3) Madison, Wis.
Violent crime per 1,000 people: 3.92 (21st lowest)
Poverty rate: 18.7% (40th lowest)
Adult population graduated from high school: 95.1% (3rd highest)
Credit rating: Aaa (stable outlook)
Madison, the other capital city on our list, was incorporated in the mid 1800s, and exists today as one of the most well-run cities in the Midwest. Madison is not a particularly wealthy city, with a median household income of just over $50,000. Nevertheless, the capital has a perfect Aaa (stable) credit rating, as well as extremely low unemployment and home vacancy rates. According to Madison city administrative analyst Tim Fruit, “Over the past few years, we have really made a significant effort toward more carefully planning our six-year capital improvement program. In the past, the out years were not well scrutinized. Now, we try to analyze and balance the out years much more carefully.”