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Moving to the Greater Madison Region? Here Are 8 Counties to Consider.

If you're moving to the Madison area, you've got a range of great choices within the region. Let us help you find your perfect place.

By Livability on September 23, 2022

Wisconsin State Capitol and Madison skyline panorama. The Wisconsin State Capitol, houses both chambers of the Wisconsin legislature, Supreme Court and the Office of the Governor.

Anchored by Madison, the state capital of Wisconsin, the region is composed of eight counties, each offering excellent quality-of-life assets and a wealth of career opportunities.

The Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison.
Nathan Lambrecht

Dane County

Population: 563,951
As the region’s urban center, Dane County is home to the state’s capital in Madison, the University of Wisconsin flagship campus, the world-class Overture Center for the Arts and an abundance of parks, lakes, and unique neighborhoods. Home to the fastest-growing population of any county in Wisconsin, Dane County boasts a highly educated workforce to power its diverse and innovative industries. With assets in information technology, life sciences and agriculture, Madison and Dane County consistently rank among the top communities for work and play

Major employers include: University of Wisconsin-Madison, Epic Systems, American Family Insurance, CUNA Mutual Group, TDS Telecom

Rock County

Population: 164,381
With diversified strengths in manufacturing, food processing and logistics, Rock County is positioned along the Interstate 39 corridor and offers easy marketplace access and exposure. Paired with affordable cost-of-living standards and high quality of life, Rock County is a powerful economic engine for the region. Businesses like Prent Corp., Seneca Foods and SSI Technologies call it home.

Major employers include:  Mercy Health System, Kerry Inc., Prent Corp., Le Mans Corp., SSI Technologies

Couple enjoys a glass of wine at the Wollersheim Winery, which is located in the Greater Madison Region.
Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau

Columbia County

Population: 58,488
With a strong manufacturing base, Columbia County employs a skilled workforce with a wealth of opportunity and a small-town feel.

Top employers include Associated Milk Producers, Cardinal Glass Industries, Lexington Logistics, Penda Corp. and more. Situated along the Wisconsin River, the county boasts many parks and lakes and educational opportunities from Madison College-Portage Campus, which offers traditional degrees and trade diplomas.

Major employers include: Divine Savior Healthcare, Associated Milk Producers, Penda, Robbins Manufacturing, Saint-Gobain

Green County

Population: 36,988
In the scenic, rolling hills of southern Wisconsin, Green County sits squarely on the Wisconsin-Illinois border, providing easy access to major markets throughout the upper Midwest. Agriculture is a booming industry in Green County, with key products including milk, cheese, corn, soybeans and livestock products. The county’s environment and culture are shaped proudly by its strength in agriculture and famous Swiss heritage. 

Major employers include: Colony Brands, Monroe Clinic, Kuhn North America, LSI/ Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, Monroe Truck Equipment

Some of Trek's latest bicycle models are on display in the lobby at the Trek Bicycle manufacturing facility and headquarters in Waterloo, Wisconsin.
Jeff Adkins

Jefferson County

Population: 84,943
Ideally situated between Madison and Milwaukee, Jefferson County boasts agricultural areas and diversified manufacturing industry. Home to the national headquarters of Trek Bicycle, Jefferson County shines with outdoor recreation opportunities. In addition, each county’s community exhibits a strong local character with thriving town centers serving residents at work and play, including those from a host of top-level employers.

Major employers include: Generac Power Systems, Nasco International, Trek Bicycle, Spacesaver, Standard Process

Iowa County

Population: 23,756
Surrounded by a magnificent natural landscape, Iowa County is located in the rolling hills of southwestern Wisconsin. The area boasts recreational opportunities, tourist attractions and cultural amenities. Thanks to Iowa County’s history in mining and agriculture, internationally recognized clothing company Lands’ End is proud to call the area home to its headquarters, along with many manufacturing employers. Other top employers include American Players Theatre, Cummins Emission Solutions and The House on the Rock Resort. In addition, the county has three state parks, and downtown Dodgeville has a six-block stretch entirely of historic buildings.

Major employers include: Lands’ End, Cummins Emission Solutions, Upland Hills Health, American Players Theatre, House on the Rock

People playing inside of a waterpark in the Greater Madison Region.
Wisconsin Dells Visitor and Convention Bureau

Sauk County

Population: 65,697
Among the region’s most scenic and fastest-growing counties, Sauk County has a thriving tourism industry, with the Wisconsin Dells/Lake Delton area hailed as the “Waterpark Capital of the World.” The Culver’s restaurant franchise has its headquarters in Prairie du Sac. Other significant employers include Cardinal Glass, Grede and Kalahari Development. (Kalahari Resort pictured above.)

Major employers include: Ho-Chunk Gaming-Wisconsin Dells, Wilderness Resort, Grede

Photos of people on kayaks and paddleboards floating along the Rock River, which is located in the Greater Madison Region.
Robin Kaufmann

Dodge County

Population: 89,313
Dodge County offers rich agricultural resources, historic sites and advanced manufacturing technology that contributes to the economic development of the Madison Region. Home to a collection of charming communities, Dodge County’s small towns provide a relaxing respite from urban life, surrounded by more than 80 lakes, rivers and streams. Local career pathways are often driven by the area’s primary industries, including manufacturing, health care and retail trade. 

Major employers include: John Deere, Mayville Engineering, Metalcraft of Mayville, Mittera, Watertown Regional Medical Center

If you’d like to learn more about the Madison Region, check out the latest edition of Livability: Madison Region

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