PopulationMetro: 634,269
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 #6 ranking in Prosperity among Small Cities in the nation, including Top 10 for lowest unemployment rate and with 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.

CITY PERFORMACE
Place
Place 55
Product
Product 49
Programming
Programming 35
People
People 62
Prosperity
Prosperity 74
Promotion
Promotion 69

Tucked between two large lakes, surrounded by 260 parks, lakes, rivers, beaches and trails everywhere, the city boasts triple the national average for parkland per resident. Locals and visitors may be out enjoying all that natural beauty, but that’s not keeping them from checking in on Facebook, sharing and tagging posts on Instagram, and writing reviews of their experiences. All that online and social media activity has propelled Madison to the #4 spot in the Promotion category, which looks at the quantity of stories, references and recommendations shared about a city.