Waukesha has been ranked No. 99 in Money Magazine's list of the best places to live in the nation — the only Wisconsin city to crack the top 100.
In the latest list, unveiled Monday, Waukesha fell 49 places from where it was ranked in 2010 at No. 50.
“We are proud to be in the top 100 in the entire United States,” said Mayor Jeff Scrima. “We are the only city in Wisconsin to make the list this year. From the state perspective, we are doing well. From the national perspective, we still have room for improvement.”
The magazine ranked "small cities" — communities with populations between 50,000 and 300,000.
Also dropping in Waukesha in 2012 was the median family income, median home value and percentage of test scores above state average.
However, property crime incidents decreased from 2010 to 2012. Another positive for Waukesha was its job growth. From 2000 to 2009, the number of Waukesha jobs decreased 3.14 percent, according to the 2010 Money Magazine ranking. But it showed a 2.17 percent job growth from 2000 to 2011 in the 2012 ranking.
In fact, the job growth is one of the reasons Waukesha was selected as a Best Place to Live:
“Natural springs first drew visitors to this town 17 miles west of Milwaukee, but these days there's plenty more good stuff spilling out of the streets of Waukesha,” the website states. “Fridays during the summer, the downtown streets are closed to auto traffic and residents roam leisurely while the music of local bands fills the air. The city recently used tax incremental financing to help two major local corporations expand, creating 300 new jobs in the process.”
“We have a strong sense of community in Waukesha, as demonstrated by the Friday Night Live, the farmers market and art crawls, which speaks to the quality of life,” Scrima said. “We have also experienced significant job growth in this city in this past year with Waukesha electric and Weldall Manufacturing.
Who is the Best?
So, if Waukesha isn’t the best place to live in the nation, what community is? It’s Carmel, IN.
So, with the top city having a significantly higher median family income — $76,459 in Waukesha and $120,714 in Carmel, higher median home prices — $165,000 in Waukesha and $268,750 in Carmel, what can Waukesha do to reach the top?
“We will relentlessly pursue perfection and continue to focus on the high quality of life at a conservative price,” Scrima said.