PopulationMetro: 654,230
Some cities win the lottery, and this oft-cited example of livability, job creation and Millennial magnetism is no exception.

The city’s enviable position as both capital of Wisconsin and the site of the state’s largest university certainly fuels its #13 ranking in Prosperity among small cities in the nation, including #18 for Household Income and the 11th-highest number of Fortune 500 companies.

A hive of healthcare, IT and manufacturing powered by pipelines of talent out of the University of Wisconsin creates a symbiotic, sustainable relationship between academic infrastructure and economic performance. Indeed, Madison lands in the Top 3 spot for Educational Attainment.

Place 44
Product 45
Programming 49
People 72
Prosperity 57
Promotion 60

With a Millennial population approaching 30% (according to a recent Brookings study), Madison is set to welcome even more with its still-affordable housing and an unemployment rate under 3%.

Neighborhoods and venues are adding to the urban fabric. Take East Cap and its new, 2,500-capacity Sylvee music venue, along with new restaurants and breweries that will sate residents missing the dance cards of larger cities.