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Everyone wants a home that mixes affordability with comfort and Wisconsin does this very well. Families love the Badger State's beaches, midlands, and mountains as tourists before moving here and calling it home.
But before you decide to relocate, you have to do some research into the exact cost of living around the state -- and that's how we're going to help you.
These are the places in Wisconsin that cost a pretty penny -- the most expensive cities in the state.
After we saved up for months and could finally afford it, we landed on this list of the ten most expensive cities in Wisconsin for 2020.
So where is the most expensive place to live in Wisconsin? That would be Madison.
the 2014-2018 American Community Survey for the 141 places in Wisconsin with more than 5,000 people.
What's the most expensive place to live in Wisconsin? Well, HomeSnacks crunched the numbers and discovered that Madison is the most expensive place to live in Wisconsin.
So hopefully Merrill (the cheapest place to live in Wisconsin) can show these guys how to live on a budget in the coming years. Read on for how these places had costs rise faster than inflation.
And if you already knew these places were expensive, check out some more reading about Wisconsin and the most expensive cities in the country:
The 10 Most Expensive Places To Live In Wisconsin For 2020
Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the seat of Dane County. As of July 1, 2016, Madison's estimated population of 252,551 made it the second-largest city in Wisconsin, after Milwaukee, and the 82nd-largest in the United States. The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Dane County and neighboring Iowa, Green, and Columbia counties. The Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area's 2010 population was 568,593.
The median income in Madison comes in at $62,906 and the median home value is $234,100 for 2020.
Lake Geneva is a city in Walworth County, Wisconsin, USA. The population was 7,651 at the 2010 census. A resort city located on Geneva Lake, it is popular with vacationers from Chicago and Milwaukee areas.
The median income in Lake Geneva comes in at $49,580 and the median home value is $180,900 for 2020.
Whitewater is a city in Walworth and Jefferson counties in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. Located near the southern portion of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, Whitewater is the home of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 14,390. Of this, 11,150 were in Walworth County, and 3,240 were in Jefferson County.
The median income in Whitewater comes in at $34,563 and the median home value is $164,500 for 2020.
Hudson is a city in St. Croix County, Wisconsin, United States. As of the 2010 United States census, its population was 12,719. It is part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Statistical Area. The village of North Hudson is directly to the north of Hudson.
The median income in Hudson comes in at $72,181 and the median home value is $240,300 for 2020.
Fitchburg is a city in Dane County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 25,260 at the 2010 census. Fitchburg is a suburb of Madison and is part of the Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area. Fitchburg consists of a mix of suburban neighborhoods closer the border with the city of Madison, commercial and industrial properties, and more rural properties in the southern portion of the city. Despite its status as an incorporated city, some rural parts of Fitchburg still lack certain municipal services such as sewer, water, and natural gas.
The median income in Fitchburg comes in at $69,338 and the median home value is $306,400 for 2020.
Middleton is a city in Dane County, Wisconsin, United States, and a suburb of the state capital, Madison. Middleton's motto is "The Good Neighbor City." The population was 17,442 at the 2010 census.
The median income in Middleton comes in at $74,141 and the median home value is $326,100 for 2020.
Pewaukee is a city in Waukesha County, Wisconsin. The population was 13,195 at the 2010 census. The Village of Pewaukee, which was incorporated out of the town before it incorporated as a city, is surrounded by the city.
The median income in Pewaukee comes in at $59,203 and the median home value is $197,900 for 2020.
Shorewood is a village in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 13,162 at the 2010 census. Howell Raines of The New York Times said in 1979 that "his maple-studded town on Lake Michigan dotes on its reputation as Milwaukee's most liberal suburb."
The median income in Shorewood comes in at $72,903 and the median home value is $334,700 for 2020.
Platteville is the largest city in Grant County in southwestern Wisconsin. The population was 11,224 at the 2010 census, growing 12% since the 2000 Census. Much of this growth is likely due to the enrollment increase of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. It is the principal city of the Platteville Micropolitan Statistical area which has an estimated population of 49,681.
The median income in Platteville comes in at $43,495 and the median home value is $154,300 for 2020.
Delafield is a city in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, along the Bark River, and a suburb of Milwaukee. The population was 7,085 at the 2010 census.
The median income in Delafield comes in at $86,014 and the median home value is $375,900 for 2020.
How We Determined The Most Expensive Places To Live In The Badger State For 2020
The two most important things to think about when it comes to being able to afford if you can live comes down to:
- How much do money do I make?
- How much do I have spend to live there?
You need to understand your costs in the context of how much money you make.
For example, if the median household earns $100,000 and spends $40,000 on housing it's actually cheaper to live there than a place with a median income of $50,000 and housing costs of $21,000. You might spend more on housing, but you have more money overall to play with.
With that example in mind, we derived several statistics from the latest Census American Community Survey 2014-2018 around incomes and costs. They are:
- Median Home Price / Median Income (lower is better)
- Median Income / Median Rent (Higher is better)
- Median Home Price
We added simply median home price because high home prices generally correlate with higher expenses for all costs related to homes (heating, electricity, etc).
You can then compare these metrics in each of the places in Wisconsin to figure out which is the most expensive.
What you are left with is a "Cost of Living Index" by taking the average rank of each of these metrics for each city.
So we used that cost of living index in order to rank all of the 141 places in Wisconsin that have more than 5,000 people.
The place with the highest cost of living in Wisconsin according to the data is Madison. You can download the data here.
Taking A Chunk Out Of Your Paycheck In Wisconsin For 2020
Well there you have it, the places in Wisconsin that have the highest cost of living, with Madison ranking as the most expensive city in the Badger State.
Here's a look at the most affordable cities in Wisconsin according to the data:
- Richland Center
For more Wisconsin reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Wisconsin
- These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Wisconsin
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Wisconsin
- 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Wisconsin
- These Are The 10 Best Places To Retire In Wisconsin
- These Are The 10 Richest Cities In Wisconsin
- 10 Safest Places In Wisconsin
Detailed List Of The Most Expensive Cities In Wisconsin