Oct 12, 2021

Madison Leads Livability.com 2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live in America

Today, Madison Region Economic Partnership (MadREP) partner Livability.com announced Madison, WI has been named number one on the 2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live, outpacing more than 1,000 cities with populations between 20,000 and 1 million in this data-driven ranking.

Madison has a long-standing reputation as one of the best college towns in the country, but this city offers so much more as one of the best places to live in the U.S. Madison is a great place to live for recent grads and retirees alike and has a high rate of employment, a resilient economy and excels in nearly every category.

The top ranking is touted in MadREP & Livability Media’s annual collaboration, the 2021-2022 Madison Region Economic Development publication, also unveiled today. Each year, our organizations work together to tell success stories throughout the eight-county Madison Region. This year’s theme, “A Call for Collaboration,” is especially meaningful as we continue to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic downturn and recovery.

“We’re thrilled to finally be able to share Madison’s top ranking with our community,” said MadREP CEO Jason M. Fields. While the list specifically ranks mid-sized cities, Madison’s success is a win for our entire Region. Just as a rising tide lifts all boats, more national awareness for our capital city supports talent and business attraction throughout the Region. Additionally, I’d like to note that Madison is supported by its surrounding counties. Recent Census data tells us eighteen percent of Dane County’s workforce resides in those surrounding areas. Our often-extolled ranking from Emsi as the most industrially diverse economy in the nation is a ranking for the Madison, WI Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), comprised of Columbia, Dane, Green and Iowa counties. By itself, Dane County ranked 10th while, with the other three in the MSA, the Region becomes the most diverse economy in the country.”

In addition to extolling the virtues of Madison, this year’s publication also notes the importance of the surrounding areas in its explanation of Livability’s top raking, noting, “the counties outside of Dane County and Madison offer a number of advantages, including affordable homes with more open space. Many of these communities, including Beloit, Lake Mills, Mayville, Monroe and Watertown, have revitalized downtowns through the Wisconsin Main Street Program.”

“This year’s list is a testament to loving where you live, in a time where more of us than ever can live anywhere we want,” says Cara Sanders, Livability.com managing editor. “These past two years have shown us how important it is that the places we live meet our needs and offer up affordability, opportunity and plenty of amenities. If we can work from anywhere, then these 100 cities are places you would want to live and make remote workers’ needs a top priority.”

The 2021 rankings were guided by an exclusive remote working study conducted by Livability.com in partnership with Ipsos. More than 1,000 adults aged 18 and up from across the country were surveyed to determine which livability characteristics they value in their future communities. Respondents were asked if they could work from anywhere, which factors would be most heavily considered when choosing to relocate and how housing needs and priorities have changed since the beginning of the pandemic. Since March 2020, more than 42% of the U.S. population has either moved or considered moving. Livability took things one step further and combined its findings with the Movoto by OJO network to show those looking to relocate what type of housing is available to them in each city.

This year’s ranking of the Top 100 Best Places to Live took all these factors into consideration and when combined, these points offer a snapshot of how affordability and amenities are the top priorities for remote workers.