Cost of Living in Madison

Home » Blog » Tips » Cost of Living in Madison

Cost of Living in Madison

Madison is the state capital of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County in the United States. Madison will be the fastest-growing city in Wisconsin by 2021. The Madison area is home to the headquarters of Epic Systems, American Family Insurance, Exact Sciences, Promega, American Girl, Sub-Zero, Lands’ End, Spectrum Brands, a regional office for Google, and the University Research Park, as well as many biotechnology and health systems startups. Madison is a major tourist destination, with tourism contributing more than $1 billion to the Dane County economy in 2018. A growing population, an absence of housing, and the gradual gentrification of many Madison districts have all led to increased housing costs, with the typical rent increasing by 23% between 2014 and 2019.

Madison is also recognized for its rich cultural scene, including popular events such as the fantastic Rhythm and Booms and the massive yearly firework and music festival, which features fly-pasts by air force jets.

Cost of Accommodation

Learn about the local rental market before you start looking for an apartment. To get your budget started, find out what the average rent in Madison is!

Madison’s Average Rent

A studio apartment in Madison costs an average of $1,158 a month.
The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Madison is $1,381.
A two-bedroom apartment in Madison costs an average of $1,496 a month.
A three-bedroom apartment in Madison costs an average of $1,869 per month.

Madison Rent Trends: Rent Increase

Madison rents are down 0.78 percent from the previous month but up 11.03 percent from the previous year.

Madison Rent Trends: Inventory by Average Apartment Rent 

Eleven percent of Madison apartments are less than $1,000 per month.
In Madison, 79% of apartments cost between $1,000 and $1,999 per month.
10% of Madison apartments cost between $2,000 and $2,999 per month.
One percent of Madison apartments cost more than $3,000 per month.

Madison Rent Trends: Apartment Inventory by Type

Studio apartments account for 11% of all residences in Madison.
One-bedroom apartments account for 40% of all apartments in Madison.
Two-bedroom apartments account for 34% of all apartments in Madison.
Three-bedroom apartments account for 15% of all residences in Madison.

Renting vs. Buying Costs

With a median property price of around $238,900 in December 2015, you may want to consider renting rather than buying. After all, in January 2013, the median property value had risen to well over a million dollars. However, the median total cost has remained remarkably stable from November 2013. With one-bedroom apartment prices as high as $875-$1000 or more, you may be better off buying a home if you can. Some listings may cost you more than $1,000 per month in mortgage payments, but you will often have more space. Furthermore, having your own home usually provides you with greater privacy. Not only that, but you can also keep it up and maybe make a profit when real estate values spike again.

Utilities, Housing

Madison’s housing costs are 9% higher than the national average, while utility costs are 5% higher than the national average.

The median home price is $379,618.
The median rent is $1,189 per month.
Monthly energy bill $176.38
monthly phone bill $188.01


Transportation costs, such as bus fares and gas prices, are 7% higher than the national average.

Volkswagen golf 1.4 tsi 150 CVS (or comparable), new, without extras $21,868
1liter (1/4 gallon) gasoline $0.95
Public transportation every month $65
Taxi ride on a business day, base fare, 8 km (5 miles) $26
$2.80 per gallon of GAS

Food and Groceries

Madison’s grocery prices are 3% more than the national average.



Healthcare in Madison is 22% more expensive than the national average.

Doctor’s apology $135.51
$116.41 dentist visit
$126.98 optometrist visit
$539.78 rx drug
$54.61 veterinary visit

Personal Hygiene

Six days of cold medicine (Tylenol, frenadol, coldrex, or equivalent brands) $7
One antibiotics box (12 doses)
$11 for a quick visit to a private doctor (15 minutes)
$159 -1 tampon box (32 tampons) (tampax, ob, …)
$5.46 Roll-on deodorant (50ml 1.5 oz.)
$2.94 2-in-1 hair shampoo (400 mL 12 oz.)
$5.15 for four rolls of toilet paper
A tube of toothpaste costs $2.82.
$1.70 for a standard men’s haircut in the city’s ex-pat district.

Prices for Entertainment Update

A simple meal for two at a local pub $38
$21 for two movie tickets
Two tickets to the movies (best available seats) $194
Dinner for two at an Italian restaurant in the ex-pat neighborhood, including appetizers, main course, wine, and dessert. $80
One cocktail in a downtown nightclub $9
$5.28 for a cappuccino in the city’s ex-pat district.
One beer at the local pub (500ml or 1pt.) is $4.57
128GB Ipad Wi-Fi $428
Prepaid mobile tariff for 1 minute (no discounts or plans)
– 1 month of business district gym membership $43
One pack of Marlboro cigarettes for $9

What Is the Minimum Amount of Money Required to Live in Madison, WI?

The following is a summary of the cost of living in Madison, WI, United States: Without rent, the monthly costs for a family of four are anticipated to be $3,253. Without rent, a single person’s monthly costs are estimated to be $898. Madison is 32.20 percent cheaper than New York (without rent).

Why Is Madison Real Estate So Expensive?

According to the UW website, when wealthier, more educated young folks migrate to Madison, they prefer to live in the downtown area. Because of the increasing demand for housing, landlords can raise their rental fees dramatically.

Is It Pleasant to Live in Madison, Wisconsin?

Living in Madison provides inhabitants with an urban-suburban mix, and the majority of residents rent their houses. There are numerous bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks in Madison. Madison is home to a large number of young professionals, and people tend to hold moderate political views. Madison’s public schools are highly regarded.

Why Is It Stated That Madison Is Comparatively Safe in Comparison to Other Major Cities?

The details make a major impact when it comes to crime in larger cities.
Madison’s crime score is 16 out of 100, according to Neighborhood Scout.
Madison, WI Neighborhood Scout Crime Rate 2021
While this appears to be a problem, a deeper examination indicates that violent crimes account for fewer than 10% of recorded instances.
Property damage and vandalism are still unpleasant, but they aren’t grounds to avoid perfectly safe regions.
For the most part, crime isn’t a major issue in Madison.

Things to Do in Madison That Are Enjoyable

The city of Madison has a lot of fun things to do, but the sheer amount of alternatives can be daunting.

Madison, Frank Lloyd Wright

Badgers games, Vilas Zoo, the Dane County Farmers Market, and virtually anything going on around State Street are all must-sees.

If you’re looking for something a little more lively, the city has a nightlife scene to suit any personality. There’s something for everyone, from the chill vibes of Vintage Spirits & Grill and the music scene at High Noon Saloon to the thumping dance floor at Five Nightclub.

Cask and Ale’s massive whisky and spirit selection, as well as the dive-y charms of Le Tigre Lounge, will appeal to Madison bar hoppers. If you enjoy the upmarket exclusivity of Merchant Madison’s food and beverages, there’s something for you as well.

What Can You Do in Madison, Wisconsin?

Even the most cosmopolitan newcomers are impressed by Madison’s robust arts and food sectors. World-class performers and speakers pass through the region on a regular basis. Meanwhile, Madison entices foodies with its locally made cheese and local beer from an expanding legion of microbreweries and gastropods like The Great Dane and Ale Asylum.

Drinks and dining are popular topics of conversation among amicable Macedonians, as are sports, especially if the topic is the University of Wisconsin-Division Madison’s I basketball team, the Wisconsin Badgers.

During the summer, boaters, canoes, haymakers, sailors, swimmers, and stand-up paddle boarders flock to Madison’s lakes. More lakes and state parks are just a short drive away. For those looking to venture outside of the urban area, regional bike lanes extend in all directions.

What Is the Most Convenient Way to Get Around Madison, WI?

Madisonians who reside in the city center frequently choose to walk and bike whenever possible, which is simple in the region’s pedestrian- and cycle-friendly downtown. Those who live outside of the city center frequently travel by automobile.

The UW Campus/Capitol area serves as the heart of Madison’s vast bus system, but routes span the majority of the region. For public school pupils, the region operates a distinct bus route. During peak hours, there are many routes and buses, but during off-hours and on weekends, riders may be left waiting.

Dane County Regional Airport is about a 20-minute drive from downtown and serves more than a dozen major domestic hubs, including New York City, Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Chicago. Intercity charter buses also serve the city.

Who Resides in Madison, Wisconsin?

Madison’s casual atmosphere appeals to young professionals and families, as well as U-Madison students and seniors. Despite the fact that it is a highly educated region, the poverty rate is around 20%.

Madison is one of the most educated cities in the country, thanks to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Edge wood College, and Madison Area Technical College. More than 95 percent of residents over the age of 25 have completed high school. However, the racial education gap is fairly high among elementary school children.

A little less than half of the population is affiliated with a religion, and the majority of this group identifies as Catholic.

How Does it Feel to Live in Madison, Wisconsin?

Madison, Wisconsin, radiates the casual, down-to-earth attitude you’d expect from the capital of America’s Fairyland, set against a backdrop of high-tech corporations and respected academic institutions. Macedonians can feast on meals prepared by award-winning chefs and watch performances by national and international artists and actors on any given night. The next day, Madison residents may buy produce, meats, and baked products at the Dane County Farmers Market, where they can also get breakfast and coffee at places like Marigold Kitchen and Michelangelo’s Coffee House.

Madison, a hub for the healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing industries, has steadily attracted additional residents over the last decade and is expanding to accommodate and entertain these newcomers. Developers are fast constructing mixed-use luxury residences with trendy eateries and coffee shops on the bottom floors. Madison’s fine dining, micro brews, and specialty drink alternatives are always expanding.

It is uncommon to come across a native Madison, as it is in New York City. Some people who have migrated went to U-Madison and never left. Others moved to Madison in search of work. Nonetheless, Madison’s small-town charm shows through.


So, this is all about what you should know before moving to Madison. We hope that you have found this post helpful. We have provided the calculated cost of all living necessities, which you should consider. So, get your bags packed!

About the author

Indu has been educator since last 10 years. She can find all kind of scholarship opportunities in the USA and beyond. She also teach college courses online to help students become better. She is one of the very rare scholarship administrator and her work is amazing.