Nicknames for Madison include Madtown, Mad City and The City of Four Lakes City. Monikers for Wisconsin are the Badger State and America’s Dairyland.
Research website numbeo ranks Madison in the top 3% compared to the 250 cities evaluated on its overall quality of life index at June 2020. Madison scored well on index factors such as pollution (cleanest 4%), purchasing power (strongest 7%), health care (best 8%), property price to income ratio (lowest 14%), traffic commute time (fastest 15%) and safety (upper 25%). On the negative side, Madison rates relatively poorly on climate (bottom 9%) and cost of living (highest 44%).
Madison hosts Dane County Farmers’ Market in its Capitol Square, the biggest producers-only farmers’ market in the U.S.
The Wisconsin State Capitol dome in Madison’s urban core was built based on the federal U.S. Capitol building’s design. Madison’s skyline is constrained by a state law that limits building heights in the city’s downtown. All buildings within a mile (1.6 kilometers) of the Wisconsin State Capitol must be under 1,032.8 feet (314.8 meters) above sea level. The intent of this law is to preserve the view of Wisconsin State Capitol from most areas in the city.
Living up to its “Mad” nicknames, Madison was the site of a wild Guinness World Record on July 21, 1996 when American Sam Tartamella performed the longest handstand on a skateboard ever. He travelled upside down for 2,255 feet (687.33 meters) along Madison’s Nakoma Road.
Madison serves as headquarters for one large corporation recognized as belonging to the Forbes Global 2000 world’s biggest companies: public holding utility holding company Alliant Energy.
From an international trade perspective, Wisconsin exported US$21.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. Its most valuable exports include civilian aircraft including parts (2.4% of Wisconsin’s global total), outboard marine engines (1.4%), spark-ignition engine parts (also 1.4%), computed tomography apparatus (1.3%), composite diagnostic or laboratory reagents (1.1%), primary battery cells scrap (1%), silica and quartz sands (0.9%), human or animal blood (0.9%), medical, dental or veterinarian instruments or appliances (0.9%) and miscellaneous plastic items (also 0.9%) according to United States Census Bureau data.
The non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Madison was 5.9% at July 2020, up from 2.7% one year earlier.
Capital Facts for Madison, United States: Quick Reference
Capital landmarks: Alliant Energy Center, Chazen Museum of Art, Kohl Center, LaBahn Arena, Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center, Overture Center for the Arts, Wisconsin Veterans Museum and the University of Wisconsin Geology Museum
Below, you will find 10 of the most famous people born in Madison, United States.
- Chris Noth, actor (born Nov. 13, 1954)
- Rob Marshall, Academy Award-winning director (born Oct. 17, 1960)
- Bradley Whitford, actor & producer (born Oct. 10, 1959)
- Phil Kessel, professional NHL hockey player (born Oct. 2, 1987)
- Eric Heiden, Olympic speed skating gold medalist (born Jun. 14, 1981)
- Ryan Suter, professional NHL hockey player (born Jan. 21, 1985)
- Tammy Baldwin, first female U.S. senator from Wisconsin (born Feb. 11, 1962)
- Jim Montgomery, Olympic swimming gold medalist (born Jan. 24, 1955)
- Jerry Kelly, professional PGA golfer (born Nov. 23, 1966)
- Inoj, R&B singer (born Nov. 27, 1976)
Note: Data for our Famous People tab was sourced from Google searches of published Wikipedia articles specific to each person’s name.
Demonym for a Madison resident: Madisonian
Population: 264,030 (Madison) at September 24, 2020
Density: 3,318 people per square mile (1,281 per square kilometer)
Population: 5,851,750 (Wisconsin) at September 24, 2020
Density: 108 people per square mile (42 per square kilometer)
GDP: US$51.482 billion in 2018 (Madison metropolitan area)
GDP per person: $89,069
Note: The above GDP metrics are on a current basis and are in U.S. dollars.
Official currency used in Madison: U.S. dollars
Brookings Institution, Global Metro Monitor Report (includes GDP data).
Dilemma X, U.S. Census Bureau metropolitan population estimates July 1, 2016.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Total Real Gross Domestic Product for Topeka, KS (MSA).
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Unemployment Rate in Madison, WI (MSA).
Forbes Global 2000, The World’s Biggest Public Companies.
Guinness World Records, Longest handstand on a skateboard.
Knoema, Metropolitan areas: Total land area (km2) for Madison.
Nations Online, Capital Cities of the USA.
Numbeo, Quality of Life Index by City.
Official Government Website, City of Madison official website.
United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade: State by 6-Digit HS Code and Top Countries.
United States Census Bureau, State Population Totals Tables: 2010-2016.
United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Local Area Unemployment Statistics: Seasonally Adjusted Metropolitan Area Estimates.
U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Gross Domestic Product by Metropolitan Area, 2015 (Tables Only).
Wikimedia Commons, Madison city flag.
Wikipedia, Madison, Wisconsin.
Wikipedia, Madison, Wisconsin, metropolitan statistical area.
World Population Review, Madison, Wisconsin Population.
Madisonians celebrate Independence Day as a national holiday each July 4.
Madison’s land area occupies 79.57 square miles (206.09 square kilometers). The state capital’s population was 264,030 Madisonians at September 24, 2020.
At the state level, Wisconsin covers a land area measuring 54,310 square miles (140,663 square kilometers) home to a population of 5.9 million people.
Madison’s population density is more concentrated averaging 3,318 residents per square mile (1,218 per square kilometer).
Zooming out to Wisconsin’s land boundaries, population density dilutes to an average 108 inhabitants per square mile (42 per square kilometer).