Population (metro area)
: 568,593 Unemployment rate
: 4.9% Cost-of-living index
: 108.2 Median household income
: $58,775 Average rent (one-bedroom apartment)
Let's skip the Cheesehead and cowpie references. Madison is an educated, tech-savvy city, filled with recent grads who have enough energy to launch a dozen start-ups and still have time to check out that brewpub down the block.
With the University of Wisconsin's flagship campus front and center, there's no shortage of smart people in town. Engineers, computer programmers and other eggheads work in academia or for Epic Systems, a health care software developer. An entrepreneurial community fosters homegrown start-ups.
Young adults complain of a competitive rental market, where it's tough to find a centrally located two-bedroom flat for less than $1,000 a month. But there's plenty to keep your mind off high rents in this midsize midwestern city. On a typical Saturday, you might browse the Dane County Farmers' Market, head down to Camp Randall Stadium to tailgate and watch Badgers football, or boat or fish in lakes Kegonsa, Mendota, Monona and Waubesa.
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: The 5 Best Cities for Young Adults The 5 Best Cities for Families The 5 Best Cities for Retirees The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.