The Midwestern state of Wisconsin offers its residents and visitors the opportunity to enjoy fantastic scenery, beautiful lakes, and a simple and safe lifestyle. If you’re interested in exploring the vibe of Wisconsin, check out the safest cities in Wisconsin list. With a reputation for small and inviting communities, this state has something for students, retirees, and families alike.
For city slickers, take a look at the last half of the list ranked by crime rate, so you can choose a city that’s both exciting and safe.
Wisconsin lies in the Great Lakes Region. It borders Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, and Iowa. It’s connected to Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, and according to the latest estimates, Wisconsin has 5,893,718 residents. As one of America’s most astonishing states, there are many good places to live in Wisconsin.
Wisconsin was named after the Wisconsin River. Many believe that name means “this stream meanders through something red.” Even though there are many badgers in the state, Wisconsin’s nickname actually came from miners. During the 19th century, miners looking for lead usually slept in the caves, just like badgers!
Even though Minnesota is famous for its 10,000 lakes, Wisconsin actually has 5,000 more. The beautiful lakes and ponds that litter the area are a result of glacier movement thousands of years ago.
The main drivers of Wisconsin’s economy are healthcare, agriculture, and manufacturing, and this state is the leading producer of cheese in the whole country.
What is the safest place to live in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin is one of the safest states in America. Its crime rate is 1,765 offenses per 100,000 residents, and the state has one of the lowest property crime rates in the country.
What are the median earnings in Wisconsin?
The median household income in Wisconsin is $61,747, and the per capita earnings amount to $33,375. Around 10.4% of residents live in poverty.
What are the average property prices in Wisconsin?
The median house cost in the state is $231,300, and the median gross rent is $856.
Safest Places to Live in Wisconsin in 2021
Muskego belongs to Waukesha County of Wisconsin. It’s the fifth-largest community in the county, and it has attracted quite a large Norwegian population. According to the latest data available, the city has 25,032 residents.
Muskego was the home of the Potawatomi, who named the community after sunfish, but the community became entirely European after 1833.
Muskego’s official incorporation came in 1964, when two unincorporated communities, Tess Corners and Durham Hill, merged with the town. With this rise in population, housing developments increased, creating what many now call a bedroom community of Milwaukee.
Today, Muskego is among the best places to live in Wisconsin. The residents enjoy a high quality of living, with a median household income of $95,242, and per capita earnings of $42,702, just below the state average. Less than 3% of people live in poverty.
The city is one of the safest in the state. The crime rate sits at 357 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, law enforcement reported only 85 property and five violent crimes.
High earnings and safety mean pricier properties. The median house price in Muskego is $391,600, and the median gross rent is $1,096.
2. Lake Mills
Lake Mills is part of Jefferson County, and a portion of the city belongs to the Town of Lake Mills. This little place is among the best small towns to live in Wisconsin, and it appears that many people realized that, as the city’s population increased by 4.6% in the last ten years. The latest available data shows that Lake Mills now has 6,211 residents.
Captain Megan was the first settler of Lake Mills, naming the area after a grist and sawmill that operated nearby. Lake Mills lies on the east shore of Rock Lake. The city was officially founded in 1836 and incorporated in 1852, and at one point, the community was renamed “Tyranena,” which means “sparkling waters.” The name was quickly changed back to Lake Mills.
Lake Mills is one of the safest cities in Wisconsin, with a crime rate of 420 per 100,000 people. There were ten violent and 15 property crimes in the city in 2019.
Residents of Lake Mills have high earnings. The median household income is $70,239, and the per capita income sits at $31,182. Less than 8% of residents live in poverty, which is below the state average.
On the other hand, properties are more expensive than in most other cities. The median house cost is $302,000, and the median gross rent is $978.
Waupun is one of the safest towns in Wisconsin, and it belongs to two counties: Dodge and Fond du Lac. The city has 11,344 residents. Waupun has a crime rate of 575 per 100,000 people, and in 2019, residents reported 62 property and three violent crimes.
The founder of Waupun is Seymour Wilcox, on recommendation from John Bannister who called the Rock River Valley the most beautiful and fertile land. Waupun received its name after the Native American words that mean “the morning,” “dawn of day,” “the east,” and “the twilight of the dawn.”
Even though it’s a beautiful, safe city, Waupun is not among the best Wisconsin towns to live in. Earnings in the city are below the state average, and the median household income is $56,587. Per capita earnings sit at $26,898, and around 8% of residents live in poverty, which is below the average for Wisconsin. Rents are much cheaper than in most other cities, with a median gross rent of $701 and a median house price of $159,300.
Kaukauna is a city that’s part of Outagamie and Calumet counties. It lies on the Fox River, 100 miles north of Milwaukee, and it currently has 17,089 residents.
Those searching for the best towns to live in Wisconsin that are safer and don’t have too many people living there should look into Kaukauna. The city has a crime rate of only 759 offenses per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police reported 110 property crimes and 14 violent offenses.
Earnings in Kaukauna are close to the state average. The median household income is $62,822, and the per capita earnings are $30,948. Less than 7% of people live in poverty, far below the Wisconsin average. The properties for one of the safest places in Wisconsin are moderately priced. The median gross rent is $855, and the median house cost is $202,900.
Kaukauna was the home of French settlers, and its name means “place of pike” and “portage.” Its incorporation came in 1885 when the city decided to separate from the rural portions of the community.
Mequon belongs to Ozaukee County, and it’s the biggest city in the area. It’s also the third-largest one in Wisconsin by land area, but the population is quite small. According to official stats, Mequon has a population of 25,142, and as an official suburb, Mequon is one of the safest neighborhoods in Milwaukee.
Even though it’s an official city of Wisconsin, most of Mequon’s land is underdeveloped.
The meaning of the city’s name is “the ladle,” which refers to the shape of the river in the surrounding area. Throughout history and today, Mequon has had a deep connection with the town of Thiensville, as it is surrounded by Mequon. That is why many residents call it “Mequon’s donut hole.”
Residents of Mequon have very high earnings. The median household income in the city is $116,486, and the per capita income is $68,275. Only 5% of residents live in poverty.
Mequon is one of the safest cities in Wisconsin, with a crime rate of 774 per 100,000 people, and in 2019, law enforcement reported 176 property and 14 violent crimes.
Higher earnings and safer living come with pricier properties. The median gross rent in Mequon is $1,561, and the median house price is $477,200.
6. Sheboygan Falls
The city of Sheboygan Falls is part of Sheboygan County of Wisconsin. It lies on the east side of the state, and it belongs to the Sheboygan Metro Area. The data from the 2020 census shows that the city has 8,210 residents.
Sheboygan Falls belongs to the list of the safest places to live in Wisconsin as its crime rate is only 780 offenses per 100,000 people, and there were a total of 59 property crimes and three violent offenses in 2019 in the city.
The city was named after the nearby falls on the Sheboygan River. The river’s name means “hollow bone,” “river disappearing underground,” or “noise underground,” and at one point, Sheboygan Falls was called Rochester.
Today, residents of this city earn slightly below the state average. The median household income is $57,552, and the per capita earnings in one of the safest places to live in WI are $31,529. There are approximately 7% of residents who live in poverty, which is below the state average.
On the upside, rents are cheaper than in many other cities in the state. The median gross rent is $764, and the median home cost is $208,000.
Cedarburg belongs to Ozaukee County of Wisconsin. The official data shows that the city has 12,121 residents, and it is located about 20 miles away from Milwaukee as part of the Milwaukee Metro Area. Cedarburg is considered one of the best suburbs of Milwaukee.
This city used to be a small mill town. German settlers built various wooden mills and hydro gristmills along Cedar Creek during the 1840s. The mills attracted many new residents to the area. Still, the city was primarily German during the first half of the 20th century. After World War II, Cedarburg experienced suburbanization, the mills closed, which led to massive population growth.
Today, Cedarburg residents enjoy high earnings, with the median household income being $88,487. The per capita earnings amount to $46,720, and around 6% of residents live in poverty, below the state average.
Cedarburg is among the safest cities to live in Wisconsin. Its crime rate is 788 per 100,000 people, and in 2019, residents committed 89 property and two violent crimes.
If you like what you learned and you want to move to this little city, know that the median house price there is $387,600, and the median gross rent amounts to $860.
Burlington is part of Walworth and Racine counties, but the majority of this city lies within Racine County. According to the official reports on Wisconsin cities, with small populations, Burlington has 11,047 residents.
The city’s first settlers were Moses Smith and William Whiting. They marked the land using a jackknife via the popular “jackknife claim.” They carved the date and their names on nearby trees. After some time, they came back with two other men and started building a community on the east side of the Fox River. Most of the settlers that arrived later were from New England. They decided to name the place Foxville, and in 1839, residents decided to change the name after the city of Burlington in Vermont.
Today, Burlington is in the top 10 safest cities in Wisconsin. Its crime rate is 841 per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, the police reported a total of six violent and 87 property crimes.
Burlington residents have a median household income of $68,564, which is above the state average. The per capita earnings sit at $35,456, and around 10% of residents live in poverty. The median gross rent of $846, and the median home price in Burlington is $303,200.
9. De Pere
De Pere is a Wisconsin city that belongs to Brown County. It’s part of the Green Bay Metro Area, and De Pere has 25,410 residents. Those who keep searching, “what cities have the lowest crime rate?” trying to find safe cities with a high quality of life may need to look into De Pere. The city’s crime rate sits at 942 offenses per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, law enforcement reported 217 property and 20 violent crimes.
De Pere became an attractive option for relocating, especially for fishermen, in the 1600s due to its proximity to Fox River. During the year 1671, French Explorer Père Claude-Jean Allouez created the St. Francis Xavier Mission on the rapids known as Rapides Des Pères, and that’s how the modern-day De Pere got its name.
Many call De Pere the best place to live in Wisconsin. Besides the low crime rate, this city also has high earnings. The median household income is $72,286, while per capita earnings amount to $33,036. About 6.6% of residents live in poverty, and rents are close to the state average, with the median gross rent amounting to $895, and the median home price is $269,400.
10. Port Washington
Port Washington is a city that lies on Lake Michigan’s western shore. It’s considered a suburb of Milwaukee and is 27 miles away from the city. Port Washington is also the county seat of Ozaukee County, one of the safest counties in Wisconsin. It has a population of 12,353, according to the 2020 census.
The U.S. federal government expelled the Native Americans from the area in the 1830s. In 1835, the first settlers arrived and decided to call the place “Wisconsin City.” It was later renamed “Port Washington” to honor President George Washington.
Most of Port Washington’s economy was transporting lumber, grains, and fish through the Great Lakes. The government constructed the Port Washington Harbor in 1871 which operated up until the early 2000s.
Port Washington has a crime rate of 983 per 100,000 residents, making it one of the safest cities in WI. The police reported 29 violent crimes and 88 property offenses in the city in 2019.
The median household income in Port Washington is $68,167, and the per capita income is $34,328. About 6% of residents live in poverty, and residents have a higher quality of life than most others in the state. The median gross rent sits at $890, while the median house cost is $252,400.
Most Popular Cities in Wisconsin Ranked by Crime Rate
Waukesha is the county seat of Waukesha county. The city belongs to the Milwaukee Metro Area, and was named after the leader of a local Native American tribe. Currently, the city has 71,158 residents.
Most of the early residents of Waukesha were from New England, and they came to the area after the Black Hawk War. As the land was mostly dense forest and wild prairie, the residents used the free space to layout farms as well as construct roads. That attracted more people to Waukesha.
Waukesha is among the safest cities in southeastern Wisconsin with a crime rate of 1,041 offenses per 100,000 people. In 2019, there were 690 property and 67 violent crimes.
Residents of Waukesha earn slightly above the average for Wisconsin, with per capita earnings of $34,002. The median household income in the city is $65,260, and around 10% of people live in poverty, which is close to the state average.
Properties are slightly higher than you might expect, with the median house price sitting at $283,100, and the median gross rent is $944. Still, Waukesha is a great place to relocate to, especially if you are thinking about where the best place is to retire in Wisconsin.
Racine is the county seat of Racine County in Wisconsin. It lies on the shore of Lake Michigan, around 20 miles south of Milwaukee. Racine represents the principal municipality of the Racine Metro Area and is the fifth-largest city in Wisconsin, with a population of 77,816.
Racine was the home to French Settlers who wanted to relocate to an area close to the Root River. That’s probably how the city got its name, as Racine is a derivation of the French word for root. The area became a popular place for relocation after the Blackhawk War.
According to the Wisconsin crime map, Racine has a crime rate of 1,658 per 100,000 people, just slightly below the state average. There were 291 violent and 990 property crimes in Racine in 2019.
The median household income in the city is on the lower side, and it sits at $44,056. The per capita earnings are $22,808, and over one-fifth of people live in poverty. Properties are some of the most affordable in the state, with a median home price of $139,400, and a median gross rent of $831.
Appleton is part of Winnebago, Calumet, and Outagamie counties. It’s among the biggest cities in Wisconsin, with a population of 75,644. Appleton lies on the Fox River, 30 miles southwest of Green Bay, and it’s part of the Fox Cities Metro Area.
The first settlers came to the land of today’s Appleton in 1847. That same year, Amos A. Lawrence financially backed the opening of Lawrence University, which was then called the Lawrence Institute. His father-in-law, Samuel Appleton, donated money for the university’s library. To show appreciation, residents decided to name the village Appleton, and it became a city of Wisconsin in 1857.
Today, the Appleton, WI crime rate is slightly above the average for Wisconsin with 1,711 offenses per 100,000 people, and in 2019, law enforcement reported a total of 1,073 property and 206 violent crimes in Appleton.
Property prices in Appleton are below the state average with median house prices of $202,900, and a median gross rent of $808.
The residents of this city have salaries that are slightly below the average for Wisconsin. The median household income is $58,112, while per capita earnings sit at $31,313. Nearly 11% of residents live in poverty.
Oshkosh is the county seat of Winnebago County. It’s one of the best cities in Wisconsin for everyone that wants to live in a bigger place with more opportunity. At the moment, Oshkosh has 66,816 residents.
The city’s name was in honor of Chief Oshkos, and the fur trade was the staple of the town. The first significant population increase came after the Black Hawk War, and the city’s incorporation came in 1853. Even though the south was more economically significant, Oshkosh remains a relevant city in Wisconsin, especially in the wood industry.
The crime rate in Oshkosh sits at 1882 offenses per 100,000 residents. According to the Wisconsin crime statistics, that’s slightly above the state average, and in 2019, residents reported 1,067 property and 190 violent crimes.
Residents of Oshkosh have a lower quality of living and a high poverty rate of 17%. The median household income in the city is $50,892, and the per capita earnings are $24,949. On the upside, the median gross rent is below the state average at $752, and properties are inexpensive, with a median house cost of $159,400.
Kenosha is the county seat of Kenosha County, and it lies on Lake Michigan’s shore. Looking at the Wisconsin population by city, Kenosha is in fourth place with 99,986 residents. This city is part of the Chicago Metro Area despite being closer to Milwaukee.
Kenosha’s original name was Kenozia, or “the place of pike.” The first settlers came in the 1830s and were part of the Western Emigration Company. In the 1850s, the town became a vital shipping port for the Great Lakes, and during that time, its name was changed to Kenosha. In the 1900s, Kenosha was crucial for the automotive industry, producing millions of cars and trucks.
Today, the Kenosha, WI crime rate is above the average for Wisconsin with 1,888 offenses per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, law enforcement reported 311 violent and 1,582 property crimes.
The median household income in Kenosha is $55,417, and the per capita earnings are $28,680. A big percentage of the population lives in poverty at 16%. Rents tend to be higher than the state average at $908, while the median house price is $197,200.
16. Green Bay
Green Bay is the county seat of Brown County and the third-biggest city on Lake Michigan. It’s also the principal city of the Green Bay Metro Area. Despite the high Green Bay crime rate, this city is one of the most popular ones in the state, and it’s vital for Wisconsin’s economy. The city currently has 107,395 residents, making it the third-largest city in Wisconsin.
The potential for fur trade was what got the French to form an alliance with Native Americans in the area. Jean Nicolet was responsible for that alliance, and he formed a small trading post in Green Bay in 1634 and called it “the Bay of Stinking Waters.” His settlement was among the oldest European settlements in the U.S., but Green Bay wasn’t incorporated until 1754.
The Green Bay crime report shows the city’s crime rate is 2,146 per 100,000 people, and in 2019, residents committed 1,724 property crimes and 529 violent offenses.
The median household income is below the state average at $49,251, and the per capita earnings are $26,618. Nearly 15% of residents live in poverty, but properties tend toward the cheap side, with a median house price of $177,200 and a median gross rent of $730.
17. Eau Claire
Eau Claire belongs to the Chippewa and Eau Claire counties, with the majority of the city falling into Eau Claire County. As one of the Wisconsin biggest cities, it’s the principal city of the Eau Claire Metro Area, with a population of 69,421.
Eau Claire got the name after Eau Claire County. The name means “clear water,” which is how the nearby river was called. The French explorers decided to give it such a name because of the contrast from the muddy Chippewa River. The first permanent settlement of the area happened in 1845, and logging was the main industry in the city, with many sawmills built at that time. Eau Claire’s incorporation came in 1872.
The Eau Claire, Wisconsin crime rate sits at 2,638 offenses per 100,000 people, and there was a total of 1,634 property and 191 violent crimes in the city in 2019.
Residents of Eau Claire earn below the state average, with per capita income sitting at $29,252 and the median household earnings of $55,477. A large number of residents live in poverty, with 16.6%, and properties are still relatively expensive. The median home price is $222,800, while the median gross rent sits at $835.
Janesville is the principal municipality of the Janesville Metro Area and the county seat of Rock County. Janesville is one of the best places to live in Wisconsin for families, with tons of parks and excellent schools. Located in the south of the state, it has a population of 65,615.
The first settlers of Janesville were Joshua Holmes, John Inman, William Holmes, Jr, and George Follmer. They came to the town in 1835 and built a log cabin. A few months later, Henry F. Janes, a Virginian native, also relocated to Janesville. He was one of the crucial figures in the city’s history. He laid out the plan for the city and started building houses. To honor his great work, residents decided to name the town after him.
For those who wonder, “is Janesville, Wisconsin safe?”, Janesville’s crime rate is 2,667 per 100,000 people, and in 2019, the police filed reports for 1,577 property and 148 violent crimes.
The median household income in Janesville is lower than average at $56,293, and the per capita earnings sit at $29,532. Almost 12% of residents live in poverty, and properties are reasonable, with a median gross rent of $858 and a median home cost of $201,500.
Madison is Wisconsin’s capital, and it’s also the county seat of Dane County. Madison is the fastest-growing city in the state, which is why more and more people search for the best places to live in Madison, WI. It’s in the core of the Madison Metro Area and the second-most populated city with 269,840 residents. The first residents of the town named it after the state’s Founding Father and President James Madison.
The city is surrounded by four lakes: Lake Kegonsa, Lake Waubesa, Lake Mendota, and Lake Monona. You’ll find the headquarters for American Family Insurance, Exact Sciences, Epic Systems, and Spectrum Brands in the city. It’s home of Google’s regional offices, and the University Research Park is also located there. Madison is the home of the University of Wisconsin and the Overture Center for the Arts.
The Madison, WI crime rate is high with 2,834 offenses per 100,000 residents, and in 2019, law enforcement reported 940 violent and 6,464 property crimes.
The median household income in the city is $65,332 and the per capita earnings are $38,285. Nearly 17% of people live in poverty.
Despite moderate salaries, properties in Madison are costly. The median home price is $328,700, and the median gross rent sits at $1,118.
Milwaukee is by far the most populous city in Wisconsin, and it has 577,222 residents. Despite being among the most popular for relocation, the Milwaukee, Wisconsin crime rate is exceptionally high, even for U.S. standards.
Milwaukee is the county seat of the county that carries the same name. The city lies on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, and it’s the fourth-largest one in the Great Lakes Area. Milwaukee is the principal city of the Milwaukee Metro Area.
This city is an excellent option for students as it’s the home of many universities such as MSOE, Marquette University, and UW-Milwaukee. Furthermore, Fortune 500 companies Harley-Davidson, Rockwell Automation, and Northwestern Mutual are located there.
While it’s a city of opportunities, you’re probably still wondering is Milwaukee one of the most dangerous cities? Its crime rate sits at 3,887 crimes per 100,000 people, which is way above the state average, and there were 15,097 property offenses and 7,874 violent crimes in the city in 2019.
The earnings of the Milwaukee residents are below the state average. The median household income is $41,838, while per capita earnings amount to $23,462. An alarming number of residents live in poverty at 25.4%. It still is one of the top places to live in Wisconsin, though, with a median house cost is $162,600, and a median gross rent of $858.
Wisconsin is a beautiful Midwestern state that offers small and safe communities, as well as bigger cities with plenty of opportunity. This state has its own culture and rich history that is perfect for retirees, students, and families.
With some of the lowest crime rates in the country, finding the safest cities in Wisconsin is easier than most other places. Still, knowing which cities are the best to live in, as well as those that come with higher rates of crime and poverty, are important considerations if you’re looking to relocate. Find a bedroom city close to Milwaukee, or settle in a small town with a quaint community, Wisconsin has something for everyone.