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La Crosse

City of La Crosse

  •   State: 
    La Crosse County
    La Crosse
      County FIPS: 
    43°48′48″N 91°13′59″W
      Area total: 
    23.79 sq mi
      Area land: 
    21.70 sq mi (56.21 km²)
      Area water: 
    2.08 sq mi (5.40 km²)
    669 ft (204 m)
  •   Latitude: 
      Dman name cbsa: 
    La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN
    Eastern Standard Time (EST) UTC-5:00; Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) UTC-4:00
      ZIP codes: 

    La Crosse, La Crosse County, Wisconsin, United States

  •   Population: 
      Population density: 
    2,214.38 residents per square mile of area (911.34/km²)
      Household income: 
      Unemployment rate: 
  •   Sales taxes: 
      Income taxes: 

La Crosse is a city in the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of La Crosse County. Positioned alongside the Mississippi River, it is the largest city on Wisconsin's western border. The city is a college town with over 20,000 students and home to the University of Wisconsin-La CrosSE, Viterbo University, and Western Technical College. It is the center of the La CrosSEOnalaska Metropolitan Area with a population of 139,627. The first Europeans to see the region were French fur traders in the late 17th century. The name originated from the game with sticks that resembled a bishop's crozier or la crosse in French, which was played by Native Americans there. In 1841, the first white settlement was established when Nathan Myrick, a New York native, moved to the village at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin to work in the fur trade. Since 1966, the city has seen its population grow by 1073%, while its area, including water and sewer mains, grew by more than 50%. In 2016, Mayor Tim Kabatat, a former mayor of the city, said the city's population had grown by 50% since 1966, with the majority of the growth occurring in the last decade of the 20th century as a result of the suburbanization of the area. The population as of the 2020 census was 52,680, and the city is expected to grow to 52,800 by the end of the decade.


The first Europeans to see the region were French fur traders who traveled the Mississippi River in the late 17th century. The name originated from the game with sticks that resembled a bishop's crozier or la crosse in French, which was played by Native Americans there. In 1841, the first white settlement at La Crosse was established when Nathan Myrick, a New York native, moved to the village at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin to work in the fur trade. The city became a center for education, with three colleges and universities established in the city between 1890 and 1912. Since 1966, the city has seen its population grow by 10.73%, while its area, miles of sewer, and miles of water mains each grew by more than 50%. In 2016, Mayor Tim Kabat and former Mayor John Medinger issued a proclamation apologizing for La CrosSE's history as a sundown town that discriminated against African Americans. The proclamation was issued by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and was signed by Attorney General Eric Holder on June 14, 2016. The ACLU has since issued a formal apology to the city for its treatment of African-Americans in the past, and has called for a full investigation of the matter. In the past year, the ACLU has released a report on the city's history of discrimination against African-American residents. The report was released by the ACLU on June 13, 2016, on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement.


La Crosse is located on the western border of the midsection of Wisconsin, on a broad alluvial plain along the east side of the Mississippi River. The Black River empties into the Mississippi north of the city, and the La Crosse River flows into the river just north of downtown area. The city has a total area of 23.79 square miles (61.62 km²), of which, 21.7 sq miles (56.20 km²) is land and 2.08 sq miles(5.39 km²%) is water. The warmest month of the year is July, when the average high temperature is 84.1 °F (28.9 °C) January is the coldest month, with high temperatures averaging 25.9°F (3.4°C) The city is located in the Driftless Area, which is composed of high ridges dissected by narrow valleys called coulees, a French term. As a result, the area is frequently referred to as the "Coulee Region" The city's location in the United States' upper midwest gives the area a temperate, continental climate. The area has 13 voting districts (wards) within the city. Suburbs include: French Island, Holmen, the Town of Medary, City of Onalaska, La Crescent, Minnesota, and Town of Shelby. The town of Shelby is on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border and has a population of 2,000.


The city has a variety of religious traditions and communities, including Catholicism, Protestantism, Anglicanism, Eastern Orthodox, Judaism, Unitarian Universalism, and Islam. At the 2010 census, there were 51,320 people, 21,428 households and 9,691 families residing in the city. The city is the episcopal see for the Roman Catholic Diocese of La Crosse. It is also home to St. Rose of Viterbo Convent, the mother house of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, and the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The population living in college or university student housing was 3,897. In the city, 93.9% were high school graduates or higher, and 36.5% had a bachelor's degree or higher. The per capita income for the city was $27,398. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the city will have a population of 52,680 at the census of 2020, with a population density of 2,427.3 inhabitants per square mile (937.2/km²) The city has five churches in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod: First Lutheran, Grace Lutheran, Immanuel Lutheran, Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, and St. John's Episcopal Church. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places on the city's local register of places to be. The Hmong Faith Alliance Church is listed as a local historic place to be on the local register.


La Crosse and the surrounding communities form a regional commercial center and shopping hub. In the northeastern region of the city lies the area's largest shopping center, Valley View Mall. Downtown La Crosse has experienced a resurgence in recent years, providing shopping, farmers' markets, hotels, restaurants, and specialty shops. As of 2012 the 10 largest employers in the city were: Gundersen Health System, Mayo Clinic Health System (Franciscan Skemp Medical Center), Trane, Kwik Trip, City Brewing Company, and the University of Wisconsin La CrosSE. The city is home to the U.S. headquarters of Cargill, America's now largest privately held corporation founded in La Crossee. The U.N. World Health Organization has a mission to promote health and well-being around the world. The World Health Organisation has a goal to improve the quality of life for all people worldwide by reducing the incidence of disease and disease-causing conditions. The goal is to reduce the number of diseases and conditions that lead to premature death and premature infant mortality in the world's poorest countries. The world's largest health care provider is the Gunsens Health Group, which provides care for more than 100,000 people in more than 30 countries. La Crosge is the home of the University of Wisconsin La Crosse, which offers a range of health care services. The University of Wisconsin La Crossey offers a variety of health and wellness programs. The City of La  Crosse offers a number of community-based programs, including a health care internship program and a community college.

Arts and culture

La Crosse has over 30 active arts organizations. The city is home to the Blue Stars Drum and Bugle Corps, a member of Drum Corps International. The La Crosse Center, a convention center and arena, hosts a variety of sporting events, concerts, exhibits, and shows. Local sculptor Elmer Petersen has created sculptures that are exhibited throughout the downtown area, including La CrosSE Players and the Eagle in Riverside Park. It also hosts a yearly St Patrick's Day Parade as well as Irishfest La Cros SE in August. It annually hosts Oktoberfest USA, an Ok toberfest celebration first established in 1961. The Pump House Regional Arts Center hosts visual arts exhibits throughout the year plus its own series of jazz, folk, and blues performers. It is located on the Mississippi River on the outskirts of the city, near the University of Wisconsin-La CrosSE. It has a number of fine arts buildings, including the Viterbo University Fine Arts building, UWLa Cros SE Art Gallery and Theater, and the La CrosSe Center, which hosts national performers.

Parks and recreation

The La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods League, play baseball at their home field at Copeland Park in the summer months. In 2017, the La CrosSE Showtime began play in the American Basketball Association at La Cros SE Center. The area's only ski hill, Mt. La Crose, opened in 1959 and has 18 slopes and trails. The ski hill is home to Damnation!, Mid-America's steepest trail. The University of Wisconsin has a 10,000 seat Veterans Memorial Field for football (turf field) and outdoor timed track opened in 2009 and hosts the WIAA Wisconsin high school outdoor track and field state championships. The city's Fairgrounds Speedway is the first and only paved NASCAR-sanctioned asphalt stock car racing track in Wisconsin. The park was previously home to a controversial Statue of Hiawatha. Long standing public debate about whether the statue was offensive or presented a caricature based on stereotypes of Native Americans eventually led to its removal in 2020, nearly 60 years after it was erected. The island of Baron Island was originally part of the state of Minnesota. The land was transferred to Wisconsin and eventually the City of La Crosne following a border dispute that was resolved in 1919. It was named after the city's first European settler: Nathan Myrick. An extensive marsh, a natural floodplain created by the La Crescent River, divides the city between north and south. It is protected as an important wildlife habitat and watershed to the Mississippi River.


Mitch Reynolds defeated Vicki Markussen in the 2021 La Crosse Mayoral election, succeeding retiring incumbent Tim Kabat. The mayor is elected at-large, while the 13 members of the Common Council are elected per aldermanic districts. In the U.S. Congress, Democrat Ron Kind has represented the 3rd congressional district since 1997. The city is almost coterminous with the 95th Wisconsin State Assembly District and is represented by Democrat Jill Billings. In 2014, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel ranked La CrosSE as one of Wisconsin's top performing Democratic cities. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won by 52% of the City of La Crose. In 2012, Barack Obama won 65% of the city and 58% of La Crosse County in the 2012 presidential election. In 2013, the city was ranked one of the top 10 Democratic cities in the country by the New York City-based magazine, The New York Times. In 2010, the New England Journal of Commerce ranked the city as the No. 1 Democratic city in the nation, ahead of New York, Washington, and Los Angeles. In 2011, the Washington Post ranked the town No. 2 in the state, behind Chicago. In 2008, the Chicago Tribune named the city one of America's top 10 cities to live in. In 2009, the National Journal of Public Policy named the town as the 10th best city to live and work in in the United States. The Washington Post named it the 11th best town to live or work in.


The School District of La Crosse has a total enrollment of 6,139 students. The district has 16 separate facilities, providing a total of 20 elementary, middle, high, and charter school programs. The University of WisconsinLa Crosse is the region's leading public university. Western Technical College is a public community college located in the city. Viterbo University is a Roman Catholic private institution. The Health Science Center exists as a combined effort of all the La CrosSE medical centers, universities, and government agencies with a goal of advancing students in the medical fields. The region's largest Lutheran high school, Luther High School, is located in Onalaska, Wisconsin. A referendum will decide whether this plan is carried through in 2022. In 2021, the school district proposed to consolidate the district's largest high schools, Central High School and Logan High school, into a new facility. In 2022, the district will hold a referendum to decide if this plan will be carried through. The referendum will be held on November 6, 2022. The school district will decide on whether or not to consolidate these two high schools into a single high school. The vote will be the first time the district has held a referendum on consolidating high schools in more than a decade. The current high school consolidations plan has been approved by the board of directors of the district, but has not yet been voted on by the public. The plan is expected to be voted on in the fall of 2021. The city is home to three regional colleges and universities.

Air Quality, Water Quality, Superfund Sites & UV Index

The Air Quality index is in La Crosse, La Crosse County, Wisconsin = 83. These Air Quality index is based on annual reports from the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The number of ozone alert days is used as an indicator of air quality, as are the amounts of seven pollutants including particulates, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and volatile organic chemicals. The Water Quality Index is 45. A measure of the quality of an area’s water supply as rated by the EPA. Higher values are better (100=best). The EPA has a complex method of measuring the watershed quality, using 15 indicators such as pollutants, turbidity, sediments, and toxic discharges. The Superfund Sites Index is 20. Higher is better (100=best). Based upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts. The UV Index in La Crosse = 3.3 and is a measure of an area's exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. This is most often a combination of sunny weather, altitude, and latitude. The UV Index has been defined by the WHO ( and is uniform worldwide.


The most recent city population of 52,680 individuals with a median age of 33.4 age the population dropped by -3.04% in La Crosse, La Crosse County, Wisconsin population since 2000 and are distributed over a density of 2,214.38 residents per square mile of area (911.34/km²). There are average 2.15 people per household in the 21,161 households with an average household income of $37,015 a year. The unemployment rate in Alabama is 7.00% of the available work force and has dropped -4.27% over the most recent 12-month period and the projected change in job supply over the next decade based on migration patterns, economic growth, and other factors will increase by 24.46%. The number of physicians in La Crosse per 100,000 population = 424.


The annual rainfall in La Crosse = 32.6 inches and the annual snowfall = 35.5 inches. The annual number of days with measurable precipitation (over .01 inch) = 100. The average number of days per year that are predominantly sunny = 190. 84 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily high temperature for the month of July and 6.5 degrees Fahrenheit is the average daily low temperature for the month of January. The Comfort Index (higher=better) is 47, where higher values mean a more pleasant climate. The Comfort Index measure recognizes that humidity by itself isn't the problem. (Have you noticed nobody ever complains about the weather being 'cold and humid?) It's in the summertime that we notice the humidity the most, when it's hot and muggy. Our Comfort Index uses a combination of afternoon summer temperature and humidity to closely predict the effect that the humidity will have on people.

Median Home Cost

The percentage of housing units in La Crosse, La Crosse County, Wisconsin which are owned by the occupant = 47.63%. A housing unit is a house, apartment, mobile home, or room occupied as separate living quarters. The average age of homes = 50 years with median home cost = $118,300 and home appreciation of 0.16%. This is the value of the years most recent home sales data. Its important to note that this is not the average (or arithmetic mean). The median home price is the middle value when you arrange all the sales prices of homes from lowest to highest. This is a better indicator than the average, because the median is not changed as much by a few unusually high or low values. The property tax rate of $20.56 shown here is the rate per $1,000 of home value. If for simplification for example the tax rate is $14.00 and the home value is $250,000, the property tax would be $14.00 x ($250,000/1000), or $3500. This is the 'effective' tax rate.


The local school district spends $7,140 per student. There are 13.5 students for each teacher in the school, 403 students for each Librarian and 380 students for each Counselor. 9.33% of the area’s population over the age of 25 with an Associate Degree or other 2-year college degree, 15.40% with a master’s degree, Ph.D. or other advanced college degree and 8.63% with high school diplomas or high school equivalency degrees (GEDs).

  • La Crosse's population in La Crosse County, Wisconsin of 28,895 residents in 1900 has increased 1,82-fold to 52,680 residents after 120 years, according to the official 2020 census.

    Approximately 52.43% female residents and 47.57% male residents live in La Crosse, La Crosse County, Wisconsin.

    As of 2020 in La Crosse, La Crosse County, Wisconsin are married and the remaining 59.08% are single population.

  • 17 minutes is the average time that residents in La Crosse require for a one-way commute to work. A long commute can have different effects on health. A Gallup poll in the US found that in terms of mental health, long haul commuters are up to 12 percent more likely to experience worry, and ten percent less likely to feel well rested. The Gallup poll also found that of people who commute 61­–90 minutes each day, a whopping one third complained of neck and back pain, compared to less than a quarter of people who only spend ten minutes getting to work.

    75.27% of the working population which commute to work alone in their car, 8.89% of the working population which commutes to work in a carpool, 2.35% of the population that commutes using mass transit, including bus, light rail, subway, and ferry. 2.33% of the population that has their home as their principal place of work.

  • Of the total residential buildings in La Crosse, La Crosse County, Wisconsin, 47.63% are owner-occupied homes, another 46.30% are rented apartments, and the remaining 6.07% are vacant.

  • The 61.07% of the population in La Crosse, La Crosse County, Wisconsin who identify themselves as belonging to a religion are distributed among the following most diverse religions.

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