10 Best Places To Live In Wisconsin For 2019

These are the cream of the crop in the Badger State.

Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2019. This is our fifth time ranking the best places to live in Wisconsin.

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Happy cows come from Wisconsin and so do some of America's best cities.

Hip millennial cities like Milwaukee, fun college cities like Madison, and sports crazy cities like Green Bay are not only some of Wisconsin's fastest growing cities, but they also lead the charge in making Wisconsin one of the fastest growing states in the country. And surprisingly folks, they did not make the top 10 best places in Wisconsin for 2019.

The competition to determine the best places in the Badger State for 2019 was fierce. Mostly because the entire state of Wisconsin has a lot to offer in terms of quaint cities that border its Great Lakes and cities that offer employment in one of its nine Fortune 500 companies. And it wouldn't be right if we didn't mention cheese. Yes, cheese. Wisconsinites know how to make a good cheese. So much that every city on our top ten list has at least one down home, country cheese store. (It probably should have been a 'best of the best' category.)

Wisconsin has so many great cities, that you could literally throw a dart at the state and live happily wherever it landed. So, you can understand how difficult it was to narrow down a list of the top ten best places. We invite you to grab yourself some string cheese, a Milwaukee's Best, find a shady spot by Lake Winnebago and read on as we uncover where you should live in Wisconsin.

What does the best city in "America's Dairyland" look like? Well, after crunching data from the US Census in terms of median home prices and unemployment rates for cities with over 5,000 residents, Fox Point is the best place to live in Wisconsin.

Take a look at the list below to see the cities that gave Fox Point a run for their money. And if you don't see your favorite Wisconsin city in the top ten, head to the bottom of the page.

If you're looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Wisconsin reading, check out:

The 10 Best Places To Live In Wisconsin For 2019

Fox Point, WI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,695
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $309,000 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.5% (1st best)
More on Fox Point: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Fox Point has a really low crime rate (12th lowest) and only 1.5% of the people are unemployed. Additionally, residents here have high paying jobs ($113,854). And that goes a long way.

The population is growing at a steady clip, and the cost of living is lower than it should be. So people have an extra incentive to live in Fox Point.

Whitefish Bay, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 14,088
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $350,700 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (24th best)
More on Whitefish Bay: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Whitefish Bay isn't just the nicest place to live in Wisconsin - it's also the one of the fastest growing places in the state. And with good reason.

It's got the 24th lowest unemployment rate, the 3rd highest adjusted income, and rates above most places in education.

When you're looking at science and data, Whitefish Bay definitely deserves a spot on the list for 2019.

Elm Grove, WI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 6,085
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $355,000 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.5% (6th best)
More on Elm Grove: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Elm Grove is just about as close to a perfect area as you can get. Residents here are gainfully employed, and the schools are some of the best in the state. It's safe, and residents get to enjoy the benefits of quality at home living.

It's quite a gem tucked away in Wisconsin.

Waunakee, WI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,092
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Median Home Value: $300,600 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (34th best)
More on Waunakee: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Waunakee is a short drive from everything, but who would want to leave the 4th best place in Wisconsin?

Homes are priced around $300,600 and residents have the 108th shortest commute in Wisconsin.

Mcfarland, WI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,168
Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 13)
Median Home Value: $243,000 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.0% (16th best)
More on Mcfarland: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Mcfarland has the 16th lowest unemployment rate in Wisconsin. The population growth here has been 8% over the last 15 years, meaning a lot of people want to live here. If they can afford it; the cost of living in Mcfarland is higher than the national average and households make $78,009 per year.

We'd move to Mcfarland if we could in a heart beat.

Mequon, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 23,663
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $354,300 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (14th best)
More on Mequon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

If you live in Mequon, you probably know how great it is already.

Mequon has a stable economy where residents earn a large salary ($104,691). And the crime is really, really low (14th lowest in Wisconsin).

If we could afford to move here, we probably would.

Cedarburg, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,516
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $258,200 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (53rd best)
More on Cedarburg: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Cedarburg has been called one of the best small towns in America. If you live here, you're most likely already aware of how great it is to live there.

Just about everyone who wants a job in Cedarburg has one; the unemployment rate is hovering at about 4.3% and lowering. And the Cedarburg police department is doing a solid job, as crime is the 10th lowest in the state here.

Who wouldn't want to live in a place like this?

Verona, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,113
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $273,200 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (12th best)
More on Verona: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Town of Verona consistently ranks as one of the best places to live. There aren't any surprises here. Which probably adds credibility to our data, right?

Let's see why Verona ranks so high. First of all, the homes in Verona are the 12th most expensive in the state of Wisconsin, with the average home worth a whopping $273,200. We're not elitists, nor are we saying that big homes means a better place to live. But price reflects demand, and simply put, a lot of people want to live in Verona if they can afford it.

Other numbers that stand out: Verona residents have the 8th highest income in the state, and the 41st lowest crime numbers in Wisconsin.

Oregon, WI

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,912
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $226,900 (25th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (28th best)
More on Oregon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The tiny town of Oregon may not remain tiny forever. The word has been out for a long, long time about how special this place is.

The residents are heavily involved in making their community even more awesome, and as many Wisconsin residents know, Oregon is a great central spot for making the most of life.

Middleton, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 18,707
Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $293,100 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (70th best)
More on Middleton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Crime is something that doesn't happen very often in Middleton. Statistically the 35th safest place in the state, there were only 8 violent crimes in the entire city last year.

It's really beautiful in Middleton, and new homes continue to replace older homes. Resident earn $67,729 a year, and homes are valued at more than $293,100.

What else could you possibly want if you're someone who likes the good things in life?

Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Wisconsin

The Pressing Question: Size

Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Madison with a population of 246,034 against places with a population of 18?

We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.

So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:

  • Cities -- Populations over 5,000
  • Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
  • Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000

This left us with 141 cities, 241 towns, and 380 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be 'the best'.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Wisconsin

Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.

We ranked each place in Wisconsin across a number of criteria from one to 141, with one being the best.

We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In Wisconsin".

The criteria we looked at were:

  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Population Density (Higher better)
  • Unemployment Rate
  • Commute Time
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data.

After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Wisconsin? That would be Fox Point.

If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Wisconsin.

Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Fox Point at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Wisconsin

If you're looking at areas in Wisconsin with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.

Fox Point made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Wisconsin for 2019.

Best Towns To Live In Wisconsin

  1. Shorewood Hills (Pop. 1,996)
  2. Maple Bluff (Pop. 1,452)
  3. Howards Grove (Pop. 3,247)
  4. Bayside (Pop. 4,428)
  5. Combined Locks (Pop. 3,486)
  6. Prairie du Sac (Pop. 4,218)
  7. Merton (Pop. 3,535)
  8. Cross Plains (Pop. 3,914)
  9. Wind Point (Pop. 1,785)
  10. Kohler (Pop. 2,363)

Best Small Towns To Live In Wisconsin

  1. Park Ridge (Pop. 619)
  2. Hewitt (Pop. 792)
  3. Brownsville (Pop. 585)
  4. North Bay (Pop. 207)
  5. Dale (Pop. 523)
  6. Gibbsville (Pop. 473)
  7. Butte des Morts (Pop. 938)
  8. Dyckesville (Pop. 510)
  9. Lake Sherwood (Pop. 315)
  10. Ephraim (Pop. 266)

If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Wisconsin according to the data:

  1. Antigo (Pop. 7,930)
  2. Milwaukee (Pop. 598,672)
  3. Beloit (Pop. 36,812)

For more Wisconsin reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places To Live In Wisconsin?

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Fox Point 6,695 1.5% $309,000
2 Whitefish Bay 14,088 3.2% $350,700
3 Elm Grove 6,085 2.5% $355,000
4 Waunakee 13,092 3.7% $300,600
5 Mcfarland 8,168 3.0% $243,000
6 Mequon 23,663 2.9% $354,300
7 Cedarburg 11,516 4.3% $258,200
8 Verona 12,113 2.8% $273,200
9 Oregon 9,912 3.5% $226,900
10 Middleton 18,707 4.9% $293,100

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.

4 thoughts on “10 Best Places To Live In Wisconsin For 2019

  1. Shawano is often thought of as a great place to visit. And it is a great place for vacation! But we think Shawano is a great place for families to live, too. There are many conveniences of larger cities, but with a small town feel.

  2. This is a crazy list. The median cost of living is far,far above the actual ability for 90% of WI citizens to support. Even entry level college edjucated individuals are earning less then half of the living cost in all of these areas. WI being mostly farming or production facilities, the average pay for the these individuals is less then $70000 a year. Placing all of these towns well above average affordability. For example…a civil court judge with a 4 year law school degree and atleast 10 years of experience may clear just over $250000 a year. This would be a example of just the top 2% of individual earnings withing WI. How does this list realistically represent the other 98% of citizens? Obviously the editor needs to go back to school. They got ripped off with the first school they attended.

  3. why is antigo the worst. curious…always use to say got go want ago to antigo by the time you say that your through antigo and past antigo.what so bad about that.

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