Talent Attraction: Wisconsin Gaining Population from Migration

Workforce development is the number one issue facing Waukesha County, the Milwaukee 7 region and our state. One of the Alliance’s 2019 Policy Agenda priorities is to support state and regional efforts to implement a talent attraction program. The state’s workforce is aging rapidly – 605,947 Wisconsin workers were 55 and older in 2015. Over the next 25 years, the state’s population of residents over 65 is projected to increase 82% while residents ages 18-64 projected to decrease .05% and ages 0-17 projected to increase only .05%. Wisconsin’s demographics, as well as the addition of new jobs in the coming years, necessitate bringing additional talent into the state.

Given those challenges, it’s uplifting to see that new data from the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that Wisconsin gained a net 8,824 people in 2018 as a result of migration to our state.  This is positive news for workforce, and reverses a trend that had been going in the wrong direction.  Wisconsin gained the most new residents from Illinois (25,155) and Minnesota (19,632), and also gained 15,208 people from foreign countries.  We had a net positive flow of population from all of our surrounding states, with the exception of Iowa, which gained 1,261 people more from Wisconsin than we gained from them.