The city of Superior lost population over the last decade, according to 2020 Census data released Thursday, Aug. 12. Despite the 1.8% reduction in people living in the city, Douglas County still had a slight 0.3% gain in population since 2010.
Population growth in Wisconsin overall was 3.6%.
Towns and villages in the county accounted primarily for the growth in Douglas County’s population. According to census figures, 456 additional people lived in unincorporated municipalities across Douglas County and 173 additional people lived in villages throughout the county.
Wascott had the largest change in its population since 2010, with 149 additional people, 19.5% increase in its population.
The towns of Brule, Hawthorn, Lakeside, Maple and Summit all had shrinking populations over the last decade while Amnicon, Bennett, Cloverland, Dairyland, Gordon, Highland, Oakland, Parkland, Solon Springs and Superior grew.
Villages across the county all showed growth population.
Superior’s decline in population over the last decade was greater than the decade prior, when Superior lost 138 people between 2000 and 2010.
"It's always good to take the count, but to tell you the truth, I found this particular year a little less helpful than it otherwise could have been," Mayor Jim Paine said.
The 2020 Census likely didn't take into account the surge in new housing in recent years that brought in a surge of new residents, Paine said.
Superior grew substantially with apartments opening for occupancy in the 86-unit 320 North and 136-unit Central Flats apartment buildings. Central Flats opened late last year.
Paine said he has concerns about the impact those large apartment buildings being uncounted could have in an election, but he doesn't anticipate any major changes to council districts as a result of the census.
The population fluctuations were anticipated. Beyond the count, the mayor said the census will provide meaningful data that will help city officials better understand the community.
So far, the U.S. Census Bureau has only released data for redistricting, which includes population counts, race and housing numbers.
The city and county’s racial makeup remained relatively unchanged over the last decade.
Superior’s population first started to decline in the decade that followed the 1910 Census. The city's population reached a peak of 40,384 during that tally. In the last century, only the 1950 and 2000 census showed a slight increase in population.
Douglas County’s population reached a peak of 49,771 in 1920 and fell to a low of 41,758 in 1990 before climbing again over the last three decades, according to historic census figures.
This story was updated at 9 a.m. Aug. 23 to correct an inaccurate dataset from the U.S. Census Bureau. The story originally reflected estimates from the 2010 American Community Survey rather than the 2010 decennial census. The story was originally posted at 11 a.m. Aug. 17. The Telegram regrets the error.