Kenosha County, Wisconsin

Kenosha County
Kenosha County Courthouse and Jail
Map of Wisconsin highlighting Kenosha County
Location within the U.S. state of Wisconsin
Map of the United States highlighting Wisconsin
Wisconsin's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 42°35′N 87°49′W / 42.58°N 87.81°W / 42.58; -87.81
Country  United States
State  Wisconsin
Founded 1850
Seat Kenosha
Largest city Kenosha
 • Total 754 sq mi (1,950 km2)
 • Land 272 sq mi (700 km2)
 • Water 482 sq mi (1,250 km2)  64%%
 • Total 169,151[1]
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 1st

Kenosha County is located in the southeastern corner of the U.S. state of Wisconsin. The population was 169,151 as of the 2020 census, making it the eighth most populous county in Wisconsin.[2] The county is named after the county seat, Kenosha,[3] the fourth largest city in Wisconsin.[2] Kenosha County is part of the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville, IL-IN-WI Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is on the west shore of Lake Michigan.

The county has traditionally attracted newcomers from suburban Chicago, and in March 2008 the demographers of the Wisconsin Department of Administration reported that Kenosha County's improvements in roads, business's need for personnel, and quality-of-life factors had contributed to a decades-long influx of Illinois transplants, along with the direct rail link to Chicago via Metra's Union Pacific / North Line. Since 2000, the county saw a population increase of 12.6%, higher than the overall state growth of 6.0%.[4]

Considered an exurb, Kenosha County continued to see growth during the COVID-19 pandemic as people relocated from nearby cities such as Chicago and Milwaukee.[5]


The Potowatomi inhabited the area that would become Kenosha County for centuries prior to the acquisition of the area in 1833. The city of Kenosha was founded in 1835, and Kenosha County was formed from Racine County in 1850. Its location led to development and factories being built in the 19th century. Manufacturing continued to be a key component of the economy into the 20th century.[6]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 754 square miles (1,950 km2), of which 272 square miles (700 km2) is land and 482 square miles (1,250 km2) (64%) is water.[7] Although the county contains area from Lake Michigan, it is the fourth-smallest county in Wisconsin by land area.[8]

Major highways


Kenosha Regional Airport (KENW) serves the county and surrounding communities.

Adjacent counties


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 10,734
1860 13,900 29.5%
1870 13,147 −5.4%
1880 13,550 3.1%
1890 15,581 15.0%
1900 21,707 39.3%
1910 32,929 51.7%
1920 51,284 55.7%
1930 63,277 23.4%
1940 63,505 0.4%
1950 75,238 18.5%
1960 100,615 33.7%
1970 117,917 17.2%
1980 123,137 4.4%
1990 128,181 4.1%
2000 149,577 16.7%
2010 166,426 11.3%
2020 169,151 1.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790–1960[10] 1900–1990[11]
1990–2000[12] 2010–2020[13] 2020 census[14]

As of the census[15] of 2000, there were 149,577 people, 56,057 households, and 38,455 families residing in the county. The population density was 548 people per square mile (212/km2). There were 59,989 housing units at an average density of 220 per square mile (85/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 88.38% White, 5.08% Black or African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.92% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 3.29% from other races, and 1.91% from two or more races. 7.19% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 28.8% were of German, 10.4% Italian, 7.9% Irish, 7.6% Polish and 7.5% English ancestry.

There were 56,057 households, out of which 34.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.70% were married couples living together, 11.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.40% were non-families. 25.50% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 27.10% under the age of 18, 9.40% from 18 to 24, 31.30% from 25 to 44, 20.70% from 45 to 64, and 11.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.30 males.

In 2017, there were 1,873 births, giving a general fertility rate of 55.7 births per 1000 women aged 15–44, the 13th lowest rate out of all 72 Wisconsin counties.[16]


The county legislature is known as the Board of Supervisors. It consists of 23 members, each elected from single-member districts. The county executive is elected in a spring countywide, nonpartisan vote. The county executive is James Kreuser. The district attorney, treasurer, clerk, and register of deeds are elected in fall countywide, partisan elections held in presidential years, while the sheriff and clerk of circuit court are elected in fall countywide, partisan elections held in gubernatorial years.


In presidential elections, Kenosha County has voted Democratic for most of the past century. In 2016, Donald Trump became the first Republican presidential candidate to win the county since President Nixon in 1972. Trump won it again in 2020, this time with an outright majority of the vote, marking the first consecutive victories for the GOP in Kenosha County since 1928.





Census-designated places

Unincorporated communities

Ghost towns/neighborhoods

See also