Six Wisconsin Cities Earn a Spot in Livability’s “Top 100 Best Places to Live”

UWEC Immerman Feature Image

(Photo of UW-Eau Claire copyright by Steve Immerman, 2020)

By Christina Lorey

July 21, 2022 ranks the most livable small and mid-sized cities in the United States.

If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’re already in on the secret. Now, the rest of the country is, too. just released its 2022 rankings of the best American cities to live, and six Wisconsin towns not only made the list, but one topped it– for the second year in a row.

Livability uses data to give cities a “Liv Score” based on eight categories: Civics, Demographics, Economy, Education, Health, Housing, Infrastructure, and Amenities. This year, the site scored more than 2,300 cities, focusing on those that are mid-sized (with populations of 500,000 or smaller.) 

Let’s get to this year’s list and where Wisconsin’s cities rank…


For the second consecutive year, Madison topped the list, with a “Liv Score” of 725 thanks to high marks in the categories of Economy, Health, and Amenities.

“With a famous farmers’ market, tons of free cultural attractions, outdoor concerts rocking all summer long, and 200 miles for hiking, biking, and snowshoeing, Madison earns its rank as the best place to live,” the publication wrote. 

Editors praised the college town as “a welcoming place for recent grads, families, and retirees alike” and noted Wisconsin’s capital is one of only two cities in the state, where the median annual income is more than $50,000.

Click here for Madison’s full profile.


Not far behind is Waukesha, which earned a “Liv Score” of 653. The Milwaukee suburb scored highest for its economy, with editors calling the city “a manufacturing hub,” and one that’s “brimming with great jobs.” 

“And it gets better,” the publication wrote. “The city boasts an average home value of just under $225,000, and thanks to the diverse selection, everyone can find their perfect house.”

Click here for Waukesha’s full profile.


Nestled on the Fox River, Appleton is the final Wisconsin city ranked in the top 50, with a “Liv Score” of 626. Housing and Amenities were its top-scoring categories, with editors highlighting its performing arts complex, live music, and art museum.

“One of the safest cities in Wisconsin, with a low cost of living and growing entertainment and food scenes, Appleton is increasingly appealing to young families and young professionals,” Livability wrote.

Click here for Appleton’s full profile.


The home of the Packers usually lands on lists like this thanks to its breweries, bustling riverwalk, and—of course—the Green & Gold! While editors deducted points for Green Bay’s “bitterly cold winters” (it is the Frozen Tundra, after all!), they celebrated the city’s affordability and accessibility.

“Green Bay is highly connected to fast internet, making it ideal for remote workers,” they wrote. “There are also plenty of coworking spaces in the city.”

Click here for Green Bay’s full profile.


Founded as a lumber town, Eau Claire earned a spot in the top 100 thanks to its highly-rated school system, low unemployment rate, and eclectic events.

“If you’re looking to go off the beaten path, Eau Claire is the proud host city of the US Open Chainsaw Sculpture Championship,” Livability wrote, adding, “Yes, it’s exactly as cool as it sounds!”

Click here for Eau Claire’s full profile.


Rounding out the list of Wisconsin representation is La Crosse, which editors acknowledged “sometimes flies under the radar, but truly deserves the spotlight.”

“Signature sights like Grandad Bluff, more than 30 arts organizations, a historic downtown, unique shopping, diverse recreational opportunities, and a stellar array of restaurants make this one of the best places to live in the US,” they wrote.
Click here for La Crosse’s full profile.


  • Christina Lorey

    Christina is an Edward R. Murrow-winning journalist and former producer, reporter, and anchor for TV stations in Madison and Moline. When she’s not writing or asking questions, you can find her volunteering with Girls on the Run, the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, and various mental health organizations.

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