West Still the New Frontier in Wisconsin

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In just a few years the St. Croix County area has been transformed from a string of sleepy bedroom communities into the fastest growing area of the state.

New residents have scooped up land and housing and forced rapid changes in St. Croix County. The census shows its population increased nearly 17 percent from 2000 to 2004.

The suburban sprawl brought more than ten and a-half thousand people to the county in the four-year period, while the population in the entire state grew just 2.5 percent to 5.5 million.

In Hudson, the county's largest city, around 60 percent of residents commute to the Twin Cities, which has caused transportation troubles and a need for new infrastructure, such as schools, water and sewer systems.

The next-fastest growing area of the state was Calumet County in the Fox Valley. It gained more than 3,000 people from 2000-2004, an increase of nearly 7.5 percent.

Milwaukee County has been losing people to outlying suburban areas for decades. It had a net loss of more than 11,000 people, or about one percent.

Iron County in far northern Wisconsin had the largest population loss on a percentage basis at more than 2.5 percent, but that's just 178 people from its population of less than 7,000.

In southern Wisconsin, Rock County grew by 3963, or 2.6 percent from 200 to 2004. The new population is 156,512. Dane County saw a big jump, up more than 25,000, or 5.9 percent to 435,582.