Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.: New research unveils Wisconsin’s regional and national appeal for living and doing business

Contact: David Callender, 608.210.6706
[email protected]

WEDC survey finds quality of life and opportunities driving factors in state’s high perception rankings

MADISON, WI. MAY 23, 2022 – A new survey by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) reveals that both in-state and out-of-state residents view Wisconsin as a good place to do business, raise a family, and enjoy a high quality of life.

While, perhaps unsurprisingly, four out of five Wisconsin residents and business owners surveyed said the Badger State is a good place to live and do business, the research also discovered that Wisconsin appeals strongly to out-of-state residents at levels that exceed other Midwest states. Study participants, both in the Midwest and nationally, ranked Wisconsin and Michigan as the most appealing Midwest states overall.

Among Midwest states, respondents ranked Wisconsin first for access to outdoor activities and post-secondary educational opportunities, second for access to health care and a sense of community, and third for cost of living.  

In comparison to Michigan, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio and Illinois, Wisconsin’s relative perception ratings were above average in the following quality of life factors:

  • Access to outdoor activities 22% higher than the average; ranked first and 13% higher than Michigan, which ranked second.
  • Post-secondary education 18% higher than the average; ranked first.
  • Access to health care 19% higher than the average; ranked second.
  • Sense of community 9% higher than average; ranked second.

“One of the things we’ve all learned over the past few years is that community matters, opportunity matters, and quality of life matters – whether you’re a small business owner, entrepreneur, employee, or even the CEO of a major corporation,” said Missy Hughes, secretary and CEO of WEDC. “Inside and outside our state, people are discovering all that Wisconsin has to offer and, as they do, our appeal continues to grow.”

Wisconsin businesses selected high quality of life for the workforce as a top business factor when determining a state’s appeal. Wisconsin ranked nearly 25% higher than any other Midwest state in terms of quality-of-life factors, most notably access to outdoor activities.

“Wisconsin represents that rare intersection of business and pleasure,” said Ben Popp, executive director of the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation located in Hayward, Wisconsin. “Not only do residents benefit from tailored investments in community infrastructure, it’s the perfect environment to cultivate a career while also tapping into individual passions and motivations. Running, biking, skiing – you name it, Wisconsin has it.”

The online survey sampled:

  • More than 2,700 Wisconsin business leaders who evaluated the state’s business climate.
  • More than 1,500 residents of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Missouri South Dakota and North Dakota, who rated their state’s and other states’ overall appeal.
  • Roughly 1,000 residents nationwide who rated their perceptions of Midwest states.

The survey had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

To learn more about WEDC, visit wedc.org.

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About the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) leads economic development efforts for the state by advancing and maximizing opportunities in Wisconsin for businesses, communities and people to thrive in a globally competitive environment. Working with more than 600 regional and local partners, WEDC develops and delivers solutions representative of a highly responsive and coordinated economic development network. Visit wedc.org or follow WEDC on Twitter @WEDCNews to learn more.