (USPS).

ZCTAs were first created for the 2000 Census and at that time, they were based upon the USPS ZIP codes. While largely covering the same areas, the boundaries of a ZCTA do not necessarily match the boundaries of a postal ZIP code with the same number. For example, while a postal ZIP code can cross a county or state line, a Census ZCTA can not. They should be treated as separate entities with no correlation between them.

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

Other Roadside Stops ...

Find a Community in Wisconsin

About Wood County

About Wisconsin

Off-the-Road Links ...

The official website of the U.S. Census Bureau

The official website for Wisconsin Rapids:

The official website for Wood 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.

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<5>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the 2010 Census location is 23 degrees and a distance of 2,426 feet.

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<6>The calculated bearing (or angle) to the GNIS point is 251 degrees and a distance of 1,694 feet.

- Return to Citation

<7>When looking for a ZIP Code, whether Wisconsin Rapids or elsewhere, it's always best to check the website of the United States Postal Service (USPS).

- Return to Citation


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