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Index Shows Wisconsin Good Place to Call Home

Madison is highlighted in a new scorecard as a city where resident involvement is high, a positive factor in overall livability. (Richard Hurd/Flickr)
Madison is highlighted in a new scorecard as a city where resident involvement is high, a positive factor in overall livability. (Richard Hurd/Flickr)
June 25, 2018

MADISON, Wis. – Wisconsin must be a pretty good place to call home, as six of its cities receive high marks on the new 2018 AARP Livability Index.

Communities are rated on multiple qualify of life measures for people of all ages, and AARP’s state director, Sam Wilson, says the Badger State has more top performing communities than other states in the country.

"That is something we need to be extraordinarily proud of,” he states. “We clearly have some communities that are making the right investments in order to make them more livable.

“But when you're at the top, everybody's gunning for you. So, this is no time for complacency, because other cities are watching and they want those top spots, as well.”

Fitchburg, La Crosse, Madison, Milwaukee, Sheboygan and Sun Prairie all placed in the top 10 in their respective population categories.

Wilson says the index is a valuable tool for local leaders as they examine how to improve their communities and better meet the needs of people of all ages, especially as the number of older adults continues to grow.

Wilson says Wisconsin's areas of strength include family medical leave laws, protections against foreclosures, voting engagement and smoke free policies.

But he notes there are always areas that could use improvement, including traffic safety and transportation.

"The last few years, the state had repealed the Complete Streets policy, which no longer forces when you are building roads to make sure you consider all users of the road,” he states. “Also, there are rollbacks in some of the mandates for human services transportation."

The index focuses on the categories of housing, neighborhood, transportation, environment, health, engagement and opportunity, and it now includes updated data to reveal changes over time.

Wilson says people can view the results and see where their community stands.

"Not only are you being scored on the individual metrics for each community, but you're also being measured against all the other communities in the country,” he explains. “So, you can really know where you stack up based on your livability score."

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - WI