Early last month, ApartmentList.com released their list of the top 75 metros in the U.S. for millennials. The criteria for inclusion fell into three categories: 

  • Jobs
  • Livability
  • Affordability

“Few metros offer the ideal mix of a strong job market, affordable rent and home prices and high livability scores,” claims Sydney Bennet, Apartment List’s research associate.

Madison, however, is one of only three others that offers that ideal mix, with a perfect score (A+). Provo, Utah and Pittsburgh were the other two.

Madison is a livable city

Although Madison came in third overall, we scored the highest in the livability category. Apartment List surveyed renters to come up with this metric.

They asked them about weather, access to parks, nightlife and community activities, how safe they feel and about their opportunities to form relationships in their cities.

Recall that last year, Madison was ranked in the top 10 in the nation for our parks system by the Trust for Public Land (you can read about that here).

Where Madison scored the lowest

If you guessed “affordability,” pat yourself on the back. Not only did Madison only garner 50 points (out of a possible 100) for affordability, we were second worst in the top 10, just behind Charleston, South Carolina.

Affordability, for the study at least, was measured by calculating median rents and “the share of households that can afford the median-priced home” in Madison, according to Benet.

Our jobs market rocks

The rankings in this category were determined by U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor statistics numbers and include:

  • Median wages 
  • Wage growth
  • Millennial unemployment rate

The latter was also noted by Nerd Wallet who recently named Madison number one on their list of “Best Cities for Recent College Grads,” specifically for our rosy employment outlook and low unemployment rate.

What the Apartment List article fails to mention is that Madison has long been a hot spot for the younger generations. I wrote about it on this blog five years ago – about a Kiplinger study that chose Madison as the number one Best City for New College Grads in the country.

Our ranking then was based on our low unemployment rate and – at least then – reasonable cost of living. Yet, even Nerd Wallet concedes that our rents as a percentage of income are among the lowest in their top 10 list.

If you’re considering relocating to Mad City, let us know (563)289-7653. We’d be happy to show you around.




Posted by Jolenta Averill on
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