Article Table Of Contents
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 ten best places in Wisconsin for 2020.
The competition to determine the best places in the Badger State for 2020 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.
The 10 Best Places To Live In Wisconsin For 2020:
- Whitefish Bay (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Fox Point (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Elm Grove (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Oregon (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Hartland (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Mequon (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- McFarland (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Waunakee (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Menomonee Falls (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- West Salem (Photos | Homes For Sale)
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, Whitefish Bay is the best place to live in wisconsin.
Take a look at the list below to see the cities that gave Whitefish Bay 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.
For more Wisconsin reading, check out:
- Best Counties To Live In Wisconsin
- Cheapest Places To Live In Wisconsin
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Wisconsin
The 10 Best Places To Live In Wisconsin For 2020
Whitefish Bay is by far one of the best places to live in Wisconsin: the math proves it! This city has the 18th lowest unemployment rate and the highest median income in all of Wisconsin.
Plus, the median home values are the 3rd highest in the state. And if all of that isn't enough to convince you, then check this out: their crime rate is the 53rd lowest in the state, making Whitefish Bay a safe and great place to live.
Taking a similar route to the top ten as many others on this list, Fox Point ranked highly for adjusted median income (2nd), crime (32nd), and unemployment (6th).
With a population of 6,688 it was one of the smaller in the top ten and its government website actually goes to pains to say that it's a "community though not a city".
But don't listen to what they say people of Fox Point, you can be anything you want.
The tiny town of Elm Grove 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, Elm Grove is a great central spot for making the most of life.
The crime rate is much lower here than in the rest of Wisconsin, as there were only 4 violent crimes in the city limits last year. The unemployment rate is the 32nd lowest in Wisconsin (2.6%), and the public schools are ranked 3rd in the state in terms of spending per student.
Additionally, homes are the 22nd most expensive in Oregon ($246,400), meaning a lot of people want to live there.
Plus, the residents earn a really great salary: $80,385 a year.
Hartland 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 Hartland. 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."
The Town of Mequon might be a bit of a surprise to some in terms of how well it ranks according to science.
The crime rate in Mequon isn't amazing, but it's far below the state average. The homes are valued at $391,700 here, and the schools get some of the most funding in Wisconsin.
If Mequon can get some more of their residents to work, things will look even rosier here. The unemployment rate (2.2%) is the 2highest in the state.
The Town of Mcfarland 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 Mcfarland ranks so high. First of all, the homes in Mcfarland are the 23rd most expensive in the state of Wisconsin, with the average home worth a whopping $245,500. 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 Mcfarland if they can afford it.
Other numbers that stand out: Mcfarland residents have the 12th highest income in the state, and the 29th lowest crime numbers in Wisconsin.
Waunakee 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.
Menomonee Falls has it made. In fact, according to science, it's one of the best places to live in the state of Wisconsin.
The unemployment rate is the 29th lowest in the state at 2.5%, and residents make a pretty penny. Median incomes are $79,367, and the average cost of a home is $241,700. Which is an indication that lots of people want to live here.
We wouldn't be surprised if more and more publications call Menomonee Falls one of America's gems.
Perhaps what makes West Salem so amazing is the high emphasis they put on quality education: they have one of the highest rate of education at attainment for adults.
However, quality education isn't all that makes West Salem great. They also have the 77th highest median income and the 38th shortest commute time.
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 252,086 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 139 cities, 241 towns, and 380 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Wisconsin 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 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 139, 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
After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Wisconsin? That would be Whitefish Bay.
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 Whitefish Bay 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.
Whitefish Bay made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Wisconsin for 2020.
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)
- Gibbsville (Pop. 473)
- Butte des Morts (Pop. 938)
- Dyckesville (Pop. 510)
- Lake Sherwood (Pop. 315)
- Ephraim (Pop. 266)
If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Wisconsin according to the data:
- Milwaukee (Pop. 596,886)
- Beloit (Pop. 36,813)
- Antigo (Pop. 7,799)
For more Wisconsin reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Wisconsin
- Richest Cities In Wisconsin
- Safest Places In Wisconsin
- Worst Places To Live In Wisconsin