Milwaukee is the largest city in the state of Wisconsin and the fifth-largest city in the Midwestern United States. The seat of the eponymous county, it is on Lake Michigan's western shore. Ranked by its estimated 2014 population, Milwaukee was the 31st largest city in the United States. The city's estimated population in 2017 was 595,351. Milwaukee is the main cultural and economic center of the Milwaukee metropolitan area which had a population of 2,043,904 in the 2014 census estimate. It is the second-most densely populated metropolitan area in the Midwest, surpassed only by Chicago. Milwaukee is considered a Gamma global city as categorized by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network with a regional GDP of over $105 billion. The first Europeans to pass through the area were French Catholic Jesuit missionaries, who were ministering to Native Americans, and fur traders. In 1818, the French Canadian explorer Solomon Juneau settled in the area, and in 1846, Juneau's town combined with two neighboring towns to incorporate as the city of Milwaukee. Large numbers of German immigrants arrived during the late 1840s, after the German revolutions, with Poles and other eastern European immigrants arriving in the following decades. Milwaukee is known for its brewing traditions, begun with the German immigrants. Beginning in the early 21st century, the city has been undergoing its largest construction boom since the 1960s. Major new additions to the city in the past two decades include the Milwaukee Riverwalk, the Wisconsin Center, Miller Park, the Milwaukee Streetcar, an expansion to the Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, and Pier Wisconsin, as well as major renovations to the UW–Milwaukee Panther Arena. The Fiserv Forum opened in late 2018.
Milwaukee lies along the shores and bluffs of Lake Michigan at the confluence of three rivers: the Menomonee, the Kinnickinnic, and the Milwaukee. Smaller rivers, such as the Root River and Lincoln Creek, also flow through the city. Milwaukee's terrain is sculpted by the glacier path and includes steep bluffs along Lake Michigan that begin about a mile (1.6 km) north of downtown. In addition, 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Milwaukee is the Kettle Moraine and lake country that provides an industrial landscape combined with inland lakes.
About 30.5% of households in 2000 had children under the age of 18 living with them. 32.2% of households were married couples living together, 21.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.8% were non-families. 33.5% of all households were single individuals, and 9.5% had someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 people per household, with the average family size at 3.25 people per family.
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