FOX47 NEWS - Madison Makes Best Places to Live List

Jeff Angileri
Jul 17, 2008, 10:10 PM

Money Magazine's 100 Best Places to Live rankings always get people talking.

Middleton caused a media blitz when it grabbed the number one spot last year. This year, Middleton didn't even make the list - and Madison is 89.

These are places where residents are very proud of their hometowns, and they don't exactly agree with the magazine's findings.

Money Magazine's August 2008 issue ranks Madison as the 89th best place to live in America. That's down from number 53 in 2006, and number one in 1998.

The rankings look at several factors--job growth, health, quality of life, education--all areas where Madison performed well. The city lost points in diversity.

Caren Weiner Campbell, special projects editor of Money Magazine, says, One thing that happened this year - we added a diversity screen - we wanted to make sure there were people of color - some places that had done very well before - found themselves on the other side of the screen.

This area also lost points from an increase in crime, something city officials say they're working on.

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz says, We're adding 30 new officers, which is by far a record. We're doing things like beefing up graffiti removal, beefing up building inspections, giving the city attorney's office new tools to go after new landlords.

The editors of Money Magazine also say there's an information lag. Some statistics they used are 8 years old. Also, they change the criteria for the rankings annually, because they don't want to have the same cities on the list, year after year.

Susan Schmitz, DMI President, says, Sure, it was fun when we were number one, but I think they just have to move it around. They can't have the same city number one all the time, or no one would pay any attention. It wouldn't be such a big deal.

People in Middleton feel the same way. Last year's best place to live didn't even rank in 2008--also impacted by a lack of diversity. Regardless, the city's resdent's are still singing its praises.

Nancy Johnson-Cramer says, It's a great place to live. It has excellent schools, I can ride my bike anywhere.

Jean Devore says, We're at the library now, you can go down here to eat at many different restaurants, everything's right here. And it's just a super place to live.

Wisconsin has 32 cities that are eligible, by size, to make the 100 best places to live list, but once the evaluations were done, Madison, at number 89, was the only Wisconsin city on the list this year.

Money Magazine breaks down a lot of other criteria--Janesville ranked number 16 for housing affordability, and Madison also ranked number 25 for the most singles.

And in case you are wondering what is the best place to live in the country this year...the winner is....a suburb of the twin cities - Plymouth, Minnesota.

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