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13 Richest Cities in Wisconsin 2024: Surprising Wealth – What’s the Key?

What are the richest cities in Wisconsin

As a tourist who recently visited Wisconsin, a Midwestern state in the United States, I was amazed to learn about its vibrant community of over 5.9 million people. The state’s economy is notably robust, supported by a variety of industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and healthcare.

During my travels, I observed that many of Wisconsin’s cities are economically prosperous, with median household incomes often surpassing the national average.

In my journey, I took a closer look at the 13 wealthiest cities in Wisconsin. I’ll share insights into the factors that contribute to their economic success and present some key statistics that caught my attention.

Key Takeaway

  • River Hills, Brookfield, Delafield, Madison, Middleton, Pewaukee, Maple Bluff, Bayside, Fox Point, Whitefish Bay, Shorewood Hills, Elm Grove, and Mequon demonstrate robust economies with high median household incomes and low unemployment rates.
  • These cities offer diverse lifestyles, ranging from urban to suburban, with access to quality education, healthcare, and various recreational activities.
  • In cities like Elm Grove and Whitefish Bay, the housing market is dynamic, showcasing a mix of luxury and moderately priced homes that reflect the economic stability and prosperity of these areas.
  • The presence of 138,283 millionaire households in Wisconsin, as indicated by Kiplinger, highlights the state’s overall economic strength and the concentration of wealth in these cities.

13. Richest Cities

Rank City Population Median Household Income Unemployment Rate Median Home Price
13 River Hills 1,602 $178,750 4.71% $865,818
12 Brookfield 40,000 $110,616 3.30% $450,775
11 Delafield 7,085 $87,045 3.8% $420,000
10 Madison 269,840 $77,519 2.1% $419,900
9 Middleton 17,000 $110,269 3.8% $470,000
8 Pewaukee 15,914 $110,269 3.8% $550,000
7 Maple Bluff 1,400 $161,563 3.5% $840,444
6 Bayside 4,482 $114,814 1.02% $368,800
5 Fox Point $120,714 6.3% $507,000
4 Whitefish Bay 14,000 $134,324 3.5% $480,000.
3 Shorewood Hills 2,169 $128,672 3.5% $1,300,000
2 Elm Grove 6,524 $119,512 2.5% $718,000
1 Mequon 25,000 $135,425 3.8% $575,000

13. River Hills: Wealth and Education Focus

Is River Hills Wisconsin a Nice Place to LiveRiver Hills, a quaint village with just 1,602 residents, rounds off my list of the wealthiest towns in Wisconsin. This village exudes a peaceful charm and boasts a median home price of $865,818 as highlighted by Zillow. River Hills is a community centered around various churches and synagogues, complemented by educational institutions like the intimate Indian Hill Elementary School and the more expansive University School of Milwaukee.

One aspect I found particularly convenient about River Hills is its location. Residents can easily access the city by car, making it an ideal blend of serene village life and urban connectivity. A striking statistic about River Hills is that 44% of its residents hold a Master’s degree, underscoring the community’s strong emphasis on education.

Key economic indicators for River Hills include:

  • Median Household Income: $178,750
  • Unemployment Rate: 4.71%

12. Brookfield: Business and Housing Dynamics

What is Brookfield Wisconsin Known For

Brookfield, nestled in Waukesha County, stands as the penultimate entry on my list of Wisconsin’s wealthiest cities. It’s the third-largest city in the county, sprawling across nearly 27 square miles. This lively community boasts a population of around 40,000 residents, making it a significant hub in the area.

During my visit, I noted that Brookfield is a major center for business, retail, and industry in southeastern Wisconsin. This city has a magnetic appeal, drawing both residents and businesses with its dynamic environment. The average home price in Brookfield, which is around $450,775, mirrors its economic vibrancy and the high demand for living here as reflected on realtor.com.

Some important economic figures for Brookfield are:

  • Median Household Income: $110,616
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.30%

11. Delafield: Affluence Meets History

Is Delafield a suburb of MilwaukeeDelafield, Wisconsin, a city established in 1837, captivated me with its unique charm and picturesque setting nestled in the hills of the Kettle Moraine. With a population of 7,085, this affluent city combines historic natural landscapes with a quaint downtown area, offering residents and visitors alike a delightful experience.

One of the highlights of my visit was exploring the area around Nagawicka Lake, which is easily accessible from Delafield. The city’s real estate market reflects its affluence, with a median list price for housing around $420,000, placing it among the richest towns in Wisconsin according to PropertyShark.

Key economic figures for Delafield are:

  • Median Household Income: $87,045
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.8%

10. Madison: Economic and Tourist Hub

What is Wisconsin Madison famous forMadison, the vibrant capital city of Wisconsin, stands out not only as the state’s political center but also for its affluence and dynamic economy. With a population of 269,840, it’s a bustling urban hub known for its extensive green spaces. In fact, among the 100 largest U.S. cities, Madison boasts the highest number of parks and playgrounds per capita, a feature that greatly enhances its appeal.

During my visit, I was impressed by the city’s corporate landscape. Madison is the headquarters for several major companies, including Epic Systems, American Family Insurance, Promega, American Girl, Spectrum Brands, and even hosts a regional office for Google. This concentration of prominent businesses underscores Madison’s economic significance.

Moreover, Madison is a major tourist draw, contributing significantly to the economy of Dane County. For instance, tourism generated over $1 billion in 2018, showcasing its appeal to visitors as noted by 15 WMTV.

Economic highlights for Madison include:

  • Median Household Income: $77,519
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.1%

9. Middleton: Economic Success and Green Spaces

How Big is Middleton WisconsinMiddleton, a city in Wisconsin that I found particularly vibrant during my visit, is affectionately known as the “Good Neighbor City.” Home to around 17,000 residents, Middleton stands out as a significant commercial and business hub.

One of Middleton’s most impressive features is its commitment to preserving open spaces. About 25 percent of the city’s land is dedicated to parks and conservancy areas. With 22 parks and 25 conservancy areas covering a total of 1,100 acres, Middleton offers its residents and visitors a lush, green environment that contributes to its overall appeal.

I was also impressed to learn about Middleton’s excellence in financial reporting. The city has been recognized with the Certificate for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association for four consecutive years: 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. This achievement speaks volumes about the city’s effective governance and financial management.

Some key economic indicators for Middleton are:

  • Median Household Income: $110,269
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.8%

8. Pewaukee: Industry and Community Blend

Is Pewaukee a suburb of MilwaukeePewaukee, a town I visited in Wisconsin, is a delightful place with a population of 15,914, ranking as the 8th richest town in the state. A highlight of Pewaukee is the presence of Harken, Inc., a globally recognized manufacturer of sailboat and yacht gear, headquartered right in this town.

During my exploration, I noticed that Pewaukee is also home to key business hubs like the Pewaukee Industrial Park and Quail Ridge Business Park. These areas are vital contributors to the town’s economic landscape, fostering a blend of commercial activity and industrial development.

The town of Pewaukee offers an appealing mix of affluence and community spirit. With a median home value of $211,100 and a median monthly rent of $984, it presents an attractive living environment for its residents according to Zillow.

Some important economic figures for Pewaukee are:

  • Median Household Income: $110,269
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.8%

7. Maple Bluff: Education and Luxury Living

What is the history of Maple Bluff WisconsinMaple Bluff, a suburb near Madison, Wisconsin, captivated me with its serene residential charm. This small community, housing around 1,400 residents, is distinguished by being the location of the Wisconsin Governor’s Mansion, the official residence of the state’s governor and their family.

During my visit, I was struck by the luxurious living experience Maple Bluff offers. The average home price here is an impressive $840,444, reflecting the suburb’s affluence and desirability as highlighted by source. Another remarkable aspect of Maple Bluff is the educational attainment of its residents. An astounding 80.1% hold a Bachelor’s degree or higher, showcasing the community’s emphasis on education.

Key economic figures for Maple Bluff include:

  • Median Household Income: $161,563
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.5%

6. Bayside: Education and Housing Insights

Bayside, a village in Wisconsin, offered a picturesque experience during my visit. Strategically located in the northeast part of Milwaukee County and the southeast region of Ozaukee County, it nestles along the scenic shores of Lake Michigan. The village, with a cozy population of 4,482 residents, boasts a strong sense of community, complemented by home values averaging $368,800 as noted by Redfin.

One of the most appealing aspects of Bayside is its proximity to educational opportunities. Notable institutions like the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Milwaukee Area Technical College are nearby, providing residents with a range of options for higher education.

Key economic figures for Bayside are:

  • Median Household Income: $114,814
  • Unemployment Rate: 1.02%

5. Fox Point: Affluent Living Costs

Fox Point, situated in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, stood out as one of the wealthiest cities I encountered in the state. The cost of living in this city is 1.1 times higher than the national average, which translates to a Homesnacks rating of 115. This statistic alone highlights the city’s affluent status.

During my visit, I was impressed by Fox Point’s predominantly residential character, complemented by prominent shopping centers like Fox Point Shops and RiverPoint Shopping Center. These hubs add a vibrant commercial aspect to the village.

Residents of Fox Point benefit from excellent schools and top-notch village services. The variety of housing choices, local businesses, and the convenience of being close to downtown Milwaukee make it a highly desirable place to live.

Some key economic figures for Fox Point are:

  • Median Household Income: $120,714
  • Unemployment Rate: 6.3%

4. Whitefish Bay: Economic Diversity

Should I Move to Whitefish Bay WisconsinWhitefish Bay, a picturesque village I visited, is a beautiful community situated near Lake Michigan and downtown Milwaukee. Home to more than 14,000 people, the village boasts over 4,800 residential properties and more than 100 commercial properties, creating a balanced and vibrant living environment.

During my time in Whitefish Bay, I noticed the liveliness of the community, supported by approximately 330 businesses that significantly contribute to the local economy. The proximity to Lake Michigan enhances the village’s appeal, offering residents and visitors alike scenic views and a variety of recreational activities.

Key economic figures for Whitefish Bay are:

  • Median Household Income: $134,324
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.5%

3. Shorewood Hills: Affluent and Relaxed

What is the history of shorewood hillsShorewood Hills, Wisconsin, stood out to me as one of the wealthiest cities in the state. With a population of just 2,169, it offers a relaxed and comfortable lifestyle that is immediately noticeable. The average house price in Shorewood Hills is a staggering $1,3M, a clear indicator of the affluent nature of the community as highlighted by Redfin.

During my visit, I was drawn to the area’s appeal for families, largely due to the excellent schools. The village is adorned with stunning homes, adding to its charm. Shorewood Hills is filled with numerous attractions, making it a perfect haven for those seeking peace and high-quality living.

Some important economic figures for Shorewood Hills are:

  • Median Household Income: $128,672
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.5%

2. Elm Grove: Wealth and Community

What County is Elm Grove WisconsinElm Grove, Wisconsin, captured my attention as the second-richest city in the state, with a population of 6,524. This charming town, nestled in a welcoming small-town setting, offers an ideal balance for its residents. It combines the tranquility of a close-knit community with easy access to the opportunities and amenities of a larger city.

During my exploration of Elm Grove, I learned that according to U.S. Census Bureau data, the 53122 ZIP code of Elm Grove ranks first among 49 suburban areas in the region. This fact is a testament to the town’s affluence and desirability. The median household income in Elm Grove is an impressive $134,512 per year.

Key economic figures for Elm Grove are:

  • Median Household Income: $134,512
  • Unemployment Rate: 2.5%

1. Mequon: Safety and Economic Strength

How Rich is Mequon WisconsinAs a visitor to Wisconsin, I was particularly intrigued by Mequon, renowned as the state’s wealthiest city, home to over 25,000 residents. What struck me most about Mequon was its exceptional safety record, boasting one of the lowest crime rates in the Metropolitan Milwaukee area. This sense of security is complemented by the city’s attractively low tax rates.

Economically, Mequon is a hive of activity. The city is home to over 1,000 businesses, including a mix of small and mid-sized firms, situated across two business parks as city officials report. This diverse business environment contributes significantly to its economic health.

Some key statistics that highlight Mequon’s economic strength are:

  • Median Household Income: $135,425
  • Unemployment Rate: 3.8%

Education Level

Is Education Good WisconsinIn examining the educational attainment of residents in Wisconsin’s most affluent cities, it’s apparent that higher education levels are quite prevalent as per NCBI study. To understand this better, I analyzed the average educational levels across these cities by aggregating the percentages for each education level and then dividing by the number of cities in question.

This analysis reveals that a Bachelor’s degree is the most common educational qualification among the residents of these wealthy areas, with nearly half of the population (48.59%) holding this degree. Not far behind are those with a high school diploma or equivalent, representing 22.56% of the population. Moreover, a significant portion of the population, 21.91%, have achieved a Master’s degree or higher. Some college education or an associate’s degree is held by 6.31% of the residents, while a very small fraction, only 0.63%, have less than a high school diploma. Overall, a striking 70.50% of people living in these affluent Wisconsin cities possess at least a Bachelor’s degree.

Education Level Percentage (%)
Bachelor’s Degree 48.59
High School Diploma or Equivalent 22.56
Master’s Degree or Higher 21.91
Some College or Associate’s Degree 6.31
Less Than High School Diploma 0.63

Must-See Attractions and Activities

What are the biggest attractions in WisconsinIn my journey through Wisconsin’s wealthiest cities, I discovered a wealth of unique attractions and activities that cater to a variety of interests. Here’s what you should look out for in each city:

1. Mequon: Visit the Mequon Nature Preserve for a day of hiking and wildlife spotting. The local farmers’ market is a must for fresh produce and artisanal goods. For golf enthusiasts, the Ozaukee Country Club offers a top-tier golfing experience.

2. Elm Grove: Elm Grove Park is a beautiful spot for a family picnic or a leisurely walk. The Elm Grove Art Fair, held annually, showcases local artists and is a great place to find unique crafts and artworks.

3. Shorewood Hills: Take a tour of the Wisconsin Governor’s Mansion and enjoy its stunning architecture and gardens. The nearby University of Wisconsin Arboretum is perfect for nature lovers looking to explore diverse plant species.

4. Whitefish Bay: Spend a day at Big Bay Park for a relaxing beach experience along Lake Michigan. The Whitefish Bay Art Fest is a popular event, offering a glimpse into the vibrant local arts scene.

5. Fox Point: Explore the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center, where you can engage in bird watching and nature trails. The Fox Point Farmers Market is also a great place to mingle with locals and try regional specialties.

6. Bayside: The Bayside Garden and Art Walk is a delightful event where you can enjoy beautiful gardens and local art displays. The nearby Doctor’s Park offers stunning views of Lake Michigan and is perfect for a family outing.

7. Maple Bluff: Maple Bluff Country Club is ideal for golf and tennis enthusiasts. Don’t miss the opportunity to stroll around the picturesque village streets, admiring the unique architecture of the homes.

8. Pewaukee: Enjoy water sports and fishing at Pewaukee Lake. The Pewaukee Lakefront Park is great for family picnics and watching beautiful sunsets.

9. Middleton: Middleton’s Pheasant Branch Conservatory is perfect for hiking and birdwatching. The National Mustard Museum is a quirky and fun spot, offering a wide variety of mustards to sample and purchase.

10. Madison: Explore the Wisconsin State Capitol building and the adjacent State Street for a mix of history and shopping. The Olbrich Botanical Gardens offer a serene escape with beautiful themed gardens.

11. Delafield: Lapham Peak State Park offers excellent trails for hiking and cross-country skiing. The Delafield Art Walk, held twice a year, showcases the work of local artists and craftsmen.

12. Brookfield: The Brookfield Square Mall is perfect for a day of shopping. The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts hosts various cultural events and performances throughout the year.

13. River Hills: Visit the nearby Lynden Sculpture Garden to enjoy a unique blend of art and nature. The River Hills Country Club is also a great place for golf and socializing with locals.

How Many Millionaires Live in Wisconsin?

Based on the latest report from Kiplinger, as of 2019, Wisconsin is home to 138,283 households with a net worth of one million dollars or more. This figure constitutes 5.83% of all households in the state, indicating a significant presence of wealth.

In terms of the national ranking, Wisconsin stands at 21st in the United States for the highest number of millionaire households. This data highlights the economic prosperity in Wisconsin, reflecting a substantial portion of its population achieving high levels of financial success.

FAQ

What are the primary sources of employment in these cities?

While specific industries vary by city, many of Wisconsin’s wealthiest cities have strong sectors in healthcare, education, technology, and manufacturing. Corporate services and retail also play significant roles in certain areas.

Are there any emerging industries contributing to the wealth of these cities?

Yes, technology startups and green energy initiatives are emerging as significant contributors to economic growth in some of Wisconsin’s wealthiest cities.

How accessible are these cities for tourists and visitors?

Most of these cities are easily accessible by road and are located within driving distance of major airports in Wisconsin. Public transportation options vary by city.

What types of recreational activities are available in these cities?

Recreational options include hiking, boating, fishing, golfing, and visiting local parks and nature reserves. Many cities also have vibrant arts scenes with galleries, theaters, and live music venues.

Do these cities offer family-friendly attractions?

Yes, many of these cities boast family-friendly attractions such as parks, museums, interactive learning centers, and seasonal festivals.

What is the housing market like in these cities?

Housing markets in these cities are generally robust, with a mix of luxury and moderately priced homes. Real estate trends show a steady appreciation in property values.

How does the cost of living in these cities compare to the national average?

The cost of living varies but is generally higher than the national average, particularly in terms of housing costs. However, this is often offset by higher median incomes.

Are there any significant environmental or sustainability initiatives in these cities?

Yes, many of these cities are involved in sustainability initiatives, including green energy projects, recycling programs, and preservation of green spaces.

Final Words

Exploring Wisconsin’s wealthiest cities has been a journey through vibrant communities rich in culture, economic prosperity, and educational excellence. Each city, with its unique charm and offerings, contributes to the diverse tapestry that makes Wisconsin a notable state in the Midwest. Whether it’s the serene landscapes of River Hills, the bustling urban life of Madison, or the historical allure of Delafield, these cities offer a look into the varied lifestyles and opportunities within Wisconsin. 

Disclaimer

The information and opinions provided in this text are based on personal thoughts and observations up to 2024 and are intended for informational purposes only. While efforts have been made to ensure accuracy, the dynamic nature of economic and demographic data means that changes can occur.

This document is a reflection of the author’s personal viewpoints and should not be used as the sole basis for making important decisions. Readers are encouraged to seek the most current information and conduct thorough research. The author and provider of this text disclaim any liability for decisions made based on this information and personal opinions.

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