Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the seat of Dane County. As of July 1, 2017, Madison's estimated population of 255,214 made it the second-largest city in Wisconsin, after Milwaukee, and the 82nd-largest in the United States. The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Dane County and neighboring Iowa, Green, and Columbia counties. The Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area's 2010 population was 568,593.
Founded in 1829 on an isthmus between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota, Madison was named the capital of the Wisconsin Territory in 1836 and became the capital of the state of Wisconsin when it was admitted to the Union in 1848. That same year, the University of Wisconsin was founded in Madison and the state government and university have become the city's two largest employers. The city is also known for its lakes, restaurants, and extensive network of parks and bike trails, with much of the park system designed by landscape architect John Nolen.
Since the 1960s, Madison has been a center of political liberalism. Though Wisconsin is regarded as a "battleground" or "swing" state in elections, Madison and Dane County have supported every Democratic Party presidential nominee since John F. Kennedy in 1960, with the party's most recent nominees, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, carrying Dane County with over 70 per cent of the vote in 2008, 2012, and 2016.
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