Redistricting Process: Legislative Population Change (since 2000): 323,311
Legislature: Republican Seats: 8
Governor: Scott Walker (R) Members of Congress: 5R, 3D
Party Control: Republican 2012: 52.8% Obama, 46.1% Romney

Map Instructions:

Three maps are available for each state. Each has new district outlines in bold.
Click on each district on the map to see more information.
Click the arrow button to switch between districts that are close together.
New Districts by Party Representation

2010 Redistricting Changes: Wisconsin Stays Steady at Eight Seats

Old Districts by Partisan Voting Index with New District Outlines
Old Districts by Party Representation with New District Outlines

The population of Wisconsin grew by 6.0% between 2000 and 2010, trailing behind the national population growth rate of 9.7% during that period. The state retained all eight of its districts, neither gaining nor losing in the most recent reapportionment. However, the ideal size of each district grew by just over 50,000 people over the last decade, from 670,459 after the 2000 census to 710,873 after the 2010 census.

The main drivers of Wisconsin’s population growth were the White and Hispanic populations, which each accounted for more than 30% of the state’s total growth between 2000 and 2010. Increases in the state’s African American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander populations were the next largest components of the state’s overall growth. The county in Wisconsin that experienced the highest rate of population growth from 2000 to 2010 was St. Croix, a small county located along the Wisconsin-Minnesota border near Minneapolis. its proximity to the city may indicate suburban migration from Minneapolis into the smaller cities and towns of St. Croix County. The next two fastest growing counties were Calumet and Dane.

In Wisconsin, redistricting for both legislative and congressional districts is completed by the state legislature, then subject to approval or veto by the Governor. For congressional districts, Wisconsin’s constitution provides no deadline for completion of the maps. The Wisconsin legislature has not established a legislative committee on redistricting. In 2011, the Republican majority in the legislature completed and submitted redistricting maps which were approved by the governor. Wisconsin does not have any congressional districts requiring preclearance under the Voting Rights Act.

Democrats in the state legislature challenged the Republican-drawn redistricting plan in federal court after it was approved and released, arguing that it unnecessarily moved voters to new districts. There was an additional legal challenge, though both cases were later consolidated into one, that claimed the plans disempowered Hispanic and Latino voters. Athree-judge panel approved the congressional districts as drawn by the Republicans in the legislature, mandating only a small change in the legislative maps.

Following the release of 2011 plans, Democrats in the legislature have announced a desire to reform the redistricting process in the state, to have the lines drawn by a nonpartisan board for the next redistricting cycle. The proposal is unlikely to be approved by the legislature without bipartisan support, which does not currently exist. However, it is possible that the idea could garner greater interest and support in upcoming years before the next redistricting cycle.

First District

The First District is located in the southeast corner of the state, containing the entirety of the counties of Racine and Kenosha, and most of the county of Walworth. After 2011 redistricting, the First’s western border moved slightly east, losing the city of Beloit. However, the district’s border moved further north into Waukesha County, gaining the cities of Ottawa, Genesee, Dousman, and Waukesha. East of Waukesha County, the First also lost the city of Greenfield as its border moved slightly further south within Milwaukee County.

Second District

The Second District is located just west of the First, placed in the center of the southern border of the state. Its western edged moved further west, gaining the counties of Iowa and Lafayette, and its northern region moved west so that it now encompasses all of Sauk County, but no longer includes Columbia County. The eastern border of the district also moved further west, losing the cities in Jefferson County that it previously held.

Third District

The Third District is located along the state’s southwestern border, now extending from Pierce County at its northern edge to Grant County at the southern end. The 2011 redistricting plan contracted the northern end of the district to remove St. Croix County, and has acquired a finger-like feature to the district that reaches east to include portions of Juneau and Wood Counties, and all of Adams and Portage Counties. With this update, the district no longer encompasses Juneau County in its entirety. The district has also lost all of Clark County, portions of Jackson County, and its eastern border shifted west, removing all of Lafayette and Iowa County and the cities in Sauk County that it previously included.

Fourth District

Wisconsin’s Fourth District retained portions of Milwaukee County, including the city of Milwaukee and its working-class suburbs of Cudahy, St. Francis, South Milwaukee, West Milwaukee, and a portion of suburban West Allis. Redistricting left the fourth largely unchanged – with the exception of the north-eastern region that picked up portions of the fifth congressional district, specifically the suburbs of Brown Deer, Glendale, Shorewood, Whitefish Bay, Fox Point, and Bayside.

Fifth District

Wisconsin’s Fifth District changed its geography significantly, adding parts of Dodge County, all of Jefferson County, parts of Walworth County, and parts of Waukesha County, while shedding all of Ozaukee County and the northern suburbs of Milwaukee County. The district is anchored at its northern tip in Lomira, its eastern tip in Greenfield, and its southern tip in Whitewater. Itss western border extends in a straight line without any extensions, covering the suburbs of Calamus, Elba, Portland, Waterloo, Lake Mills, Oakland, and Sumner.

Sixth District

The east-central Sixth District has changed with an addition of Columbia County, Ozaukee County, and portions of Milwaukee County as well as the exclusion of all of Adams, Washington, and Dodge County; and parts of Winnebago County. The district is anchored in the west by the city of Portage and US Route 51, in the east by the city Mequon, and in the north by the cities of Manitowoc and Neenah. With the exception of a finger-like extension on its northern border that narrowly misses Appleton, the district has a narrow center and widens at its western and eastern borders.

Seventh District

The Seventh District, located on the northern border of the state, was previously composed of parts or entire counties of Polk, Burnett, Barron, Chippewa, Rusk, Sawyer, Washburn, Douglas, Bayfield, Ashland, Iron, Price, Taylor, Clark, Wood, Portage, Marathon, Lincoln, Langlade, and Oneida. After redistricting, the district expanded to include the the entirety of St. Croix, Clark, Langlade, Vilas, Oneida, Forest, and Florence and parts of Jackson and Juneau Counties. The map excludes parts of Chippewa and all of Portage. The Seventh is surrounded by Lake Superior to its north, Minnesota to its west, Michigan to its east, and the Third to its south.

Eighth District

Wisconsin’s Eighth District lost portions of its northern territory to the Seventh District – the counties of Vilas, Oneida, Florence, Forest, and Langlade – while gaining the entirety of Calumet County and portions of Winnebago from the Sixth District. The district is shaped obscurely, with its eastern seaboard projecting into Lake Michigan and Green Bay, its southern border shuffling around Lake Winnebago, and its northern tip jaggedly zigzagging to reach its western border. The district is anchored by the cities of Sheridan and Waupaca in its bottom-left corner, the cities of Appleton and Kaukauna near its bottom-center border, and the city of Marinette reaching into Green Bay.

The district has been represented by Republican Reid Ribble since 2011, when he garnered 55% of the vote to Democrat challenger Steve Kagen’s 45%. The 2012 election cycle reflects similar voting numbers with Ribble winning by a small margin of 56% to Democrat Jamie Wall’s 44%. Prior to Ribble’s incumbency, the eighth congressional seat has switched between Republican and Democratic holds sporadically since its inception. According the Cook Political Report, the eighth has a Partisan Voter Index of R+2, which puts it as the 216th most Republican district in the country.