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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...
What's the best suburb of Madison? Cross Plains ranks as the best suburb of Madison for 2021 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 2021
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 $84,861 a year, which is the 7th highest in the Madison region. And only 0.32% are out of work. Homes average more than $276,300 each.
Shorewood Hills is the second best 'burb we looked at near Madison for 2021.
It ranks 1st for incomes in the area and only 0.92% of residents lack insurance, good for 2nd best.
Here in Waunakee, 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 Waunakee.
Mount Horeb ranks as the 4th best suburb of Madison for 2021.
You won't find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Mount Horeb and the schools are some of the best around.
Coming in as the fifth best is Oregon.
Oregon gets kudos for having the 10th most expensive homes in the Madison area, where houses sell for an average of $256,500. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.
McFarland 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 3.1% which is 18th best in the area.
According to online reports, McFarland is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Madison area, meaning you need to get in soon.
The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Middleton.
Middleton 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 4.1 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.
Verona 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 3.52% of people lack insurance, good for 19th in the area.
Is 'Everything Better In Monona?'
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.
And rounding out the top ten for 2021 is Cottage Grove.
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.
How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Madison for 2021
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 2015-2019 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 25 suburbs to evaluate around Madison.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 25 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.
Welcome to the Best Madison 'Burbs of 2021
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
|1||Cross Plains, WI||4,187|
|2||Shorewood Hills, WI||2,277|
|4||Mount Horeb, WI||7,449|
|10||Cottage Grove, WI||7,020|
|13||Sun Prairie, WI||33,321|
|15||Prairie Du Sac, WI||4,347|
|20||Lake Mills, WI||5,895|