Big city living isn’t for everyone–but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.
There’s the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There’s traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing–pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you’re looking at.
But that’s where the suburbs come in–they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.
Of course, not all suburbs of Chicago are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…
Here are the 10 best suburbs around Chicago for 2018:
- Western Springs (Photos | Homes)
- Kenilworth (Photos | Homes)
- Wilmette (Photos | Homes)
- Winnetka (Photos | Homes)
- River Forest (Homes)
- Glencoe (Photos | Homes)
- Deerfield (Photos | Homes)
- Hinsdale (Photos | Homes)
- Clarendon Hills (Photos | Homes)
- Northbrook (Photos | Homes)
If you happen to be a resident of Western Springs, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.
We’ll tell you what makes each of these 10 Chicago ‘burbs better than the rest–but first, a bit about our methodology.
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Editor’s Note: If you see a slight difference between the best in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it’s because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.
How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Chicago for 2018
Figuring out the best ‘burbs around Chicago was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:
- Low unemployment rate
- High Median household incomes
- Population density (lots of things to do)
- High home values
- A lot of college educated people
- Low poverty
- High rate of insured families
Then we used the newest American Community Survey data (2012-2016) to research each suburb.
FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Chicago.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 165 suburbs to evaluate around Chicago.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 165 in each category, where 1 was the “best.
Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.
And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the “Best Suburb near Chicago.” We’re lookin’ at you, Western Springs.
Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.
1. Western Springs
Population: 13,133Unemployment Rate: 2.7%
Median Home Price: $530,800
Median Income: $147,361
More on Western Springs: Real Estate | Data | Add A Comment
Western Springs is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Chicago area. We’ll tell you the good about “Awesome Western Springs.”
Everyone here is rich; families average $147,361 a year, which is the 10th highest in the Chicago region. And only 2.7% are out of work. Homes average more than $530,800 each.
Population: 2,613Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
Median Home Price: $1,095,600
Median Income: $211,023
More on Kenilworth: Real Estate | Data | Add A Comment
Kenilworth is the second best ‘burb we looked at near Chicago for 2018.
It ranks 1st for incomes in the area and only 1.6% of residents lack insurance, good for 4th best.
Population: 27,367Unemployment Rate: 4.0%
Median Home Price: $636,900
Median Income: $138,651
More on Wilmette: Real Estate | Data | Add A Comment
Here in Wilmette, it’s really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you’ll see in the Chicago metro area.
The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.
But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Wilmette.
Population: 12,437Unemployment Rate: 2.9%
Median Home Price: $989,600
Median Income: $207,857
More on Winnetka: Real Estate | Data | Add A Comment
Winnetka ranks as the 4th best suburb of Chicago for 2018.
You won’t find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Winnetka and the schools are some of the best around.
5. River Forest
River Forest gets kudos for having the 14th most expensive homes in the Chicago area, where houses sell for an average of $574,600. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.
Population: 8,870Unemployment Rate: 1.5%
Median Home Price: $891,300
Median Income: $185,320
More on Glencoe: Real Estate | Data | Add A Comment
Glencoe is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here’s why.
Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 1.5% which is 2nd best in the area.
According to online reports, Glencoe is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Chicago area, meaning you need to get in soon.
Deerfield schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.
And, it’s only 24.3 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.
Population: 17,438Unemployment Rate: 5.1%
Median Home Price: $859,400
Median Income: $173,558
More on Hinsdale: Real Estate | Data | Add A Comment
Hinsdale is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.
A solid 2.9% of people lack insurance, good for 14th in the area.
9. Clarendon Hills
It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it’s really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.
Population: 33,538Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
Median Home Price: $519,300
Median Income: $115,243
More on Northbrook: Real Estate | Data | Add A Comment
And rounding out the top ten for 2018 is Northbrook.
This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It’s far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.
Welcome to the Best Chicago ‘Burbs of 2018
We said it once and we’ll say it again–life in the big city isn’t for everyone. At least not all the time.
So if you’re hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Chicago, but don’t want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.
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