Two Wisconsin Cities Rank Among the Best in the US to Raise a Family 

By Christina Lorey

November 30, 2022

The most ideal spots have safe neighborhoods, quality schools, and a reasonable pricetag. 

It’s always fun to see where Wisconsin cities land on the latest iteration of any given “Best in the US” list. Lifestyle website Stacker recently ranked the best places to raise a family. Using numbers from the US Census Bureau, FBI, Department of Education, and other city details, analysts compared crime rates, public school rankings, college graduation rates, cost of living, family amenities, outdoor recreation, transportation, diversity, and walkability scores to narrow down America’s Top 100. In total, they looked at more than 20,000 cities, towns, and villages.

Two in Wisconsin made the list!

#97. Green Bay, Wisconsin

– Population: 104,777

– Median home value: $135,900 (56% own)

– Median rent: $730 (44% rent)

– Median household income: $49,251

This Wisconsin city, named for its location at the southern end of an arm of Lake Michigan, is home to the Green Bay Packers football team and nearby National Railroad Museum. Crime rates in Green Bay are close to the national average, and the city’s cost-of-living index is 91.9—less than the U.S. average of 100. Serving the community, nearby West De Pere High School gets the area’s highest ranking for high schools.

#15. Madison, Wisconsin

– Population: 254,977

– Median home value: $246,300 (47% own)

– Median rent: $1,118 (53% rent)

– Median household income: $65,332

The capital city of Wisconsin, Madison’s Middleton High School is rated the best public high school in the state and the second best for science, technology, engineering, and math in the state. The University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum offers walking paths and jogging tracks for all, with numerous educational opportunities in its garden settings. Families will also enjoy Henry Vilas Zoo and the Wisconsin Historical Museum.

Others Midwestern Cities on the List:

#99 South Bend, Indiana

#95 Cedar Rapids, Iowa

#94 Indianapolis, Indiana

#91 Wichita, Kansas

#84 Cincinnati, Ohio

#66 Grand Rapids, Michigan

#53 Kansas City, Missouri

#50 St. Paul, Minnesota

#45 Fargo, North Dakota

#44 Sioux Falls, South Dakota

#37 Minneapolis, Minnesota

#31 Lincoln, Nebraska

#28 Omaha, Nebraska

#24 Rochester, Minnesota

#23 Columbia, Missouri

#7 Ann Arbor, Michigan

#6 Overland Park, Kansas

#1 Naperville, Illinois

The Best of the Rest

Five California cities made the top 20, while Texas was also well-represented with four.

Six of the 10 cities in the country with populations over 1,000,000 made the list, showing that big cities can still be great places to raise a family– offering a wealth of historic sites, museums, top schools, and parks to entertain both parents and kids. High walkability scores, rapidly improving school systems, and falling crime rates placed vibrant cities like Dallas and New York among the nation’s best. On the opposite end of the spectrum, South Bend in northern Indiana earned the title of the smallest city on the list, with a population of 102,000.

39 of the 50 states made the list. Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Delaware, West Virginia, Mississippi, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, and Alaska were absent.

You may also like: Best County to Live in for Every State

MORE: Click here for the full list


  • 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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