When most people think of calling it quits on a career, they immediately think of a move to Florida.
But not everyone wants to spend their golden years in Florida; some of us want to stay close to friends and family and within the great state of Wisconsin.
But where exactly in Wisconsin? Well, there’s only one place to go for the answer — data.
To that end, we have tried to identify the places in Wisconsin that are safe, affordable, and have plenty of things to keep you busy well into retirement.
What did we find after pouring through all the data? Let’s just say we hope folks in Two Rivers don’t mind us spreading the word.
Here are our top ten places in the Badger State to retire for 2018:
- Two Rivers (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Cedarburg (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Mequon (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Cudahy (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Manitowoc (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Marinette (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Monroe (Homes For Sale)
- Kaukauna (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Waupun (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Chippewa Falls (Photos | Homes For Sale)
How We Determined The Best Places To Retire In the Badger State
To create our list of the best places in Wisconsin to retire, we first used Census data to find all places in the Badger State with a population of at least 5,000 that aren’t townships.
This left us with 75 places from across the state.
For these 75, we looked at the following criteria taken from the Census, the FBI’s Crime Report, National Weather Service, and OpenFlights:
- Low cost of living as measured by rent
- Low crime
- Things to do (Museums, Colleges, and Libraries in town)
- Nice weather
- Distance to the closest international airport
- Other retirees (High median age)
We then ranked each of these places for each criteria from one to 75, with the lowest number being the best.
Finally, we took the average rank across these criteria. The place, in this case Two Rivers, with the lowest average rank was crowned the best of the best, a place for you to start your second careers.
1. Two Rivers
Population: 11,409Median Rent: $630
Distance to Closest Airport: 35 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,849
More on Two Rivers: Homes For Sale | Data
A post office called Two Rivers has been in operation since 1848. The city was named from its location at the confluence of the Mishicott and Neshota rivers, now known as the East Twin and West Twin Rivers, respectively.
Population: 11,516Median Rent: $833
Distance to Closest Airport: 24 miles
Crime Per 100k: 720
More on Cedarburg: Homes For Sale | Data
The first person to settle in the area was Joseph Gardenier, who built a log shanty on Cedar Creek, in what is now Hamilton. The shanty was his headquarters for surveying for the construction of the Green Bay Road. William Ludwig Groth (Ludwig Groth) is usually credited with being the first settler. He purchased land from the government on October 22, 1842, and began platting the banks of Cedar Creek. Frederick August Leuning, who immigrated to the area in 1843, built a cabin near Cedar Creek on what was later the east end of the city. He called the cabin ‘Cedarburg’, which meant ‘the castle of cedars’. Soon afterwards, he built the Columbia Mill on that site. In December 1844 it was agreed that the town be named Cedarburg. Groth envisioned a village along Cedar Creek and parceled out his land for those who would in the future build businesses and settle permanently. Groth eventually included all of north Cedarburg, everything above the interurban tracks to Bridge St. and from 3rd St. to Jefferson Ave. His untimely death in 1850 kept him from continuing land developments.
Population: 23,663Median Rent: $1,320
Distance to Closest Airport: 19 miles
Crime Per 100k: 857
More on Mequon: Homes For Sale | Data
The area was originally inhabited by Native Americans; by the early 19th century, the Potawatomi occupied land west of the Milwaukee River, while the Menominee lived between the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan. European trappers, explorers and traders used the Milwaukee River through the middle of what is now Mequon as a means of transportation. The name ‘Mequon’ is thought to have come from the Native-American word ‘Emikwaan’ or ‘Miguan,’ meaning ladle, referring to the shape of the river in the area. The spelling was probably influenced by the French in the area at the time.
Population: 18,321Median Rent: $769
Distance to Closest Airport: 1 miles
Crime Per 100k: 2,057
More on Cudahy: Homes For Sale | Data
Originally known as the Buckhorn Settlement, it was renamed in the late 1800s when Patrick Cudahy purchased 700 acres (280 ha) of land in the Town of Lake, two miles (three kilometers) from the Milwaukee city limits, to build his meatpacking plant. The first village president was elected in 1895, and by 1906 Cudahy was incorporated as a city with a population of 2,556.
Population: 33,183Median Rent: $634
Distance to Closest Airport: 34 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,113
More on Manitowoc: Homes For Sale | Data
Purported to mean dwelling of the great spirit, Manitowoc derived its name from either the Anishinaabe language word manidoowaak(wag), meaning spirit-spawn(s), or manidoowaak(oog), meaning spirit-wood(s). In 1838, an act of the Territorial Legislature separated Manitowoc County from Brown County, keeping the native name for the region.
Population: 10,836Median Rent: $684
Distance to Closest Airport: 48 miles
Crime Per 100k: 3,313
More on Marinette: Homes For Sale | Data
The site of Marinette was first settled by a small Algonquin band of Menominee people, referred to by the neighboring Ojibwe as ‘the wild rice people’ for their staple crop. The band consisted of 40 to 80 men and their families. They lived at the mouth of the Menominee River in the 17th and 18th centuries, which, according to their creation story, was the tribe’s place of origin.
Population: 15,791Median Rent: $787
Distance to Closest Airport: 15 miles
Crime Per 100k: 880
More on Kaukauna: Homes For Sale | Data
Kaukauna is a Native American word and in various dialects means ‘portage’, ‘long portage’, ‘place where pickerel are caught’, and ‘place of pike’. Prior to 1880, and shortly afterwards, Kaukauna was known as ‘The Lion on the Fox’. This nickname was changed to ‘The Electric City’ upon the completion of the hydroelectric plant. When the city was incorporated in 1885, it was separated from the adjacent rural parts of the town. The first recorded land deed in Wisconsin was assigned to Dominique Ducharme in 1793. He obtained 1,281 acres (518 ha) from the Menominee Indians for two barrels of rum and other gifts. These acres are the original site of the town of Kaukauna. The property was purchased by Charles A. Grignon (and recorded Dec. 18, 1828), who built a mansion on the river on Kaukauna’s north side. The home, which bears Grignon’s name, is operated as a museum by the Outagamie County Historical Society.
Population: 11,337Median Rent: $681
Distance to Closest Airport: 63 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,120
More on Waupun: Homes For Sale | Data
Waupun comes from the Ojibwe word ‘Waubun’ which means ‘dawn of day.’ In fact Waupun was originally supposed to be named ‘Waubun’ but the State of Wisconsin made a spelling error, and Waupun never bothered to change it.
10. Chippewa Falls
Population: 13,939Median Rent: $697
Distance to Closest Airport: 89 miles
Crime Per 100k: 1,406
More on Chippewa Falls: Homes For Sale | Data
Chippewa Falls was originally a lumber town that became a railroad town, even though the main railroad line of the 1870s went through Eau Claire, about 10 miles to the south. In 1870, the West Wisconsin Railway built a line from St. Paul, Minnesota, to Milwaukee through the area at Eau Claire. Following this, the Eau Claire and Chippewa Falls Railway established a line running from Eau Claire to Chippewa Falls. In 1880, the CF&W was joined by the Wisconsin and Minnesota Railway pushing its way west from Abbotsford. This was followed in 1881 by the Chippewa Falls & Northern Railroad, which built a line north from Chippewa Falls to Bloomer, eventually being extended to Superior.
Maybe You’re Not Ready To Retire Yet…
So there you have it, the best place to retire in Wisconsin goes to Two Rivers.
If you’re not ready to hang up your office apparel yet, then these places might be up your alley:
- Eau Claire
- La Crosse
For more Wisconsin reading , check out:
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Wisconsin
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Wisconsin
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Wisconsin
Detailed List Of Best Places To Retire In Wisconsin
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