Best Milwaukee Suburbs To Live For 2020


We analyzed over 55 places around Milwaukee to identify the most in demand places to live.

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2020. This is our sixth time ranking the best Milwaukee 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 Milwaukee are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado...

What's the best suburb of Milwaukee? Whitefish Bay ranks as the best suburb of Milwaukee for 2020 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. If you happen to be a resident of Whitefish Bay, you're probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We'll tell you what makes each of these 10 Milwaukee 'burbs better than the rest--but first, a bit about our methodology.

Note: This result may differ from our state wide data as we did not include commute times and crime for this analysis to allow for a larger selection of suburbs.
Or feel free to check out some more reading about Wisconsin:

The 10 Best Milwaukee Suburbs To Live For 2020

Whitefish Bay, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 14,039
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $117,300
Unemployment Rate: 2.1%
Poverty Rate: 3.5%
More on Whitefish Bay: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Whitefish Bay is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Milwaukee area. We'll tell you the good about "Awesome Whitefish Bay."

Everyone here is rich; families average $117,300 a year, which is the 2nd highest in the Milwaukee region. And only 2.13% are out of work. Homes average more than $373,200 each.

Fox Point, WI

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 6,688
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Income: $116,438
Unemployment Rate: 1.5%
Poverty Rate: 3.7%
More on Fox Point: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fox Point is the second best 'burb we looked at near Milwaukee for 2020.

It ranks 3rd for incomes in the area and only 0.73% of residents lack insurance, good for 2nd best.

Elm Grove, WI

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 6,172
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Income: $115,972
Unemployment Rate: 1.8%
Poverty Rate: 3.5%
More on Elm Grove: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Here in Elm Grove, it's really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you'll see in the Milwaukee 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 Elm Grove.

Merton, WI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 3,632
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Income: $151,667
Unemployment Rate: 2.2%
Poverty Rate: 1.8%
More on Merton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Merton ranks as the 4th best suburb of Milwaukee for 2020.

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

Bayside, WI

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 4,529
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $101,250
Unemployment Rate: 2.2%
Poverty Rate: 5.0%
More on Bayside: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is Bayside.

Bayside gets kudos for having the 7th most expensive homes in the Milwaukee area, where houses sell for an average of $349,400. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Brookfield, WI

Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

Population: 38,151
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Income: $105,878
Unemployment Rate: 2.8%
Poverty Rate: 3.6%
More on Brookfield: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Brookfield 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 2.84% which is 23rd best in the area.

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

Mequon, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 23,984
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Income: $113,627
Unemployment Rate: 2.2%
Poverty Rate: 5.1%
More on Mequon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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

Mequon 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 10.6 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

North Prairie, WI

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 2,303
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Income: $103,875
Unemployment Rate: 1.6%
Poverty Rate: 3.9%
More on North Prairie: Real Estate | Data | Photos

North Prairie 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 1.17% of people lack insurance, good for 4th in the area.

Sussex, WI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 10,791
Rank Last Year: 9 (No Change)
Median Income: $86,048
Unemployment Rate: 2.1%
Poverty Rate: 5.8%
More on Sussex: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Is 'Everything Better In Sussex?'

Almost.

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.

Hartland, WI

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 9,260
Rank Last Year: 17 (Up 7)
Median Income: $82,756
Unemployment Rate: 1.2%
Poverty Rate: 3.0%
More on Hartland: Real Estate | Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten for 2020 is Hartland.

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.

How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Milwaukee for 2020

Figuring out the best suburbs around Milwaukee 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 for 2014-2018 to research each suburb.

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

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 58 suburbs to evaluate around Milwaukee.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 58 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 Milwaukee." We're lookin' at you, Whitefish Bay. You can download the data here.

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.

Welcome to the Best Milwaukee 'Burbs of 2020

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 Milwaukee, 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 Milwaukee Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Whitefish Bay, WI 14,039 $117,300
2 Fox Point, WI 6,688 $116,438
3 Elm Grove, WI 6,172 $115,972
4 Merton, WI 3,632 $151,667
5 Bayside, WI 4,529 $101,250
6 Brookfield, WI 38,151 $105,878
7 Mequon, WI 23,984 $113,627
8 North Prairie, WI 2,303 $103,875
9 Sussex, WI 10,791 $86,048
10 Hartland, WI 9,260 $82,756
11 Summit, WI 4,846 $109,844
12 Richfield, WI 11,623 $101,381
13 Wauwatosa, WI 47,882 $79,757
14 New Berlin, WI 39,774 $81,003
15 Waterford, WI 5,437 $80,653
16 Muskego, WI 24,868 $89,512
17 Menomonee Falls, WI 36,784 $79,367
18 Oconomowoc, WI 16,579 $78,144
19 Shorewood, WI 13,344 $72,903
20 Hales Corners, WI 7,666 $72,598
21 Cedarburg, WI 11,501 $85,077
22 Grafton, WI 11,627 $72,483
23 Glendale, WI 13,015 $73,945
24 Greendale, WI 14,245 $71,358
25 Thiensville, WI 3,182 $64,611
26 Delafield, WI 7,390 $86,014
27 Pewaukee, WI 8,207 $59,203
28 Pewaukee, WI 8,207 $59,203
29 Pewaukee, WI 8,207 $59,203
30 Pewaukee, WI 8,207 $59,203
31 Franklin, WI 36,185 $79,153
32 Mukwonago, WI 7,833 $78,349
33 Rochester, WI 3,784 $77,703
34 Wales, WI 2,564 $93,977
35 Slinger, WI 5,330 $75,227
36 Port Washington, WI 11,695 $66,829
37 Dousman, WI 2,411 $64,507
38 Fredonia, WI 2,395 $78,854
39 Jackson, WI 7,020 $69,756
40 Caledonia, WI 24,875 $80,128
41 East Troy, WI 4,330 $64,583
42 Oak Creek, WI 35,843 $72,705
43 Waukesha, WI 72,382 $62,016
44 West Bend, WI 31,649 $55,815
45 Mount Pleasant, WI 26,738 $68,689
46 Eagle, WI 2,069 $80,625
47 Brown Deer, WI 12,039 $61,616
48 Greenfield, WI 37,083 $57,147
49 Hartford, WI 14,761 $55,533
50 Saukville, WI 4,456 $51,271
51 Cudahy, WI 18,349 $52,594
52 West Allis, WI 60,250 $49,427
53 St. Francis, WI 9,509 $43,037
54 Sturtevant, WI 6,611 $67,212
55 South Milwaukee, WI 21,089 $52,048
56 Union Grove, WI 4,925 $66,880
57 Racine, WI 77,576 $42,767
58 West Milwaukee, WI 4,173 $38,235

How Is Your Town In ?

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.