business

No. 7 Madison, Wisconsin

You can thrive in our number-seven pick even if you don't work in politics or education.

Population: 584,154Income Growth: 8.2%Cost of Living Index: 100Median Household Income: $58,090Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 35%

You can't argue with Madison's numbers. The Wisconsin city has a long track record of low unemployment, and its jobless rate is currently three percentage points below the national average. This city also wins for its low crime rate, first-rate public schools and a ready-made economy that feeds off of its two largest assets: The University of Wisconsin (and its expanding research centers) and the Wisconsin state capital.

But you don't have to work in politics or education to thrive here. Those two institutions account for only 20% of Madison's jobs. Many of the rest come from its strong mix of tech and biotech firms. And the city is friendly for start-ups, with five business incubators that fuel employment.

Expect the offbeat. The satirical newspaper The Onion hails from Madison, as do several indie music labels and a hurling team.By 2016 Madison may be linked via high-speed rail to Chicago, Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Plans are under way, but funding may depend on the 2016 Olympics. A winning bid for Chicago would give Madison three cycling events to host and help land that high-speed connection.

NEXT: No. 8 Austin

HOME | 12345678910 | Best Cities Center

Most Popular

Are You Still Chasing the Almighty Dollar, Even Though You Have Plenty to Retire?
retirement

Are You Still Chasing the Almighty Dollar, Even Though You Have Plenty to Retire?

In our experience, many have saved enough money to retire comfortably. Yet too many worry about their money running out and want more. Maybe it’s tim…
May 6, 2021
Child Tax Credit 2021: Who Gets $3,600? Will I Get Monthly Payments? And Other FAQs
Coronavirus and Your Money

Child Tax Credit 2021: Who Gets $3,600? Will I Get Monthly Payments? And Other FAQs

People have lots of questions about the new $3,000 or $3,600 child tax credit and the advance payments that the IRS will send to most families in 2021…
May 4, 2021
20 Dividend Stocks to Fund 20 Years of Retirement
dividend stocks

20 Dividend Stocks to Fund 20 Years of Retirement

Each of these high-quality dividend stocks yields roughly 4%, and you can expect them to grow their payouts even more. That's a powerful 1-2 combo for…
May 7, 2021

Recommended

10 Ways to Fail Miserably at Office Politics
careers

10 Ways to Fail Miserably at Office Politics

Successfully navigating the workplace takes social skills as well as job smarts. To get ahead, make sure you avoid these 10 office politics blunders.
May 2, 2021
11 Places That Will Pay You to Live There
real estate

11 Places That Will Pay You to Live There

Working remotely? You may want to check out these places that'll pay you to move there.
April 23, 2021
Uh-Oh: My Kid Wants to Be a ‘Social Media Influencer’ … What Are the Legal Risks?
careers

Uh-Oh: My Kid Wants to Be a ‘Social Media Influencer’ … What Are the Legal Risks?

Teenagers and their parents need to know there are plenty of legal consequences for this new breed of marketers, according to attorney Christy L. Fole…
April 15, 2021
37 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in 2021
business

37 Ways to Earn Extra Cash in 2021

We flag a wide variety of cool side hustles to earn bonus bucks to cover expenses expected and unexpected as we begin to emerge from the pandemic lock…
April 8, 2021