Madison is the capital of the U.S. state of Wisconsin and the county seat of Dane County. As of the 2010 census, Madison had a population of 233,209 making it the second largest city in Wisconsin, after Milwaukee, and the 81st largest in the United States. The city forms the core of the United States Census Bureau's Madison Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Dane County and neighboring Iowa and Columbia counties.
Madison was created in 1836, when former federal judge James Duane Doty purchased over a thousand acres (4 km²) of swamp and forest land on the isthmus between Lakes Mendota and Monona within the Four Lakes region, with the intention of building a city on the site. Madison was incorporated as a village in 1846, with a population of 626. When Wisconsin became a state in 1848, Madison remained the capital, and the following year it became host to the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Madison became a city in 1856, with a population of 6,863.
Wisconsin state government and the University of Wisconsin–Madison remain the top two Madison employers. However, Madison's economy today is evolving from a government-based economy to a consumer services and high-tech base, particularly in the health, biotech and advertising sectors. Beginning in the early 1990s, the city experienced a steady economic boom and has been less affected by recession. Many businesses are attracted to Madison's skill base, taking advantage of the area's high level of education. According to city-data.com, 48.2% of Madison's population over the age of 25 holds at least a bachelor's degree. Forbes magazine reported in 2004 that Madison has the highest percentage of individuals holding Ph.D.s in the United States.
Madison is home to companies such as Spectrum Brands (formerly Rayovac), Alliant Energy, American Family Insurance, American Girl (a subsidiary company of Mattel), the Credit Union National Association and its CUNA Mutual Group, University of Wisconsin Credit Union, Dean Health Systems, Pacific Cycle, and Sub-Zero & Wolf Appliance. Technology companies in the area include Netconcepts (recently purchased by Covario,) Telephone and Data Systems, TomoTherapy, Broadjam, Sonic Foundry, FSBO Madison, Raven Software, Human Head Studios, Epic Systems Corporation, and Berbee Information Networks. Many biotech firms exist there, including Panvera (now part of Invitrogen), Promega, and the Iceland-based Nimblegen. The contract research organisation Covance is a big employer in the area.