Madison finishes 3rd in happiest city rankings

High Dynamic Range (HDR) image of Madison, Wisconsin skyline and state capitol
High Dynamic Range (HDR) image of Madison, Wisconsin skyline and state capitol(NBC15)
Published: Mar. 3, 2023 at 11:23 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – The people of Madison have many good reasons to smile, according to a new survey. The Wisconsin capital slotted third in Wallethub’s latest ranking of the happiest cities in America.

While it only claimed the bronze medal, for those who don’t plan on moving to California, Madison’s the happiest place to be.

Wallethub weighed a variety of factors, from work and salary-related ones to those measuring health and community metrics, to come up with its list of happy cities.

CityScoreEmotional & PhysicalIncome & EmploymentCommunity & Environment
Fremont, CA76.101341
San Jose, CA70.352364
Madison, WI69.725416
Overland Park, KS68.936876
San Francisco, CA68.934869

Of the nearly 200 cities in the survey, Madison topped them all for unemployment. On the flipside, while the unemployment rate is the lowest, the income growth is decidedly average. Wallethub tallied numbers for 182 cities and Madison ranked right in the middle at 92.

The city seems to shine, though, when people are off-the-clock. Of the three over-arching categories listed by Wallethub – “Emotional & Physical Well-Being, Community & Environment,” and “Income & Employment” – ranked in the top ten in for the first two, fifth and eighth, respectively. The last of the three, the one related to work, where the city performed worst (41).

The survey also showed Madison likes keeping busy, as the city filled the 8th slot for sports participation and hours worked per week. All that activity probably explains its second-best showing – coming in number two for adequate sleep rate.

Wisconsin’s other city included in the survey – Milwaukee – did not fare nearly as well. Its happiness index puts the state’s largest city more than 100 places behind Madison, in the 109-hole. Worse, it also finished just outside the bottom-10 for the Income & Employment field.

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