As early as 1839, Wisconsin attracted immigrants from Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, soon to be followed by large numbers of Germans and Irish. In 1850, the greatest number of foreign-born persons were English-speaking, but within a decade, the Germans had eclipsed them. Industrial development brought Belgians, Greeks, Hungarians, Lithuanians, Italians, and especially Poles, who continued to come steadily until the restriction of immigration in the early 1920s; in the 1930 census, Poles were the largest foreign-born group. In 2000, foreign-born residents numbered 193,751 (3.6% of the total).
Black Americans were in the region as early as 1822. Before World War I, however, there were no more than 3,000 blacks. Migration during and after that war brought the number to 10,739 by 1930; by 1990, blacks were the largest racial minority in the state, numbering 245,000 (5% of Wisconsin's population). As of 2000, the black population was 304,460, or 5.7% of the state total. Most black Wisconsinites live in Milwaukee, which was 37% black in 2000.
The Asian population in 2000 was 88,763. In that year Wisconsin had 33,791 Hmong (the nation's 3rd-largest Hmong community), 11,184 Chinese, 6,800 Koreans, 5,158 Filipinos, and 4,469 Laotians. Pacific Islanders numbered 1,630. As of 2000, there were 192,921 Hispanics and Latinos (3.6% of the total population), of whom 126,719 were of Mexican ancestry and 30,267 of Puerto Rican descent.
Wisconsin had an estimated 47,228 American Indians in 2000, up from 39,000 American Indians in 1990. The principal tribes are Oneida, Menominee, Ojibwa (Chippewa), and Winnebago. There were 11 reservations, the largest being that of the Menominee, which comprised Menominee County (345 sq mi, 896 sq km) and had a population of 3,225 in 2000. Indian reservations covered 634 sq mi (1,642 sq km).