Life ReportThe "LIFE in Marathon County" provides a wide spectrum of information and data depicting the quality of life in Wausau and Marathon County.  Its purpose is to provide a reference for the community to evaluate strengths and weaknesses and identify priority issues.

The report, which is published every two years, serves as a tracking vehicle to show how the community has changed over time. The LIFE Steering Committee hopes this report will not only serve as a reference but also as a starting point for community action on the key Calls to Action.

The LIFE Report project is guided by the LIFE Project Steering Committee and made possible through the support of community sponsors.

  • Visit the LIFE Report web site to read the full report, watch videos, and learn more.


Located at the crossroads of Highways 29 and 51/I39 in north central Wisconsin, Marathon County is a beautiful area with an abundance of natural beauty blended with a vibrant urban center.  

Marathon County, geographically, is the largest county in the State of Wisconsin with an area of 1,584 square miles.  We continue to attract people to our community with our population growing from 126,031 in 2000 to 134,063 in 2010. 

Marathon County offers great variety to those who want to live, work or just visit.  We are a very safe community with our crime rates well below the state and national averages in our metro and non-metro areas.  

We are the center for provision of legal, financial, retail, advertising and health care services for the Central Wisconsin region.  In addition to a strong advanced metal manufacturing base, we also boast a growing primary and acute health care industry with three major health care systems located here.  Marathon County has a highly skilled workforce that is well known for its work ethic.  Our elementary and high school educational systems are known for their high academic standards.  For those seeking to further their education, there are many public and private options to obtain an Associate's degree through a Masters' level education.  The access to high speed internet continues to grow with the highest connectivity found in our more urban communities.

For those seeking a less metropolitan experience, Marathon also has several smaller communities spread throughout the county as well rural residences and farms.  Marathon County continues to be ranked number one in dairy production among Wisconsin's counties.  We are home to the Agriculture Center for Excellence, a joint educational effort between North Central Technical College and UW-River Falls to prepare the next generation of agricultural producers.  You will find community supported agriculture farms, a strong locally grown effort including a grocery in downtown Wausau and many farmer's markets which feature organic and locally grown food.

Marathon County offers an abundance of recreational and cultural opportunities.  The Grand Theater (Wausau) and Lucille Tack Center (Spencer) bring high quality theatrical and musical events to the area that one would expect to find only in Milwaukee, Madison, or the Twin Cities.  There is a thriving art community and we are proud to be home to the annual Leigh Yawkey Art Museum's Birds in Art show (an internationally juried exhibit).

For outdoor enthusiasts, our changing seasons provides ideal recreational opportunities the year round.  Granite Peak Ski Resort offers slopes for novice, intermediate and expert downhill skiers as well snowboarders.  We have 48 miles of cross country ski trails including Nine Mile County Forest Recreation Area.  In addition to skiing, Marathon County is know for ice hockey, ice fishing, curling, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling.  In spring fishing enthusiasts turn to trout waters in the Plover and Prairie Rivers.  There is an abundance of hunting opportunities throughout the county.  Our 18 county parks offer swimming, boat landings, picnic areas, hiking and nature trails; camping, a shooting range and two indoor ice arenas.  The Mountain Bay State Park Trail offers 18 miles of hiking and biking trails in the summer and snowmobiling in the winter through the county's countryside.  Come enjoy Wisconsin Central Time!!


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