Cities in Wisconsin
There are 595 total municipalities in Wisconsin. Of those 595, 594 of them are General law municipalities while 1, Milwaukee, is governed under a private charter. All cities and villages have home rule authority.
Types of local government
Local government in Wisconsin consists of 72 counties, 595 cities and villages, and 1255 towns. In addition, there are 761 special districts and 440 independent school districts.
- All cities and villages have home rule authority and are able to pass charter ordinances.
- Milwaukee is the only first-class city and only remaining city with a private act charter. Other cities are classified as second, third, or fourth class.
Initiative process availability
Cities and villages have a state set initiative process in Wis. Stat. § 9.20 that may be used to propose and vote on regular ordinances or charter ordinances.
However, court decisions have limited the subject matter available for initiative. An ordinance initiated under Wis. Stat. § 9.20: 1) must be legislative as opposed to administrative or executive in nature; 2) cannot repeal (or conflict with) an existing ordinance; 3) may not exceed the legislative powers conferred upon the governing municipal body; and 4) may not modify statutorily prescribed procedures or standards (which includes zoning). The restriction on conflicting with existing ordinances limits the initiative power compared with other states.
10 most populated cities
|List of Most Populated Cities in Wisconsin|
|City||Population||City Type||Next election|
|Madison||236,901||General law with Home Rule||N/A|
|Green Bay||105,809||General law with Home Rule||N/A|
|Kenosha||99,738||General law with Home Rule||N/A|
|Racine||78,853||General law with Home Rule||N/A|
|Appleton||73,243||General law with Home Rule||N/A|
|Waukesah||70,867||General law with Home Rule||N/A|
|Eau Claire||66,623||General law with Home Rule||N/A|
|Oshkosh||66,344||General law with Home Rule||N/A|
|Janesville||63,479||General law with Home Rule||N/A|
Full list of cities
- See also: List of Wisconsin cities
|A guide to local ballot initiatives|
- Local Government Types and Numbers Research Spreadsheet
- The U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 study of local governments
- League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Organization and Powers of Cities and Villages
- League of Wisconsin Municipalities, Distinction Among Classes of Cities
- Mount Horeb Community Alert v. Village Board of Mt. Horeb, 263 Wis. 2d 544, 665 N.W.2d 229 (2003)
- Ballotpedia: Types and #'s of local government by state
- US Census Bureau "City and Town Totals: Vintage 2011 (Population figures as of 2011 Census estimates)