Downtown Mercer in the census-designated place (CDP)
|Motto: Loon Capital of the World|
Location of Mercer, Wisconsin
|• Total||184.8 sq mi (478.5 km2)|
|• Land||168.0 sq mi (435.2 km2)|
|• Water||16.7 sq mi (43.3 km2)|
|Elevation||1,611 ft (491 m)|
|• Density||10.3/sq mi (4.0/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|Area code(s)||715 & 534|
|GNIS feature ID||1583700|
Mercer is a town in southern Iron County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 1,732 at the 2000 census. The census-designated place of Mercer and the unincorporated communities of Carter and Manitowish are located within the town.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 184.8 square miles (478.5 km²), of which 168.0 square miles (435.2 km²) is land and 16.7 square miles (43.3 km²) (9.05%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,732 people, 820 households, and 519 families residing in the town. The population density was 10.3 people per square mile (4.0/km²). There were 1,926 housing units at an average density of 11.5 per square mile (4.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 98.96% White, 0.12% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 0.17% from other races, and 0.40% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.69% of the population.
There were 820 households out of which 17.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.9% were married couples living together, 5.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.7% were non-families. 31.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.11 and the average family size was 2.63.
In the town the population was spread out with 16.7% under the age of 18, 3.6% from 18 to 24, 22.6% from 25 to 44, 31.5% from 45 to 64, and 25.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 50 years. For every 100 females there were 101.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.7 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $31,413, and the median income for a family was $39,402. Males had a median income of $29,911 versus $22,042 for females. The per capita income for the town was $19,087. About 8.7% of families and 13.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.7% of those under age 18 and 11.2% of those age 65 or over.
Like other towns in the region, Mercer is in a resort area that has a background in mining and logging.
Mercer's main industry is seasonal tourism, which is based on the large amount of undeveloped land and secluded waterways. Summer activities include boating, fishing, biking, hiking, and swimming. Summer tourism is often based on the Turtle-Flambeau Flowage and other bodies of water, such as Tank Lake (Grand Portage Lake), former home to weekly water ski shows and site of a public beach. Fishing and other water sports include water skiing and jet skiing. Autumn and winter recreation include snowmobiling, skiing, and hunting.
Mercer is home to the Mercer Area Historical Society housed in the former train station; it contains a small museum of local history. Other buildings include a jail, schoolhouse, barbershop, and a reconstructed caboose.