These Are The 10 Best Madison Suburbs For 2019

We analyzed over 25 places around Madison to identify the most in demand places to live.

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the best Madison suburbs.

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Big city living isn’t for everyone–but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.

There’s the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There’s traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing–pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you’re looking at.

But that’s where the suburbs come in–they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.

Of course, not all suburbs of Madison are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…

If you happen to be a resident of Shorewood Hills, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We’ll tell you what makes each of these 10 Madison ‘burbs better than the rest–but first, a bit about our methodology.

Or feel free to check out some more reading about Wisconsin:

Editor’s Note: If you see a slight difference between the best in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it’s because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.

How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Madison for 2019

Figuring out the best ‘burbs around Madison was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Low unemployment rate
  • High Median household incomes
  • Population density (lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • A lot of college educated people
  • Low poverty
  • High rate of insured families

Then we used the newest American Community Survey data (2013-2017) to research each suburb.

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Madison.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 26 suburbs to evaluate around Madison.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 26 in each category, where 1 was the “best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the “Best Suburb near Madison.” We’re lookin’ at you, Shorewood Hills.

Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,105
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $125,000
Unemployment Rate: 2.5%
Poverty Rate: 4.9%
More on Shorewood Hills: Real Estate | Data

Shorewood Hills is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Madison area. We’ll tell you the good about “Awesome Shorewood Hills.”

Everyone here is rich; families average $125,000 a year, which is the 1st highest in the Madison region. And only 2.5% are out of work. Homes average more than $627,300 each.

Waunakee, WI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,284
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $98,224
Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
Poverty Rate: 3.8%
More on Waunakee: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Waunakee is the second best ‘burb we looked at near Madison for 2019.

It ranks 2nd for incomes in the area and only 1.7% of residents lack insurance, good for 3rd best.

Oregon, WI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,033
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 3)
Median Income: $88,250
Unemployment Rate: 2.8%
Poverty Rate: 4.3%
More on Oregon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Here in Oregon, it’s really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you’ll see in the Madison metro area.

The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.

But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Oregon.

Mount Horeb, WI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,383
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Income: $71,660
Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
Poverty Rate: 3.7%
More on Mount Horeb: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Mount Horeb ranks as the 4th best suburb of Madison for 2019.

You won’t find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Mount Horeb and the schools are some of the best around.

Verona, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,465
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Income: $87,536
Unemployment Rate: 3.0%
Poverty Rate: 4.8%
More on Verona: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is Verona.

Verona gets kudos for having the 5th most expensive homes in the Madison area, where houses sell for an average of $285,100. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Cross Plains, WI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,992
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Income: $82,188
Unemployment Rate: 2.3%
Poverty Rate: 3.1%
More on Cross Plains: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Cross Plains is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here’s why.

Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 2.3% which is 5th best in the area.

According to online reports, Cross Plains is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Madison area, meaning you need to get in soon.

Mcfarland, WI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,235
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 3)
Median Income: $79,152
Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
Poverty Rate: 2.5%
More on Mcfarland: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to McFarland.

McFarland schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.

And, it’s only 8.5 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,663
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 1)
Median Income: $74,477
Unemployment Rate: 2.6%
Poverty Rate: 7.7%
More on Deforest: Real Estate | Data

DeForest is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.

A solid 2.7% of people lack insurance, good for 5th in the area.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,248
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $60,538
Unemployment Rate: 0.6%
Poverty Rate: 5.7%
More on Prairie Du Sac: Real Estate | Data

Is ‘Everything Better In Prairie du Sac?’


It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it’s really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.

Middleton, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 18,951
Rank Last Year: 10 (No Change)
Median Income: $70,105
Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
Poverty Rate: 7.9%
More on Middleton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten for 2019 is Middleton.

This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It’s far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.

Review Of Middleton by Viko

I live in Middleton. It’s probably among the top 10 best.

Welcome to the Best Madison ‘Burbs of 2019

We said it once and we’ll say it again–life in the big city isn’t for everyone. At least not all the time.

So if you’re hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Madison, but don’t want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.

For more Wisconsin reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Madison Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Shorewood Hills 2,105 $125,000
2 Waunakee 13,284 $98,224
3 Oregon 10,033 $88,250
4 Mount Horeb 7,383 $71,660
5 Verona 12,465 $87,536
6 Cross Plains 3,992 $82,188
7 Mcfarland 8,235 $79,152
8 Deforest 9,663 $74,477
9 Prairie Du Sac 4,248 $60,538
10 Middleton 18,951 $70,105
11 Lodi 3,052 $68,301
12 Cottage Grove 6,795 $91,698
13 Monona 7,989 $64,125
14 Belleville 2,314 $72,273
15 Deerfield 2,492 $75,625
16 Sun Prairie 32,112 $67,512
17 Poynette 2,394 $71,705
18 New Glarus 2,002 $59,223
19 Columbus 5,004 $59,824
20 Stoughton 13,058 $63,333
21 Evansville 5,222 $58,870
22 Lake Mills 5,816 $65,208
23 Edgerton 5,496 $52,075
24 Waterloo 3,345 $74,045
25 Fitchburg 27,914 $66,110
26 Marshall 3,977 $70,102

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.