These Are The 10 Best Chicago Suburbs For 2018


We analyzed over 165 places around Chicago to identify the most in demand places to live.

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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:

  1. Western Springs (Photos | Homes)
  2. Kenilworth (Photos | Homes)
  3. Wilmette (Photos | Homes)
  4. Winnetka (Photos | Homes)
  5. River Forest (Homes)
  6. Glencoe (Photos | Homes)
  7. Deerfield (Photos | Homes)
  8. Hinsdale (Photos | Homes)
  9. Clarendon Hills (Photos | Homes)
  10. 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.

For more Illinois reading, check out:

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

Western Springs, Illinois

Population: 13,133
Unemployment 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.

2. Kenilworth

Kenilworth, Illinois

Source: Public domain

Population: 2,613
Unemployment 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.

3. Wilmette

Wilmette, Illinois

Population: 27,367
Unemployment 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.

4. Winnetka

Winnetka, Illinois

Population: 12,437
Unemployment 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, Illinois

Population: 11,217
Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
Median Home Price: $574,600
Median Income: $103,622
More on River Forest: Real Estate | Data | Add A Comment
Coming in as the fifth best is 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.

6. Glencoe

Glencoe, Illinois

Population: 8,870
Unemployment 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.

7. Deerfield

Deerfield, Illinois

Population: 18,686
Unemployment Rate: 3.7%
Median Home Price: $508,800
Median Income: $143,729
More on Deerfield: Real Estate | Data | Add A Comment
The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Deerfield.

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.

8. Hinsdale

Hinsdale, Illinois

Population: 17,438
Unemployment 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

Clarendon Hills, Illinois

Population: 8,641
Unemployment Rate: 2.8%
Median Home Price: $485,900
Median Income: $111,981
More on Clarendon Hills: Real Estate | Data | Add A Comment
Is ‘Everything Better In Clarendon Hills?’

Almost.

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.

10. Northbrook

Northbrook, Illinois

Population: 33,538
Unemployment 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.

For more Illinois reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Chicago Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Western Springs 13,133 2.7% $530,800 $147,361
2 Kenilworth 2,613 4.7% $1,095,600 $211,023
3 Wilmette 27,367 4.0% $636,900 $138,651
4 Winnetka 12,437 2.9% $989,600 $207,857
5 River Forest 11,217 3.4% $574,600 $103,622
6 Glencoe 8,870 1.5% $891,300 $185,320
7 Deerfield 18,686 3.7% $508,800 $143,729
8 Hinsdale 17,438 5.1% $859,400 $173,558
9 Clarendon Hills 8,641 2.8% $485,900 $111,981
10 Northbrook 33,538 3.5% $519,300 $115,243
11 Park Ridge 37,567 3.9% $397,400 $92,474
12 Inverness 7,844 4.4% $616,500 $172,949
13 La Grange 15,688 5.5% $446,100 $105,417
14 Lake Forest 18,881 4.6% $831,800 $162,117
15 Elmhurst 45,742 5.2% $381,500 $100,671
16 Buffalo Grove 41,554 5.1% $299,600 $101,376
17 Long Grove 8,065 4.6% $652,100 $184,208
18 Glenview 46,559 4.3% $478,400 $102,009
19 Winfield 9,543 4.3% $292,700 $96,849
20 Oak Brook 7,988 3.3% $825,400 $144,286
21 Northfield 5,374 4.7% $597,900 $125,636
22 Naperville 145,789 5.6% $388,400 $110,676
23 Mokena 19,839 5.1% $289,400 $98,662
24 Burr Ridge 10,736 4.5% $645,400 $126,771
25 Indian Head Park 3,823 1.2% $237,300 $82,219
26 La Grange Park 13,596 6.2% $321,200 $85,671
27 Arlington Heights 75,721 5.1% $322,400 $79,979
28 Glen Ellyn 27,894 6.0% $410,800 $101,967
29 Wheaton 53,568 5.6% $342,000 $91,241
30 Highland Park 29,780 5.2% $534,500 $130,355
31 South Barrington 4,766 6.4% $804,800 $184,141
32 Lincolnshire 7,291 5.0% $476,600 $102,364
33 Oak Park 51,989 6.9% $359,100 $82,826
34 St. John 15,777 3.2% $257,000 $98,545
35 Lincolnwood 12,637 4.5% $379,500 $96,222
36 Darien 22,232 4.5% $298,400 $82,255
37 Riverside 8,779 7.4% $387,100 $100,696
38 New Lenox 25,347 5.8% $273,800 $102,273
39 Frankfort 18,415 6.1% $351,200 $113,250
40 Downers Grove 49,555 6.1% $331,600 $85,171
41 Palos Park 4,934 4.1% $371,000 $77,304
42 Riverwoods 3,759 7.2% $685,200 $187,857
43 Homer Glen 24,385 4.9% $298,100 $92,054
44 Roselle 22,911 5.0% $237,300 $79,040
45 Lemont 16,587 6.2% $342,500 $89,524
46 Flossmoor 9,215 9.3% $223,500 $87,179
47 Brookfield 18,966 5.1% $227,400 $75,336
48 Willow Springs 5,677 4.7% $347,400 $81,926
49 Olympia Fields 4,888 7.9% $233,400 $96,377
50 Orland Park 58,612 5.9% $273,100 $85,580
51 Evanston 75,472 6.2% $356,600 $71,317
52 Morton Grove 23,413 5.0% $283,700 $75,797
53 Lisle 22,989 6.4% $334,400 $79,819
54 Orland Hills 7,241 8.4% $221,600 $76,311
55 Schaumburg 74,366 5.2% $230,800 $75,658
56 Woodridge 33,331 5.0% $249,400 $76,858
57 Lombard 44,025 5.9% $240,600 $73,201
58 Palos Heights 12,544 7.8% $275,000 $80,077
59 Mount Prospect 54,552 5.3% $296,500 $69,517
60 Itasca 8,502 5.2% $282,300 $82,269
61 Bloomingdale 22,221 4.8% $281,000 $76,757
62 Lockport 25,096 6.0% $212,400 $79,148
63 Westchester 16,719 6.3% $217,100 $72,470
64 Willowbrook 8,603 6.4% $215,300 $67,047
65 Willowbrook 8,603 6.4% $215,300 $67,047
66 Tinley Park 57,125 5.4% $220,400 $76,022
67 Hoffman Estates 51,727 5.1% $252,600 $88,733
68 Evergreen Park 19,849 6.6% $180,400 $65,554
69 Dyer 16,133 7.2% $191,400 $78,043
70 Monee 5,098 5.5% $148,100 $69,381
71 Palatine 69,098 5.6% $265,800 $75,066
72 Oakbrook Terrace 2,453 4.1% $278,000 $71,364
73 Norridge 15,023 5.8% $265,100 $59,946
74 Oak Forest 28,055 7.3% $182,800 $75,563
75 Schererville 28,899 5.1% $208,000 $69,525
76 Skokie 64,873 6.7% $282,300 $68,015
77 Carol Stream 40,228 6.9% $228,500 $73,104
78 Homewood 19,280 7.0% $159,500 $71,653
79 Villa Park 21,977 6.0% $229,400 $71,724
80 Crete 8,215 6.3% $163,800 $68,398
81 Des Plaines 58,755 5.7% $238,900 $64,582
82 Munster 23,103 7.4% $212,900 $70,894
83 Warrenville 13,415 5.9% $194,300 $80,686
84 Streamwood 40,552 7.6% $170,700 $76,639
85 Westmont 25,149 8.6% $287,500 $55,684
86 Highwood 5,377 2.8% $350,600 $54,189
87 Bolingbrook 74,320 5.6% $202,900 $80,285
88 Prospect Heights 16,331 3.8% $265,100 $63,150
89 Oak Lawn 56,774 8.8% $187,300 $58,707
90 North Riverside 6,983 9.7% $217,700 $59,324
91 Berkeley 5,201 5.5% $166,100 $69,938
92 Niles 29,628 6.2% $257,100 $54,027
93 Countryside 5,965 5.1% $230,300 $53,750
94 Rolling Meadows 23,377 6.9% $220,400 $65,546
95 Palos Hills 17,545 6.0% $189,300 $57,744
96 Forest Park 14,137 9.5% $205,500 $51,552
97 Stickney 6,778 4.5% $167,400 $60,910
98 Harwood Heights 8,628 7.2% $239,900 $51,365
99 Elmwood Park 24,845 7.9% $222,800 $53,947
100 Midlothian 14,830 10.6% $150,200 $63,186

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