The 10 Best Madison Suburbs To Live In For 2022

We analyzed over 25 places around Madison to identify the most in demand places to live.

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Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2022. This is our ninth time ranking the best Madison suburbs.

Big city living isn't for everyone--but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.

There's the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There's traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing--pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you're looking at.

But that's where the suburbs come in--they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.

Of course, not all suburbs of Madison are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado...

Here are the 10 best suburbs to live around Madison for 2022:

  1. Cross Plains
  2. Mount Horeb
  3. Shorewood Hills
  4. Waunakee
  5. McFarland
  6. Cottage Grove
  7. Verona
  8. Oregon
  9. Sun Prairie
  10. Monona

What's the best suburb of Madison? Cross Plains ranks as the best suburb of Madison for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. If you happen to be a resident of Cross Plains, you're probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We'll tell you what makes each of these 10 Madison 'burbs better than the rest--but first, a bit about our methodology.

Note: This result may differ from our state wide data as we did not include commute times and crime for this analysis to allow for a larger selection of suburbs.

Feel free to check out some more reading about Wisconsin:

The 10 Best Madison Suburbs To Live For 2022

Cross Plains is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Madison area. We'll tell you the good about "Awesome Cross Plains."

Everyone here is rich; families average $87,125 a year, which is the 5th highest in the Madison region. And only 0.33% are out of work. Homes average more than $271,100 each.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,234
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $87,125
Unemployment Rate: 0.3%
Poverty Rate: 1.7%
More on Cross Plains: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Cross Plains, WI

Mount Horeb is the second best 'burb we looked at near Madison for 2022.

It ranks 9th for incomes in the area and only 0.96% of residents lack insurance, good for 3rd best.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,494
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Income: $81,297
Unemployment Rate: 1.1%
Poverty Rate: 3.7%
More on Mount Horeb: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Mount Horeb, WI

Here in Shorewood Hills, it's really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you'll see in the Madison metro area.

The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.

But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Shorewood Hills.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,085
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $136,750
Unemployment Rate: 2.1%
Poverty Rate: 4.2%
More on Shorewood Hills: Real Estate | Data

Waunakee ranks as the 4th best suburb of Madison for 2022.

You won't find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Waunakee and the schools are some of the best around.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,903
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Income: $114,983
Unemployment Rate: 1.6%
Poverty Rate: 5.0%
More on Waunakee: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Waunakee, WI

Coming in as the fifth best is McFarland.

McFarland gets kudos for having the 11th most expensive homes in the Madison area, where houses sell for an average of $260,800. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,845
Rank Last Year: 6 (Up 1)
Median Income: $82,583
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 2.0%
More on Mcfarland: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Mcfarland, WI

Cottage Grove is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here's why.

Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 2.84% which is 19th best in the area.

According to online reports, Cottage Grove is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Madison area, meaning you need to get in soon.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,086
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Median Income: $99,858
Unemployment Rate: 2.8%
Poverty Rate: 2.8%
More on Cottage Grove: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Cottage Grove, WI

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Verona.

Verona schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.

And, it's only 8.8 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,215
Rank Last Year: 8 (Up 1)
Median Income: $96,056
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Poverty Rate: 2.0%
More on Verona: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Verona, WI

Source: Public domain

Oregon is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.

A solid 3.97% of people lack insurance, good for 19th in the area.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,513
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 3)
Median Income: $86,039
Unemployment Rate: 1.9%
Poverty Rate: 6.7%
More on Oregon: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Oregon, WI

Is 'Everything Better In Sun Prairie?'


It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it's really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 33,954
Rank Last Year: 13 (Up 4)
Median Income: $79,566
Unemployment Rate: 1.5%
Poverty Rate: 6.5%
More on Sun Prairie: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Sun Prairie, WI

And rounding out the top ten for 2022 is Monona.

This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It's far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,141
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $76,719
Unemployment Rate: 1.6%
Poverty Rate: 6.1%
More on Monona: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Monona, WI

Methodology: How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Madison for 2022

Figuring out the best suburbs around Madison was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Low unemployment rate
  • High Median household incomes
  • Population density (lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • A lot of college educated people
  • Low poverty
  • High rate of insured families

Then we used the newest American Community Survey data for 2016-2020 to research each suburb.

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Madison.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 26 suburbs to evaluate around Madison.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 26 in each category, where 1 was the "best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the "Best Suburb near Madison." We're lookin' at you, Cross Plains. You can download the data here.

Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

Summary: Welcome to the Best Madison 'Burbs of 2022

We said it once and we'll say it again--life in the big city isn't for everyone. At least not all the time.

So if you're hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Madison, but don't want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.

For more Wisconsin reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Madison Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Cross Plains, WI 4,234 $87,125
2 Mount Horeb, WI 7,494 $81,297
3 Shorewood Hills, WI 2,085 $136,750
4 Waunakee, WI 13,903 $114,983
5 Mcfarland, WI 8,845 $82,583
6 Cottage Grove, WI 7,086 $99,858
7 Verona, WI 13,215 $96,056
8 Oregon, WI 10,513 $86,039
9 Sun Prairie, WI 33,954 $79,566
10 Monona, WI 8,141 $76,719
11 Lodi, WI 3,073 $76,250
12 Middleton, WI 19,764 $73,336
13 Deforest, WI 10,473 $84,282
14 Stoughton, WI 13,146 $65,878
15 Prairie Du Sac, WI 4,397 $57,485
16 Evansville, WI 5,374 $70,216
17 Poynette, WI 2,507 $72,375
18 Deerfield, WI 2,553 $74,750
19 Belleville, WI 2,682 $75,735
20 Lake Mills, WI 5,936 $69,571
21 Fitchburg, WI 30,032 $76,240
22 Columbus, WI 5,076 $65,029
23 New Glarus, WI 2,074 $71,250
24 Edgerton, WI 5,594 $65,183
25 Waterloo, WI 3,334 $50,588
26 Marshall, WI 3,975 $67,500

How Is Your Town In ?

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.