2. Madison, Wis. Population
: 236,889 Credit rating
: Aaa, stable Violent crime per 1,000 people
: 3.48 (15th lowest) Unemployment rate
: 4.9% (2nd lowest)
Madison is home to the state capitol, as well as the University of Wisconsin’s flagship campus. In addition, the region is a base to employers in fields such as technology and healthcare. The unemployment rate of 4.9% in 2011 was the second-lowest among all large cities in the U.S. Of the city’s adult population, 54% have a bachelor’s degree, the third-highest rate among the top 100 largest cities. In December, the Madison City Council adopted a rule banning the government from using emergency reserves to fund the operating budget unless two-thirds of members vote otherwise. With the city exercising this kind of caution, it is no surprise Moody’s analytics rates madison general obligation debt as a perfect Aaa, with a stable long-term outlook.
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