The West Central Wisconsin region is composed of 9 counties: Barron, Chippewa, Clark, Dunn, Eau Claire, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix. The region covers over4.5 million acres, roughly 13 percent of the land surface in the state. Over 2.9 million acres are in farms and another 76,500 acres are under water. Four counties border Minnesota and two of them, Pierce and St. Croix, are part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
The regional economy ranges from food processing to electronics
manufacturing, from wholesale distribution to retail sales, from higher
education to health care. The turkey processing facility in Barron County is one
the region's largest employers. Electronics assembly plants in Eau Claire and
Chippewa counties are also on the list. A Wal-Mart distribution center is
located in Dunn County, while Menard's headquarters is in Eau Claire. Three
state universities are in the region, one in Eau Claire County, one in Dunn
County and another in Pierce County. The total number of payroll jobs ,with all
industries in the region in 20 was 178,035.
The estimated population from the 2010 census was 462,606, an increase of
11.4 percent since 2000. From 2010 to 2012 the population increased 0.3 percent to 464,194,
according to the Wisconsin Department of Administration's Demographic Services
group. All of the increase since 2010 has been due to natural increase, with net
migration actually indicating more people moving out of the area than into it, a
trend likely related to recessionary impacts.