Best counties to live in Wisconsin

Written by:
June 17, 2021
Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

Best counties to live in Wisconsin

What makes a particular county the best? Oftentimes, it's a good mix of opportunities for fun outdoor activities and cultural attractions. Throw in some historical sites, good schools, job opportunities, and affordable housing, and the county will most likely have happy residents.

Stacker compiled a list of the best counties to live in Wisconsin using rankings from Niche. Niche ranks counties by a variety of factors including: public schools, educational attainment, cost of living, and housing.

Many counties on the list are experiencing growth due to their job opportunities, education, or home values. Others are adored for their historic or well-designed value, or devotion to cultural opportunities. Keep reading to see if your county made the list.

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Jonathunder // Wikimedia Commons

#25. Manitowoc County

- Population: 79,185
- Median home value: $130,100 (75% own)
- Median rent: $672 (25% rent)
- Median household income: $56,612
- Top public schools: Reedsville Middle School (B+), Kiel Middle School (B+), Zielanis Elementary School (B+)
- Top private schools: Roncalli High School (A), Manitowoc Lutheran High School (B+), St. Francis of Assisi School - De Sales Campus (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Kiel (B+), Manitowoc (B+), Two Rivers (B)
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TheCatalyst31 // Wikimedia Commons

#24. Wood County

- Population: 73,112
- Median home value: $131,900 (72% own)
- Median rent: $718 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $54,913
- Top public schools: Marshfield High School (A), Washington Elementary School (A), Nasonville Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Assumption High School (B+), Columbus Catholic Middle/High School (B+), St. John Primary School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Marshfield (A), Port Edwards (B+), Lake Wazeecha (B)
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Visit Beloit // Wikimedia Commons

#23. Rock County

- Population: 162,152
- Median home value: $146,200 (68% own)
- Median rent: $838 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $57,875
- Top public schools: Harmony Elementary School (A), Kennedy Elementary School (A), Roosevelt Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Rock County Christian School (B+), Oakhill Christian School (B+), St. Paul's Lutheran School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Evansville (A), Edgerton (B+), Milton (B+)
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Scott Catron // Wikimedia Commons

#22. Jefferson County

- Population: 84,701
- Median home value: $190,400 (70% own)
- Median rent: $857 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $66,291
- Top public schools: Sullivan Elementary School (A), LEAP Elementary School (A), Cambridge Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Luther Preparatory School (A), Lakeside Lutheran High School (A), Maranatha Baptist Academy (B)
- Top places to live: Lake Mills (A), Lake Ripley (A), Waterloo (A)
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Dls4832 // Wikimedia Commons

#21. Bayfield County

- Population: 14,993
- Median home value: $170,200 (83% own)
- Median rent: $653 (17% rent)
- Median household income: $56,096
- Top public schools: Washburn Middle School (A), Washburn Elementary School (B+), South Shore Elementary School (B+)
- Top private schools:
- Top places to live: Bayview (A+), Washburn Town (A), Washburn (A)
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Iulus Ascanius // Wikimedia Commons

#20. Pierce County

- Population: 41,977
- Median home value: $208,700 (72% own)
- Median rent: $874 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $72,323
- Top public schools: River Falls High School (A), Elmwood High School (B+), Meyer Middle School (B+)
- Top private schools: St. Francis School (unavailable), St. Joseph Catholic School (unavailable), Heartland Montessori School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Ellsworth (B), Prescott (B), River Falls Town (A)
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Yinan Chen // Wikimedia Commons

#19. Walworth County

- Population: 103,074
- Median home value: $203,400 (69% own)
- Median rent: $880 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $63,776
- Top public schools: Reek Elementary School (A), Badger High School (A), Star Center Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Faith Christian School (B+), St. Francis de Sales School (unavailable), St. Andrew Parish School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Lake Geneva (A), Fontana-on-Geneva Lake (A), Como (A)
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Bobak Ha'Eri // Wikimedia Commons

#18. Marathon County

- Population: 135,396
- Median home value: $156,300 (72% own)
- Median rent: $758 (28% rent)
- Median household income: $62,633
- Top public schools: Hatley Elementary School (A), D.C. Everest High School (A), South Mountain Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Newman Catholic High School (A), Northland Lutheran High School (A), Wisconsin Valley Lutheran High School (B+)
- Top places to live: Rothschild (A), Wausau (A), Kronenwetter (A)
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gillfoto // Wikimedia Commons

#17. Racine County

- Population: 195,602
- Median home value: $176,000 (68% own)
- Median rent: $857 (32% rent)
- Median household income: $61,336
- Top public schools: Waterford High School (A), Walden III High School (A), North Cape Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: The Prairie School (A+), Catholic Central High School (A), St. Catherine's High School (A)
- Top places to live: Wind Point (A+), Burlington (A), Browns Lake (B+)
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Creative Commons

#16. Winnebago County

- Population: 170,411
- Median home value: $152,500 (65% own)
- Median rent: $766 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $58,543
- Top public schools: Winneconne Middle School (A), ACE Alliance Charter Elementary School (A), Clayton Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Lourdes Academy Catholic Schools (A), St. Mary Catholic High School (A), Oshkosh Christian School & Valley Christian High School (B+)
- Top places to live: Neenah (A), Winneconne (A), Oshkosh (B+)
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Keith Cooper // Wikimedia Commons

#15. Kenosha County

- Population: 168,524
- Median home value: $177,400 (66% own)
- Median rent: $919 (34% rent)
- Median household income: $63,733
- Top public schools: Lakeview Technology Academy (A+), Brighton Elementary School (A), Riverview Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Shoreland Lutheran High School (A), Christian Life School (A), St. Joseph Catholic Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Pleasant Prairie (A), Somers (B+), Bristol (B+)
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Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources // Flickr

#14. Sheboygan County

- Population: 115,178
- Median home value: $159,700 (70% own)
- Median rent: $727 (30% rent)
- Median household income: $60,696
- Top public schools: Kohler High School (A+), Kohler Elementary School (A), Howards Grove Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School (B+), St. John the Baptist Catholic School (unavailable), St. John Lutheran School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Kohler (A+), Howards Grove (A), Sheboygan (A)
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compujeramey // Flickr

#13. Milwaukee County

- Population: 951,226
- Median home value: $158,300 (49% own)
- Median rent: $880 (51% rent)
- Median household income: $50,606
- Top public schools: Whitefish Bay High School (A+), Shorewood High School (A+), Nicolet High School (A+)
- Top private schools: University School of Milwaukee (A+), Divine Savior Holy Angels High School (A+), Marquette University High School (A+)
- Top places to live: Whitefish Bay (A+), Shorewood (A+), Fox Point (A+)
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Mjrichter // Wikimedia Commons

#12. Washington County

- Population: 134,925
- Median home value: $236,200 (78% own)
- Median rent: $908 (22% rent)
- Median household income: $77,663
- Top public schools: Addison Elementary School (A), Slinger Middle School (A), Germantown High School (A)
- Top private schools: Living Word Lutheran High School (A), Kettle Moraine Lutheran High School (A), St. Augustine School (A)
- Top places to live: Germantown (A), Slinger (A), Richfield (A)
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Wtimmers // Wikimedia Commons

#11. Door County

- Population: 27,472
- Median home value: $214,100 (80% own)
- Median rent: $795 (20% rent)
- Median household income: $61,560
- Top public schools: Gibraltar Elementary School (A), Sevastopol Middle School (A), Walker Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: St. John Bosco Catholic School (unavailable), St. Peter's Lutheran School (unavailable), Zion Lutheran School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Sturgeon Bay (A), Gibraltar (A), Egg Harbor (A)
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Royalbroil // Wikimedia Commons

#10. Outagamie County

- Population: 185,700
- Median home value: $169,400 (71% own)
- Median rent: $807 (29% rent)
- Median household income: $65,572
- Top public schools: Sunrise Elementary School (A), J.R. Gerritts Middle School (A), Woodland Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Xavier High School (A), Fox Valley Lutheran High School (A), St. Xavier Middle School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Kimberly (A), Appleton (A), Little Chute (A)
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self // Wikimedia Commons

#9. Calumet County

- Population: 49,928
- Median home value: $178,900 (81% own)
- Median rent: $779 (19% rent)
- Median household income: $75,814
- Top public schools: Brillion Middle School (A), Hilbert Middle School (B+), Stockbridge Elementary School (B+)
- Top private schools: Trinity Evangelical Lutheran School (unavailable), Mt. Cavalry Lutheran School (unavailable), Chilton Area Catholic School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Sherwood (A), Brillion (B+), Chilton (B)
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Thomson200 // Wikimedia Commons

#8. St. Croix County

- Population: 88,732
- Median home value: $244,500 (77% own)
- Median rent: $962 (23% rent)
- Median household income: $84,756
- Top public schools: Hudson Prairie Elementary School (A), Houlton Elementary School (A), River Crest Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Trinity Academy (unavailable), St. Patrick School (unavailable), St. Bridget Parish School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: North Hudson (A), Hudson (A), River Falls (A)
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Itrytohelp32 // Wikimedia Commons

#7. Eau Claire County

- Population: 103,514
- Median home value: $169,400 (64% own)
- Median rent: $823 (36% rent)
- Median household income: $59,476
- Top public schools: Memorial High School (A), Meadowview Elementary School (A), Robbins Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Regis High School (A), Immanuel Lutheran High School (B+), Immaculate Conception Elementary School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Eau Claire (A), Altoona (A), Washington (A)
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Alan Froegel // Wikimedia Commons

#6. La Crosse County

- Population: 117,894
- Median home value: $173,300 (63% own)
- Median rent: $835 (37% rent)
- Median household income: $57,882
- Top public schools: Onalaska High School (A), Eagle Bluff Elementary School (A), Onalaska Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: Aquinas High School (A), Luther High School (A), Coulee Christian School (B)
- Top places to live: Onalaska (A), La Crosse (A), Holmen (A)
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TheCatalyst31 // Wikimedia Commons

#5. Portage County

- Population: 70,632
- Median home value: $168,100 (69% own)
- Median rent: $776 (31% rent)
- Median household income: $58,853
- Top public schools: Bannach Elementary School (A), Stevens Point Area Senior High School (A), McDill Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Pacelli Catholic High School (A), Stevens Point Christian Academy (C+), St. Paul Lutheran School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Stevens Point (A), Plover (A), Whiting (A)
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Chris Rand//Wikicommons

#4. Brown County

- Population: 261,368
- Median home value: $173,900 (65% own)
- Median rent: $795 (35% rent)
- Median household income: $62,340
- Top public schools: West De Pere High School (A), Wrightstown Middle School (A), Hemlock Creek Elementary School (A)
- Top private schools: Notre Dame de la Baie Academy (A), Northeastern Wisconsin Lutheran High School (A), Bay City Baptist School (B+)
- Top places to live: De Pere (A), Allouez (A), Hobart (A)
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pasa47 // Wikimedia Commons

#3. Waukesha County

- Population: 400,475
- Median home value: $282,300 (76% own)
- Median rent: $1,046 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $87,277
- Top public schools: Brookfield East High School (A+), Arrowhead High School (A+), Pilgrim Park Middle School (A+)
- Top private schools: Brookfield Academy (A+), University Lake School (A+), Catholic Memorial High School (A+)
- Top places to live: Elm Grove (A+), Brookfield (A+), Nashotah (A+)
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Paul Brady Photography // Shutterstock

#2. Dane County

- Population: 536,078
- Median home value: $265,600 (58% own)
- Median rent: $1,083 (42% rent)
- Median household income: $73,893
- Top public schools: Middleton High School (A+), West High School (A+), Sunset Ridge Elementary School (A+)
- Top private schools: Madison Country Day School (A+), Edgewood High School of the Sacred Heart (A+), St. Ambrose Academy (A)
- Top places to live: Middleton (A+), Shorewood Hills (A+), Madison (A+)
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James Meyer // Shutterstock

#1. Ozaukee County

- Population: 88,597
- Median home value: $282,500 (76% own)
- Median rent: $927 (24% rent)
- Median household income: $85,215
- Top public schools: Homestead High School (A+), Cedarburg High School (A+), Steffen Middle School (A)
- Top private schools: First Immanuel Lutheran School (unavailable), Lumen Christi Catholic School (unavailable), St. Francis Borgia School (unavailable)
- Top places to live: Cedarburg (A+), Mequon (A+), Thiensville (A+)

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