University of Wisconsin–Madison

Wisconsin Geography Trivia


General Statistics

  • Based on the U.S. Census, the estimated population of Wisconsin is 5,813,568 as of July 1, 2018.
  • Wisconsin has 72 counties.
  • The total area of Wisconsin is 65,496 square miles according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  That figure includes all inland waters AND the portions of Lakes Michigan and Superior that legally fall within that state.
  • The total land area of the state is 54,158 square miles according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  That figure excludes all inland waters (e.g., Lake Winnebago, Wisconsin River, Mississippi River, etc.) and Lakes Michigan and Superior.
  • The total common area of the state is 56,081 square miles based on geographic data from the Wisconsin DNR.  This includes all inland waters and land area, but excludes Lakes Michigan and Superior.
  • The largest county in Wisconsin is Marathon County.  According to U.S. Census data, Marathon County has land area of 1,545 square miles.  But if you add inland lakes and waterways, the total is 1,575 square miles based on Wisconsin DNR geographic data.
  • The smallest county is up to interpretation.  Based on U.S. Census data, Pepin County has a total land area of 232 square miles, compared to a land area of 233.1 square miles for Ozaukee County.  However, if you include the waters of the Mississippi River that extend to the legal boundary of the state (“center of the main channel of the Mississippi River”), Pepin County is 249 square miles.  Compare this to 235 square miles for Ozaukee if you exclude the waters of Lake Michigan.
  • The geographic center of Wisconsin (weighted center) is nine miles southeast of Marshfield in Wood county.
  • The center of the northwestern hemisphere (45 degrees north, 90 degrees west) falls in Wisconsin near Poniatowski.

Wisconsin Lakes and Rivers

  • Wisconsin has over 15,000 lakes of which over 6,000 are named. Many larger lakes have been mapped for their depths.
  • The largest inland lake is Lake Winnebago which covers an area of 206 square miles (131,939 acres).
  • Wisconsin’s deepest natural inland lake is Green Lake in Green Lake County with a maximum depth of 236 feet. The deepest artificial lake is Wazee Lake near Black River Falls in Jackson County with a maximum depth of 350 feet.
  • Our longest river is the Wisconsin River which flows 430 miles from Lac Vieux Desert in northern Wisconsin to the Mississippi River near the town of Prairie du Chien on the Wisconsin-Iowa border. Over that course, the river drops approximately 1,072 feet.
  • One estimate of the length of Wisconsin’s Great Lakes shoreline is 1,017 miles. This number can vary significantly depending on the data used to make the calculation.

Elevations of Note

  • The highest natural point in Wisconsin is Timms Hill in Price County at 1,951.5 feet.
  • The lowest elevations in the state are found along the shore of Lake Michigan, which has an average elevation of 579 feet.
  • The elevation at the top of our state Capitol building is 1,213.5 feet.
  • The elevation of Madison’s Lake Mendota is 849 feet.
  • You can also view a table of each county’s high elevation point.
Last updated: January 29, 2019