Where are the best places in the state of Wisconsin?
To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Badger State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.
However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in Wisconsin.
There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.
After analyzing 141 places in Wisconsin, we came up with this list of the best places:
- Fox Point (Photos)
- Whitefish Bay (Photos)
- Elm Grove (Photos)
- Waunakee (Photos)
- Mcfarland (Photos)
- Mequon (Photos)
- Cedarburg (Photos)
- Verona (Photos)
- Oregon (Photos)
- Middleton (Photos)
Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best 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 390 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’.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Place 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
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
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.
1. Fox Point
Population: 6,695 Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 3)
Home Values: $309,000 (5th best)
Unemployment Rate: 1.5% (1st best)
Let’s just put this to rest right now. No matter how passionate you are about where you live in Wisconsin, Fox Point is by far the best place to live. At least according to science.
The residents of Fox Point are some of the wealthiest, most employed, and just about safest of anyone in the state. Plus, their kids go to some of the best-funded schools.
You know what they say: Money doesn’t buy happiness. But, in this case, it buys safety and peace of mind.
If you live here, you probably won’t brag about this ranking because you want to keep Fox Point a secret.
2. Whitefish Bay
Population: 14,088 Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 1)
Home Values: $350,700 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.2% (23rd best)
Known for its low unemployment rates and great education, Whitefish Bay is a wonderful place to live in this state.
The relatively stable household incomes and below average crime rates don’t hurt either!
While it may not be as great as some other places on this list, Whitefish Bay still holds its own in in Wisconsin.
3. Elm Grove
Population: 6,085 Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Home Values: $355,000 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.5% (5th best)
The crime is the 30th lowest in the state in Elm Grove, and there were only 1 violent crimes in the entire city last year. We think it’s even safer here than the numbers indicate.
The schools are some of the best in Wisconsin, and residents live in very expensive homes. They also earn more than most every other city in the state. Residents in Elm Grove earn $119,512 a year.
Population: 13,092Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 1)
Home Values: $300,600 (7th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (33rd best)
Waunakee 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 $300,600 and households earn a median salary of $93,132. One could get used to that.
Population: 8,168 Rank Last Year: 18 (Up 13)
Home Values: $243,000 (18th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.0% (15th best)
Well, I guess technically 3.0% of Mcfarland residents who want to have a job can’t find one, so not everyone has a job, but it’s the 16th closest of any city in Wisconsin.
You can tell they take business seriously as they have by far the coolest Chamber of Commerce website we came across in our research.
In addition to its incredibly low unemployment rate, Mcfarland also ranked well for crime (26th) and median income ($78,009).
Population: 23,663Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 2)
Home Values: $354,300 (2nd best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (14th best)
The Mequon has the 14th 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 Mequon is higher than the national average and households make $104,691 per year.
We’d move to Mequon if we could in a heart beat.
Population: 11,516Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Home Values: $258,200 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (53rd best)
Let’s take a look at why Cedarburg is a great place to call home for 2018.
There’s low crime in Cedarburg, and the residents here are gainfully employed (4.3% unemployment rate).
You can make Cedarburg your home for only $258,200 which won’t be too hard on a $79,266 household salary.
Population: 12,113Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 2)
Home Values: $273,200 (12th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (12th best)
Verona is by far one of the best places to live in Wisconsin: the math proves it! This city has the 12th lowest unemployment rate and the 8th highest median income in all of Wisconsin.
\nPlus, the median home values are the 12th highest in the state. And if all of that isn’t enough to convince you, then check this out: their crime rate is the 41st lowest in the state, making Verona a safe and great place to live.
Population: 9,912Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 4)
Home Values: $226,900 (25th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (28th best)
Oregon’s unemployment rates are some of the lowest in the state and the median income is the 18th highest, making Oregon a great place to work and settle down if you’re look for a stable job with a stable income.
Additionally, Oregon has above average education and low crime, making this place a safe place to live.
Population: 18,707Rank Last Year: 15 (Up 5)
Home Values: $293,100 (9th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.9% (69th best)
Middleton has a strong showing in our best places to live in Wisconsin analysis, coming it at 10th 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, Middleton is a great option.
Wrapping Up The Best Of The Best 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 2018.
Best Towns To Live In Wisconsin
- Shorewood Hills (Pop. 1,996)
- Maple Bluff (Pop. 1,452)
- Howards Grove (Pop. 3,247)
- Bayside (Pop. 4,428)
- Combined Locks (Pop. 3,486)
- Prairie du Sac (Pop. 4,218)
- Merton (Pop. 3,535)
- Cross Plains (Pop. 3,914)
- Wind Point (Pop. 1,785)
- Kohler (Pop. 2,363)
Best Small Towns To Live In Wisconsin
- Park Ridge (Pop. 619)
- Hewitt (Pop. 792)
- Brownsville (Pop. 585)
- North Bay (Pop. 207)
- Dale (Pop. 523)
- Butte des Morts (Pop. 938)
- Gibbsville (Pop. 473)
- Dyckesville (Pop. 510)
- Lake Sherwood (Pop. 315)
- Ephraim (Pop. 266)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Wisconsin:
- Beloit (Pop. 36,812)
- Milwaukee (Pop. 598,672)
- Antigo (Pop. 7,930)
For more Wisconsin reading , check out:
- Americans Try To Pronounce Wisconsin City Names For The First Time.
- These Are The 10 Wisconsin Cities With The Most Ashley Madison Accounts
- These Are The 10 Most Ghetto Cities In Wisconsin
Detailed List Of The Best Cities In Wisconsin
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