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

10
/10

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 is a cute little city where crime is far below the state average, and where it's affordable. The schools are also solidly rated.

Home prices clock in at $309,000 and households earn a median salary of $113,854. One could get used to that.

Whitefish Bay, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

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

Who wouldn't want to live in a place where there's low crime and everyone is rich? That's the case with Whitefish Bay.

Things are looking peachy keen here. The unemployment rate is the 24th lowest in Wisconsin and the median income comes in at $105,156.

This is the kind of place you brag to your friends on Facebook about.

Elm Grove, WI

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

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

We wouldn't be surprised to see CNN call Elm Grove one of the best places to live in the United States. Not only do the residents all make great livings, there's essentially no crime in the entire city. And the residents are very involved in the community.

They can't build homes fast enough here as it seems everyone wants a piece of Elm Grove.

Waunakee, WI

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

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

The crime rate is much lower here than in the rest of Wisconsin, as there were only 12 violent crimes in the city limits last year. The unemployment rate is the 34th lowest in Wisconsin (3.7%), and the public schools are ranked 3rd in the state in terms of spending per student.

Additionally, homes are the 7th most expensive in Waunakee ($300,600), meaning a lot of people want to live there.

Plus, the residents earn a really great salary: $93,132 a year.

Mcfarland, WI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

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

Mcfarland has a strong showing in our best places to live in Wisconsin analysis, coming it at 5th best.

It ranks highly like many others in the top ten for a low unemployment rate and high adjusted median income. It scored extra points relative to the top ten for its size and things to do.

If you're thinking of moving to Wisconsin, Mcfarland is a great option.

Mequon, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

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

Mequon is by far one of the best places to live in Wisconsin: the math proves it! This city has the 14th lowest unemployment rate and the 4th highest median income in all of Wisconsin.

Plus, the median home values are the 2nd highest in the state. And if all of that isn't enough to convince you, then check this out: their crime rate is the 14th lowest in the state, making Mequon a safe and great place to live.

Cedarburg, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

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 is feeling the love as it ranks as the 7th best city to live in Wisconsin for 2019.

It ranked highly because of its high incomes (15th overall) and low crime (10th overall and one of the best in the top ten).

We think the city should probably change its motto at this point to something like "The Place To Be In Wisconsin".

Verona, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

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

Verona's unemployment rates are some of the lowest in the state and the median income is the 8th highest, making Verona a great place to work and settle down if you're look for a stable job with a stable income.

Additionally, Verona has above average education and low crime, making this place a safe place to live.

Oregon, WI

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

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

Oregon is another great city in Wisconsin with a low unemployment rate and where residents earn high salaries.

Said one reviewer on City-Data.com: " We feel incredibly safe in Oregon. The houses and neighborhoods are beautiful, the people are friendly, and it's wonderful to have such good neighbors. People watch out for each other here, they teach their children to be respectful of others and things."

Enough said.

Middleton, WI

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

9.5
/10

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

Middleton makes a case for being one of the best places to live in Wisconsin mainly because of a low crime rate and a higher than average household income level.

And when school spending is higher than the national average and only 4.9% of folks are jobless, you can bet Middleton residents are glad to live where they do.

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.

3 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.

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