The 10 Best Madison Suburbs To Live In For 2023

The best Madison suburbs are Cross Plains and Mount Horeb for 2023 based on Saturday Night Science.

While big cities like Madison offer culture, cuisine, and charisma, they also deliver terrible traffic, towering expenses, and a taxing quality of life.

With that in mind, we wanted to uncover the best suburbs around Madison. These burbs have all of the benefits of being near Madison without actually having to be in the city.

Of course, not all suburbs of Madison are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. Using Saturday Night Science, we delve into the factors that matter most, from commutes and housing costs to community vibes, to help you uncover the perfect suburban spots in the Greater Madison area.

Here are the 10 best suburbs to live around Madison for 2023:

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

What’s the best suburb of Madison? Cross Plains ranks as the best suburb of Madison for 2023 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.

Feel free to check out some more reading about Wisconsin:

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 Best Madison Suburbs To Live For 2023

Cross Plains, WI

Source: Wikipedia User Royalbroil | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,070
Median Income: $87,841
Unemployment Rate: 0.3%
Poverty Rate: 2.0%
More on Cross Plains: Data | Crime | Real Estate

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 $87,841 a year, which is the 7th highest in the Madison region. And only 0.34% are out of work. Homes average more than $283,100 each.

Mount Horeb, WI

Source: Wikipedia User Jaknelaps | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 7,727
Median Income: $84,259
Unemployment Rate: 0.9%
Poverty Rate: 3.0%
More on Mount Horeb: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Mount Horeb is the second best ‘burb we looked at near Madison for 2023.

It ranks 9th for incomes in the area and only 1.73% of residents lack insurance, good for 6th best.

Waunakee, WI

Source: Wikipedia User User:Royalbroil | CC BY-SA 2.5
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Population: 14,679
Median Income: $118,631
Unemployment Rate: 2.0%
Poverty Rate: 3.8%
More on Waunakee: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,015
Median Income: $128,672
Unemployment Rate: 2.3%
Poverty Rate: 6.2%
More on Shorewood Hills: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Shorewood Hills ranks as the 4th best suburb of Madison for 2023.

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

Cottage Grove, WI

Source: Wikipedia User Amy Palcic | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 7,255
Median Income: $118,433
Unemployment Rate: 2.4%
Poverty Rate: 1.4%
More on Cottage Grove: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Coming in as the fifth best is Cottage Grove.

Cottage Grove gets kudos for having the 5th most expensive homes in the Madison area, where houses sell for an average of $327,100. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Oregon, WI

Source: Wikipedia User James Steakley | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 11,100
Median Income: $89,301
Unemployment Rate: 1.3%
Poverty Rate: 4.7%
More on Oregon: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Oregon 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 1.28% which is 5th best in the area.

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

Verona, WI

Source: Public domain
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Population: 13,798
Median Income: $94,911
Unemployment Rate: 3.2%
Poverty Rate: 1.6%
More on Verona: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

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.

Mcfarland, WI

Source: Wikipedia User Royalbroil | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 9,026
Median Income: $83,865
Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
Poverty Rate: 2.2%
More on Mcfarland: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

McFarland 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 1.24% of people lack insurance, good for 3rd in the area.

Sun Prairie, WI

Source: Wikipedia User User:Royalbroil | CC BY-SA 2.5
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 35,528
Median Income: $83,409
Unemployment Rate: 1.7%
Poverty Rate: 5.6%
More on Sun Prairie: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

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.

Evansville, WI

Source: Wikipedia User Ruralhistorian | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,666
Median Income: $78,143
Unemployment Rate: 1.5%
Poverty Rate: 3.2%
More on Evansville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

And rounding out the top ten for 2023 is Evansville.

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.

Methodology: How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Madison for 2023

Figuring out the best suburbs around Madison was simple. We used Saturday Night Science to find things people like about living in the suburbs and then locate the suburbs with those things.

We analyzed the newest American Community Survey data for 2017-2021 to research each suburb. We decided upon the following criteria:

  • 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

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.

Finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index, the “Best Suburb near Madison.” We’re lookin’ at you, Cross Plains.

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 more extensive selection of suburbs.

We updated the data for 2023. This report is our tenth time ranking the best Madison suburbs. 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 2023

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 craving the amenities of a larger city like Madison but don’t want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might 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 4,070 $87,841
2 Mount Horeb, WI 7,727 $84,259
3 Waunakee, WI 14,679 $118,631
4 Shorewood Hills, WI 2,015 $128,672
5 Cottage Grove, WI 7,255 $118,433
6 Oregon, WI 11,100 $89,301
7 Verona, WI 13,798 $94,911
8 Mcfarland, WI 9,026 $83,865
9 Sun Prairie, WI 35,528 $83,409
10 Evansville, WI 5,666 $78,143
11 Lodi, WI 3,187 $84,792
12 Middleton, WI 21,634 $78,537
13 Monona, WI 8,560 $82,579
14 Prairie Du Sac, WI 4,380 $73,441
15 Stoughton, WI 13,158 $67,272
16 Poynette, WI 2,604 $74,803
17 Deforest, WI 10,700 $88,664
18 Belleville, WI 2,657 $78,872
19 Deerfield, WI 2,497 $78,442
20 Fitchburg, WI 29,361 $78,218
21 Lake Mills, WI 6,194 $72,770
22 New Glarus, WI 2,211 $78,333
23 Columbus, WI 5,465 $62,833
24 Edgerton, WI 5,825 $68,900
25 Marshall, WI 3,824 $61,190
26 Waterloo, WI 3,458 $63,984
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.