Madison is the capital of the U. S. state of Wisconsin and the seat of Dane County. As of July 1, 2018, Madison's estimated population of 258,054 made it the second-largest city in Wisconsin by population, after Milwaukee, and the 81st-largest in the United States.
The city forms the core of the Madison Metropolitan Area which includes Dane County and neighboring Iowa, Green, and Columbia counties for a population of 654,230. Located on an isthmus between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, the city is home to the University of Wisconsin–Madison, the Wisconsin State Capitol, Henry Vilas Zoo, lakes, and an extensive network of parks and bike trails. Madison has historically been a center for progressive political activity, protests, and demonstrations. The presence of the University of Wisconsin–Madison (the largest employer in the state) as well as other educational institutions has a significant impact on the economy, culture, and demographics of Madison. Madison is a growing technology economy and the region is home to the headquarters of Epic Systems, American Family Insurance, American Girl, Sub-Zero, Lands' End, a regional office for Google, the University Research Park, as well as many biotech and health systems startups. A 2018 report ranked Madison 14th among the top fifteen cities worldwide for venture capital deals per capita. Madison is home to eight National Historic Landmarks, including one UNESCO World Heritage Site.