Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Wisconsin vs. Minnesota: The Showdown

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UW Stout chapter.

Here in Menom, we have a wide variety of people: Minnesotans and Wisconsinites. The ever-lasting competition between the two states is more than just sports. It’s food, culture, people and so much more. Her Campus dives deep into the differences of the two states and is letting our readers decide which state will take home gold.

I’ll start with the demographics. Wisconsin has over 5.7 million people whereas Minnesota has a little over 5.4 million (both as of 2013). Both states have 50% males and females and a majority Caucasian population. Wisconsin has a slightly higher African American population while Minnesota has a slightly higher Asian population. Wisconsin is a little over 54,000 square miles while Minnesota is over 79,000.

Wisconsin’s largest city, Milwaukee, has almost 599,000 people as of 2012. About 45% are Caucasian, 40% of are African American, about 17% are Hispanic/Latino and only about 3% are of Asian decent. Minnesota’s largest city, Minneapolis has about 393,000 people. 63% are Caucasian, 18% are African American, 10% are Hispanic/Latino and about 6% are Asian.

The next very distinct difference between the two states is the sports. Wisconsin has 13-time Super Bowl winners, the Green Bay Packers, 4-time National and American League champions, the Milwaukee Brewers, and 3-time Rose Bowl champs, the Wisconsin Badgers. While this lengthy list of champions goes on, Minnesota also has a decent list of champions. Though the Minnesota Vikings have not been as lucky as the Packers with four appearances yet four losses at the Super Bowl, the Minnesota Twins have won two World Series championships. Also, the U of M has won one Rose Bowl.

Another very clear difference is the culture. Wisconsin is known for having a lot of country-esque cultures. The state, known as the Dairy State has about 76,800 farms as of 2012. Wisconsin is also known for its drinking culture. In 2010, 66% of adults 18 & older admitted to drinking alcohol. The national average for the same time was only 54%.

Minnesota is known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The state has 11,842 lakes, including its portion of Lake Superior that takes up 962,700 acres. But, the way Minnesota deciphers its lakes is very specific. They only count lakes that are 10+ acres and named! There is much debate and competition over the fact that Wisconsin has more than lakes. Wisconsin has 15,074 documented lakes but only about 40% of them have been named and they range in size from 1 acre to 137,000 acres and a few feet deep to 350 feet deep.

Let’s talk crime, because that’s always interesting! The prison population in Wisconsin is more than double that of Minnesota! Wisconsin has 21,110 prisoners while Minnesota has 9986. Makes sense when one of the country’s most infamous and heinous serial killers, Jeffery Dahmer was from Wisconsin! Though with those numbers, one would expect a higher crime rate in Wisconsin, right? Wrong! Wisconsin has a 3.03% crime rate whereas Minnesota has a 3.11% crime rate (as of 2008)! Also, it costs more in Minnesota to send someone to jail. It costs $32,573 per inmate in MN and $31,806 per inmate in WI.

According to a study done by Marquette University Law School, Minnesota also has many more people under criminal justice supervision than Wisconsin because MN keeps the offenders in the community while Wisconsin sends them to prison.

Now onto the fun stuff.

Wisconsin calls it a bubbler and Minnesota calls it a water or drinking fountain.

Wisconsin says soda; Minnesota says pop.

Wisconsin calls it a casserole; Minnesota calls it a hot dish.

Wisconsin has been considered by politicians and professionals as very Republican and conservative and Minnesota, Democratic.

Wisconsin is known for drinking, Minnesota is known for their Canadian accent…and lakes, eh?

Wisconsin says “duck duck goose” and Minnesota says “duck duck grey duck.”

Liquor stores are open on Sundays in Wisconsin, but not in Minnesota.

According to many, Minnesota is more socially and racially integrated

Wisconsin has taxes on clothes but not food and MN has tax on food not clothes.

Wisconsin has Harley Davidson & Kohl’s, but Minnesota has Target & Best Buy.

Minnesota doesn’t have fish frys except during Lent; in Wisconsin, it’s a Friday tradition!

Minnesota highways have minimum speed limits and Wisconsin doesn’t.


Got some that I missed? Comment below!

Want to vote on your favorite state and determine who wins? Click here to take this week’s poll!

Laura (Lo), originally from Milwaukee, WI, is an alumni of Her Campus and the University of Wisconsin - Stout. She majored in Professional Communication & Emerging Media and Strategic Communication. Lo was involved with Her Campus as a High School Journalism & Publicity Ambassador, Chapter Advisor and Campus Correspondent for HC UW-Stout. Laura is currently a Social Media Specialist for Fence Talk Digital and does freelance writing occasionally. Feel free to follow her on Twitter or add her on LinkedIn.