Cities in Wisconsin

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This page contains a list of cities in Wisconsin, and other information about local governments.

Wisconsin allows municipal charter cities. There are 72 total counties in Wisconsin. All 72 counties are general law -- however, counties are granted Home rule authority.[1]

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.[1]

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. [2]

Further classifications:

  • All cities and villages have home rule authority and are able to pass charter ordinances.[3]
  • 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.[4]

Laws governing local ballot measures

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in Wisconsin

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.[5][6]

10 most populated cities

List of Most Populated Cities in Wisconsin
City[7] Population City Type Next election
Milwaukee 597,867 Charter N/A
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

A guide to local ballot initiatives
Local Ballot Initiatives cover.jpg

As of the 2010 Census, there are 595 incorporated cities and towns in Wisconsin. Population figures below are based on the updated estimates as of July 1, 2011.[8]

See also