Forward Wisconsin: Wisconsin Metro Areas Rate High on Quality of Life

For More Information Contact:

Scott Reigstad, Forward Wisconsin, 608.261.2506

National Economic Development Magazine Rates Eight Wisconsin MSAs as “5-Star Quality of Life Metros”

MADISON – – Wisconsinites all know that the Badger State is a great place to live, but now we have more evidence to prove it. The proof comes in the form of the seventh annual “2005 Quality of Life Quotient” compiled by Expansion Management magazine, a leading national economic development publication. The results of the 2005 Quality of Life Quotient were published in Expansion Management’s March 2005 issue and eight Wisconsin metro areas garnered the highest quality-of-life rating possible: “5-Star Quality of Life Metro.”

The 5-Star Quality of Life Metros in Wisconsin include: Appleton, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, La Crosse, Madison, Wausau and the Duluth, Minnesota-Wisconsin metro area that includes within it the City of Superior. The “5-Star” designation means that a metro area finished in the top 20 percent of all metro areas considered. The importance of the quality-of-life factor in expanding a business is critical and rankings such as these bolster Wisconsin’s efforts to attract and retain business investment and worker talent.

“As we work to attract business and investment to the state, the quality of life that Wisconsin offers is a great advantage to us and one that is becoming more and more important, especially for young entrepreneurs and executives,” said Pepi Randolph, Forward Wisconsin President. “These individuals want quick access to their work location and recreational options, as well as a good family environment. Wisconsin offers all these things and more.”

Expansion Management’s Quality of Life Quotient compared 362 U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) in nine broad categories to come up with its “quotient.” Each of the nine categories, in turn, consists of anywhere from two to 10 factors drawn from a variety of proprietary and government sources. The broad categories examined included: crime rates, affordable housing, quality public schools, standard of living, spouse employment opportunities, adult education levels, traffic and commuting, continuing education opportunities, and commercial air access.

Wisconsin metro areas also scored impressively in three of the separate nine categories examined for the Quality of Life Quotient. Out of the 362 metro areas examined, four Wisconsin metro areas were in the top ten for lowest crime: Appleton (2nd), Fond du Lac (4th), La Crosse (9th) and Wausau (10th). In the category of best public schools, Sheboygan was ranked 2nd, followed by Madison at 3rd, Oshkosh-Neenah at 6th, Appleton at 7th and Eau Claire in the 10th spot. Madison was also listed as fifth best metro area in the “adult education level” category.

“Quality of life is available at just about any place in the United States,” said Bill King, editor of Expansion Management magazine. “The only question is how much it will cost to an individual to tap into it. That’s an important issue for employers, because it translates into how much an employer will have to pay to obtain and retain quality employees.”

Expansion Management is mailed monthly to more than 45,000 CEOs, vice presidents, directors and other executives of companies that have indicated they are considering expanding into new geographic areas. For a copy of the Quality of Life Quotient 2005 article, go to Expansion Management’s Web site at and look under “research studies.”

Forward Wisconsin ( is the state’s public-private marketing organization. Its job is to recruit new businesses to the state by marketing Wisconsin’s business advantages outside the state. Gov. Jim Doyle is Chairman of the Forward Wisconsin Board.