October 12, 2021

Liveability's "2021 Top 100 Best Places to Live in America" just came out.

 And it ranks Madison, Wisconsin #1.

78 comments:

rhhardin said...

Rural Ohio. I for one have experienced no angst of any kind in the pandemic, for instance. No statues torn down, no buildings destroyed. Just an internet to being entertainment to mock.

J. D. Canals said...

PFFFFT!
Yeah, if you like to freeze for 6 months out of the year........................

Milo Minderbinder said...

Any "best places" survey that ranks Eugene, Oregon, ahead of Bend, Oregon, is suspect.

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, do you have colleagues at UVa you can check with? Because my understanding is that something like that happened a few years in a row at Charlottesville, VA, home of the University of Virginia, after which people moved to Charlottesville and the surrounding area in droves, real estate prices shot way up, and so did property taxes. Hate to rain on your parade, but being named high on a list of “Best Places to Live” or “Best Places to Retire to” has a serious downside.

Hey, everybody, the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia is a terrible place to live. You don’t want to move here! Not at all!

Temujin said...

Hopefully New Yorkers will take the cue and move en masse to Wisconsin. As it is, we're full up with them here in Florida.

Yancey Ward said...

Most artistic plywood in the US.

The Drill SGT said...

Oregon got 6 of 100. and 2 in the top 11. 7 and 3 if you count Vancouver Wa, just across the river from the Oregon city that must not be named.

basicly, all our cities except Portland

The Drill SGT said...

Milo Minderbinder said...
Any "best places" survey that ranks Eugene, Oregon, ahead of Bend, Oregon, is suspect.

college town culture bias at work. That's why snow belt Madison and Ann Arbor rise to the top

MadisonMan said...

Madison is a great place to live, if you can afford it, and don't mind a distinct lack of non-whites.

Carol said...

Wow, no Montana city on the list.

That's good, actually.

Skeptical Voter said...

Four cities in California. And including Riverside CA--even way down the list is sort of a sick joke.

I'm Not Sure said...

FWIW, here are the states that don't have any cities in the top 100...

Alabama
Arkansas
Delaware
Hawaii
Louisiana
Mississippi
Montana
New Mexico
Oklahoma
Wyoming

Can Of Cheese for Hunter said...

Yeah! Boulder dropped off the top of the list.

That's because the college population is up by tens of thousands, local traffic is horrid horrid horrid, and the local progressives who run the show approve of and promote more of the out of control transient meth-head bike thieves (thieves) who are trashing our public spaces and making life miserable for everyone.

weee.
we also have zit-faced Antifa-brownshirt(D) thugs who have 100% acceptable rights to abuse, vandalize, and harass whoever and whatever they want.

Lem said...

And what did Madisonia do for the ranking? kick an ice age racist rock to the curb. 👀

Gerda Sprinchorn said...

The list is dominated by small college towns. Lots of smart and well-behaved people with attendant art and entertainment facilities, but without the problems of a large city.

Note that Madison (U Wisonsin) and Ann Arbor (U Mich) are at the top of the list (towns virtually identical in many ways), and that New Haven (Yale), Philadelphia (U Penn), and Chicago (U Chicago), are not on the list.

Lars Porsena said...

Look at the number of top places to live. Note all the state schools and universities. Life is good when the government takes money from the hinterlands and pumps it into Utowns.

The Drill SGT said...

MadisonMan said...
Madison is a great place to live,

SNOW and ICE

PM said...

Skeptical Voter: Four cities in California. And including Riverside CA--even way down the list is sort of a sick joke.

Jim Rome calls it Rivertucky.

Ann Althouse said...

"Hate to rain on your parade, but being named high on a list of “Best Places to Live” or “Best Places to Retire to” has a serious downside."

Madison has been rated #1 in things like this before and we regularly rank highly, so it's nothing new.

There's a natural limit to people just pouring into this place. Most people are afraid they might get cold.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Big Mike said...

@Althouse, do you have colleagues at UVa you can check with? Because my understanding is that something like that happened a few years in a row at Charlottesville, VA, home of the University of Virginia, after which people moved to Charlottesville and the surrounding area in droves, real estate prices shot way up, and so did property taxes. Hate to rain on your parade, but being named high on a list of “Best Places to Live” or “Best Places to Retire to” has a serious downside.

'Struth! I lived in Raleigh, NC for quite a while and saw this happen once it hit the "Best Places to Live" list. And there's more than just property taxes and traffic problems that go along with it. All those newcomers will decide that Madison just doesn't do things the way it should and will start trying to take over the city council so they can teach all you long time residents how to do things the right way. In a decade you won't recognize the place.

Ann Althouse said...

"Note that Madison (U Wisonsin) and Ann Arbor (U Mich) are at the top of the list (towns virtually identical in many ways)..."

I've lived in both places, and Madison is physically much more beautiful, because of our lakes. Also, Madison is the state capital, so it's not all about the university. It's more of a real city, and it has double the population.

Guimo said...

Madison = Too cold

Ann Althouse said...

I should say I lived in Ann Arbor 50 years ago, so my experience is really old!

It's also where my mother was born and grew up and my maternal grandparents lived for most of their life.

Yinzer said...

Sounds like Madison needs an influx of about 10,000 Haitians and Afghans! Surely all you nice white folks have room for them, Ann? Hello? Ann, are you there?

wendybar said...

I hope all the Californians and New Yorkers head there instead of Florida and Texas. Perfect place for displaced progressives.

Just Hilts said...

I grew up in Frederick, MD (#4) and have always felt lucky that I did. A truly wonderful place.

Chest Rockwell said...

There's been a lot of residential development in AA the last 10 years. Multi story student and residential condos for the most part.

AA is not what I would call beautiful, but it punches way above its weight in terms of food and culture. It's a nice place to live, but it's also a strange place for zoning. You'll have a million dollar house next to few houses with cars on the lawn, particularly as you get closer to Ypsilanti.

Never been to Madison, but it's on my bucket list!

madAsHell said...

Don't these lists evaluate your IP address (essentially your location), and then re-adjust the list accordingly?

Ron Snyder said...

If you like to live in Liberal Land.

Gilbert Pinfold said...

When I was a post-doc in Madison, we used to joke that the city was on an isthmus that west to east contained the University, the state government, and Oscar Meyer. In other words, "Baloney, baloney, and more baloney".

Lash LaRue said...

Most people are right; they would get cold. Very cold.

R C Belaire said...

Our semi-rural township borders the city of Ann Arbor and we've lived out here ~ 29 years. Yeah, AA has its charms but it also has lousy politicians, who, given enough time, find a way to degrade living bit by bit. It's nice to look in from the outside and not have to put up with all the crap.

Iman said...

Throwing boiling water off the back porch during winter and watching it freeze before hitting the ground and mosquitoes the size of turkey vultures during summer rules out Wisconsin for me.

CWJ said...

I clicked through expecting to see the usual - Madison check, Ann Arbor check,. Overland Park whaaa,,,? It's nice enough and all, but #3? Oh well just something else to fuel the border war.

"You're a Jackson County redneck. You're a Johnson County snob.". (Sung to "I'm a Yankee doodle dandy")

Dave Begley said...

And you were thinking about moving! Ha!

We all knew the two of you would stay.

The two times I was there, I liked Madison very much.

Dave Begley said...

Omaha is #13!!

Omaha is such a great city and there's some exciting new building projects along with a totally revamped downtown park that are going to be awesome.

John henry said...

Madison, by the numbers, is perhaps the most racist city in the us.

So how is it the most livable? Especially for blacks.

John Henry

DanTheMan said...

"Madison averages 15 nights a year that drop to 0 °F or lower. Most winter days never warm up to above freezing. Days with frosty weather begin to show up in late fall and can linger until early spring. In total, Madison averages 61 days a year with a high of 32 °F (0 °C) or less."

Different strokes, I suppose. No way I want to live in an icebox for two months every year.

mezzrow said...

Florida is hot and swampy and filled with gators and Florida Men. Stay away. We're full up.

Save yourselves.

Madison sounds lovely. Tallahassee with lakes and snow. Y'all go there, OK?

Kevin said...

Clearly there were no points deducted for street violence.

Mark said...

I'll tell you this -- Ann Arbor is one of the most BORING places on the planet. I never could figure out what to do with myself the 20 years I lived there growing up. I couldn't get out of that place fast enough once I graduated. And its political extremism has only gotten worse since then. Visiting family there now for a few days is excruciating.

typingtalker said...

Re: Madison. There goes the neighborhood.

Re: Ann Arbor. Parking is terrible but if I'm in the neighborhood (one about 50 miles in diameter) I have to have a meal at Zingerman's.

Narr said...

I am afraid of the cold.

"my maternal grandparents lived for most of their lives"? Is "their life" the one together?

Seriously. My ear likes the plural, but I can see nuances.

Any top 100 places rankings that don't include Roosterpoop GA and Scrapashade AL are fake news. Not to mention Glimp and Nankipoo TN up the road.

Joe Smith said...

Apart from all the race riots and the whacky lefties, I'm sure it's lovely.

I like Wisconsin very much, but prefer the rural areas...

cubanbob said...

What isn't mentioned in these surveys are the politics of the towns. Most are progressive and as they grow progressive politics makes them less livable.

Jim at said...

Tacoma, WA may not get as much national attention as Seattle, as its sister city across the sound,

Difficult to take any publication seriously when it can't even get the basics correct.

Ann Althouse said...

“ Madison averages 15 nights a year that drop to 0 °F or lower. Most winter days never warm up to above freezing. Days with frosty weather begin to show up in late fall and can linger until early spring.”

What’s wrong with frosty weather?

If I were to put the temperatures in the order that I like them, I’d put 50s first, 60s second, then 40s, then 70s, then 30s, then 20s, then 10s, then 80s, then 0-10, then below zero, then 90s, then over 100.

I like to stay fresh and crisp and not feel suffocated when I breathe. I prefer to have the heater on inside than the AC.

You may feel different, but to each his own.

RMc said...

Yeah, if you like to freeze for 6 months out of the year

The occasional "peaceful protest" heats things up...

tim in vermont said...

I wouldn't want to be on any list that has Albany, NY as a member.

I have lived in three of those cities, and have family in two of them. Frederick, MD #%, Really? I guess if you live right downtown. Otherwise it's just a bedroom community for DC.

I dint even need to read the comments to know that there were going to be people who think that warm weather is a high priority. LOL, warm weather is nice in a city in winter if you can afford to get out of there in the summer. Warm weather cities are like electric cars, you better have a city of the other kind to go to when you really need it, like in August.

Leland said...

Small warning… Not long ago, Austin, TX was ranked #1. Now Austin compares with Chicago for homelessness and violent crime.

tim in vermont said...

"If I owned a house in Miami and an house in Hell, I'd rent out Miami and live in Hell" - Mark Twain

Who actually chose to spend his summers in my hometown where he wrote "Huckleberry Finn," and where Rudyard Kipling came to interview him for the London Times. Kipling called my beloved hometown "frowsy" in the article. Twain didn't know who Kipling was, since he hadn't published anything yet, and only figured it out later. Instead of treating Kipling as an honored guest, he just sat around with him smoking and talking about writing. That evening at his home, Twain played the piano for him and sang old spirituals he had learned as a boy, when he and the enslaved kids played together, and for this Twain felt bad. But if you had a chance to talk to Mark Twain about writing for an afternoon and have a family evening, with Twain at the piano and holding court, or be his honored guest at a big todo, which would you have chosen?

I am doing the above from memory of something I read, but I am going to call it "too good to check." It's certainly mostly true.

DanTheMan said...

>>What’s wrong with frosty weather?

I love frosty weather, like when it dips into the 50's and I have to get a sweater. :)

>> If I were to put the temperatures in the order that I like them, I’d put 50s first, 60s second, then 40s, then 70s, then 30s, then 20s, then 10s, then 80s, then 0-10, then below zero, then 90s, then over 100.

Florida Temperature Scale:

70° - Tourists begin to sweat Floridians open the windows to let in the “cold air”

80° - Tourists start saying "It's not the heat, it's the humidity!” Floridians begin "Spring cleaning"

90° People from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan sunburn on the walk from the hotel to the rental car. Floridians start jogging, play golf, or go fishing.

100° Canadians flee north for their lives in specially equipped vehicles that go no faster than 30 mph. Floridians head for the beach to enjoy the cool sea breeze.

110° All Yankees spontaneously burst into flames. Floridians can *finally* get into Disneyworld!


Original Mike said...

"Most people are afraid they might get cold."

Pussies. (We can say that again, right?)

Narr said...

I don't mind frosty weather--we get some in my neck of Dixie--but long winters . . . not up to it, and I'm hardy compared to my wife. My favorite season is right about now, and for the next several weeks.

As much as I love the Southland, I realize that only a/c makes civilized life possible here.

Another old lawyer said...

Ann, you're living at the wrong time to have a "to each his own" attitude.

To start, the use of the masculine "his" as the default pronoun when the gender is unknown is offensive and blatantly patriarchal. You MUST use the plural "their" to encompass all genders however many there are, even though the use of the plural does violence to the English language (and that's real, actual violence even though it's only a word choice).
(Or, if you want to signal how brave you are, you are permitted to use the feminine as the default and here, "her.")

It also does not matter that the use of "their" also contradicts in its entirety the thought you are trying to communicate. So what if your thought becomes unintelligible, so long as no one is offended.

And frankly, your thought is itself already nonsensical. You absolutely MAY not feel differently.

Indeed, the use of "their own" encapsulates the objective of our error. (Autocorrect or not, you decide!) 'Everything within the approved opinion, nothing outside the approved opinion, nothing against the approved opinion.'


Inga said...

Yes, don’t move to Madison, it’s too cold! You folks wouldn’t like it, too liberal. Leave Madison to those who appreciate its qualities.

MadTownGuy said...

My family lived in Madison (grown daughter still does) for about 21 years and we liked it OK, even after moving from Southern California in the bleak midwinter. The cold didn't faze us much because we had been clued in about how to dress for it. The humid summers were another thing. Our rented house had no central air and the 1940s fuse panel couldn't handle the amperage of our window unit. We used box fans to make it tolerable.

Left Madison in 2015 for the Mid-Atlantic region (first WV, now south central PA) and though we'll go back for visits, we won't move back. Madison isn't what it used to be, and we're thankful that our oldest son and his family are in Northern WI. Much better for kids. Our daughter still lives in MadTown but has steady work and good supports to keep her safe.

@Just Hills, my wife's cousin lives in Frederick, and it used to be nice (downtown still is pretty good) but even Frederick isn't what it used to be. Gang activity started ramping up around 2016.

cfs said...

AAlthouse, may I suggest that in order to improve on the livability of your particular corner of Madison, that you stock up on canned tuna, chicken, and beef, along with pasta, rice and beans. I only make this suggestion because I enjoy reading the comments to some of the articles you find interesting. Thus, I hope you will be posting throughout the end of the world as we know it.

It's downhill from now on. America is not coming back from this. So many people thought we were immune from the perils of socialism. We are not.

Let's go Brandon!

M Jordan said...

College bias strong here. That said, Madison, Ann Arbor, and Bloomington, Indiana are really nice places. They should’ve included Valparaiso and Goshen, Indiana, two great small college towns.

This Person said...

Curious that the name of this ranking does not disclose that it ranks only small to medium size towns.

M Jordan said...

Agree with Ann about preferring cold to hot. Plus, there’s nothing like the change of seasons to recharge the deepest parts of the psyche.

Jersey Fled said...

Jersey City?

Bunkypotatohead said...

"Every year, the list changes: we do surveys and studies, adjust our algorithm, add in new variables and data points, and celebrate a new #1 city."

How serious can this be if the best place to live last year is not the best place this year? Are we suppose to pack up and move each year to enjoy the best? I wouldn't be surprised if Liveability solicits bribes to get your town on the list.

walter said...

Burgeoning public art program!
Vicky McKenna describes Madison as the girl who who can't pass a mirror without looking at herself.

DanTheMan said...

True fact: In the late 80's I was offered a job in Madison, at the Douglas Stewart company. I did some research at the library (remember those?) and learned just how cold it gets there.

I said thanks, but no thanks.

Crazy World said...

My mom and us 5 kids drove from Huntington Beach, California to Thiensville Wisconsin to meet up with her family there when I was 10 and showed those cousins how to make tacos. Dad had to work, will never forget those memories, beautiful area.

Titus said...

Madison has a Cracker Barrel and Denny's. Sorry not fab. And it is totally white. Boring.

tim in vermont said...

It's funny how much my friends who love Florida so much still manage to find their way up to visit Vermont in August. I guess that "no true Floridian" would do that.

I lived full time in Florida for fifteen years. I spent more time outside in winter when I lived in New Hampshire than I did outside in Florida in the summer. I did know one "true Floridian" though, the guy didn't have air conditioning, even though he lived west of the Turnpike, had a beard, wore overalls. He always said he was born in the wrong century. A true cracker.

tim in vermont said...

"Canadians flee north for their lives in specially equipped vehicles that go no faster than 30 mph."

In Wyoming, they call RVs "Colorado road slugs."

daskol said...

Madison has a Cracker Barrel and Denny's. Sorry not fab. And it is totally white. Boring.

Aren’t you from Boston?

Lurker21 said...

Toxic wokeness is apparently no obstacle to liveability.

Speaking of toxic, does Tacoma still stink?

walter said...

Titus,
That's the other Madison.
Just hole up downtown and harvest some uni students and staff, many international.

Interested Bystander said...

I wonder what criteria they used to rank the cities. When I think of a great place to live I think of great restaurants, lots of parks and recreational activity available, good hospitals good schools.

Two cities on teh list that I am familiar with are Roseville and Woodland, CA. To me, Roseville is what's went wrong with things in the 1990s. It's urban sprawl spelled large. There are no neighborhood stores only big boxes scattered about every few miles, not many small neighborhood parks. The best area restaurant the writer chose was a Japanese and sushi bar chain with about six or seven outlets. It's nice enough place and real estate is reasonable compared to the Bay Area but there are better places, like Sacramento. Like Madison it's the capitol. It has tons of fine dining restaurants and hip little cafes. The Kings arena brings in big name music acts and the community center brings in the big name touring Broadway shows. Real estate is about the same as Roseville.

Maybe Woodland has changed in teh last few years but it's always been a small farm town without a lot of culture to offer. They do have the old opera house where shows and music acts pass through. As far as good restaurants, I don't know of any. I'm sure it's safer than Sacto or Roseville but I don't see how it ends up in the top 50 of anything.

Interested Bystander said...

Blogger wendybar said...
I hope all the Californians and New Yorkers head there instead of Florida and Texas. Perfect place for displaced progressives.

10/12/21, 12:29 PM


Californians may be stupid they sure as hell aren't leaving the balmy winters here for Siberia, USA.

I made a pitch for my part of CA above, hoping some reasonable midwesterners and southerners would see the charm. If we could only import 20 or 30 million of you ... Sacramento is a wonderful city, excepting the blazing summers. We just have too many progressives.

J. D. Canals said...

Raleigh, NC at #12 Durham, NC at #25. Yep, that's about right!

PM said...

Did they mention my car?

Achilles said...

The whole point of these lists is to keep cosseted leftists from traveling to places where black and white people live together happily.

Don't let anything inside your bubble.

Smilin' Jack said...

As someone who lived there for nearly 10 years in grad school, my response to this was a loud guffaw. As I suspected, climate is not one of their criteria.

“ I like to stay fresh and crisp and not feel suffocated when I breathe. I prefer to have the heater on inside than the AC.”
So you prefer to burn planet-destroying carbon to artificially maintain a liveable micro-environment rather than live in a place that has one naturally.

As for the lack of “diversity”, it’s not really a concern—everyone looks white covered in snow.