10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Illinois For 2018


We used science and data to determine which cities in Illinois have the best set up for children: a lot to do, good schools, and no crime.

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If you’re like the rest of us, you’re looking for the perfect place for your family. But you have a strict criteria; the city has to be safe, affordable, and stimulating. Basically, the place you move – or even visit – has to be outright perfect.

Is that attainable? Perhaps not, but we’ll get you as close as we can.

Promise.

According to the United States Census, the number of American families who move is trending downwards Why is that? Perhaps it has to do with the ‘safety net’ factor: We get comfortable where we live, and we’re afraid to try a new move. What if the schools are bad? What if it’s dangerous?

Well, we can pretty much guarantee that if you choose the cities we’re mentioning below, you won’t lose any sleep whatsoever.

So, where are the best cities for families in Illinois? We’ve got the answers here.

These are the best cities to raise a family in the Prairie State:

  1. Plano (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Western Springs (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Winnetka (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Columbia (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Hinsdale (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Lake Forest (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Palos Heights (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Waterloo (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Barrington (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Deerfield (Photos | Homes For Sale)

If you’re thinking of making a move to Illinois, and want a family-friendly place, we’ve got you covered. And if you already have kids, we’re surprised you made it this far into the article and hope your little ones give you a couple of more minutes of free time.

Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out the best places to live in Illinois and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in Illinois.

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How do you determine which place is best for families in Illinois anyways?

To give you the places in Illinois which are best for families, we have to look at a handful of metrics. Of course, we want to measure the type of people who live in each city, and make some assumptions about what’s family-friendly and what isn’t.

So we researched the internet for a database that contains all that information.

How we crunched the family friendly numbers for the Prairie State

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using U.S. Census data produced for the state of Illinois, we looked at every single city in the state. We paid particular attention to:

  • Crime (Both violent and property)
  • Quality of local schools
  • Distance to a major city without necessarily being in it
  • % of households with children
  • Family-friendly amenities nearby (museums, libraries and colleges)

We then gave each city a Family Score.

The higher the score, the better the city is for families. We also limited our results to cities with populations over 10,000 people. For Illinois, that meant a total of 201 cities.

Read on to see why Plano is where all the families are headed, while Urbana is probably a place made for singles.

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1. Plano

Plano, IL

Population: 11,929
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 54
Closest Major City: Aurora
Households with kids: 47.9%
More on Plano: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Plano is a city in Kendall County, Illinois, United States near Aurora, with a population of 10,856 at the 2010 census, nearly doubling its size from 2000. The city was home to the Plano Harvester Company in the late nineteenth century, as well as the Plano Molding Company more recently. In 2011, downtown Plano was used as a set for Man of Steel.

2. Western Springs

Western Springs, IL

Population: 13,133
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 55
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 42.9%
More on Western Springs: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Western Springs is a village located in Cook County, Illinois, United States and is a suburb of Chicago. As of the 2010 census, the village had a total population of 12,975. It is twinned with Rugeley, United Kingdom.

3. Winnetka

Winnetka, IL

Population: 12,437
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 63
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 48.0%
More on Winnetka: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Winnetka is a village in Cook County, Illinois, United States, located 16 miles north of downtown Chicago. The population was 12,187 at the 2010 census. The village is one of the wealthiest places in the nation in terms of household income, and the richest in Illinois.

4. Columbia

Columbia, IL

Source: Public domain

Population: 10,193
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 61
Closest Major City: St. Louis
Households with kids: 35.2%
More on Columbia: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Columbia is a city in Monroe and St. Clair counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, about 12 miles south of St. Louis, Missouri. The population was 9,707 at the 2010 census.

5. Hinsdale

Hinsdale, IL

Population: 17,438
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 44
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 47.0%
More on Hinsdale: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

6. Lake Forest

Lake Forest, IL

Population: 18,881
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 49
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 34.0%
More on Lake Forest: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Lake Forest is a city located in Lake County, Illinois, United States. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 19,375. The city is along the shore of Lake Michigan, and is a part of the Chicago metropolitan area and the North Shore. Lake Forest was founded around Lake Forest College and was laid out as a town in 1857 as a stop for travelers making their way south to Chicago. The Lake Forest City Hall, designed by Charles Sumner Frost, was completed in 1898 and originally housed the fire department, the Lake Forest Library, and city offices. Lake Forest is among the wealthiest cities in the United States.

7. Palos Heights

Palos Heights, IL

Population: 12,544
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 58
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 19.0%
More on Palos Heights: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Palos Heights is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Palos Heights students can readily commute to Moraine Valley Community College in nearby Palos Hills. Moraine Valley serves the local residents through classes, seminars, lectures, concerts, plays, and other activities. Trinity Christian College is also located in Palos Heights.

8. Waterloo

Waterloo, IL

Population: 10,197
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 40
Closest Major City: St. Louis
Households with kids: 33.7%
More on Waterloo: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Waterloo is a city in Monroe County, Illinois, United States. The population was 9,811 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Monroe County.

9. Barrington

Barrington, IL

Source: Public domain

Population: 10,449
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 65
Closest Major City: Aurora
Households with kids: 38.3%
More on Barrington: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Barrington is an affluent suburban village in Cook County and Lake County, Illinois, United States. The population was 10,327 at the 2010 census. Located approximately 32 miles northwest of Chicago, the area features wetlands, forest preserves, parks, and horse trails in a country-suburban setting.

10. Deerfield

Deerfield, IL

Population: 18,686
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 59
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 41.6%
More on Deerfield: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Deerfield is a village in Lake County, Illinois, United States, approximately 25 miles north of Chicago with a small portion extending into Cook County, Illinois. The population was 18,225 at the 2010 census, a decline of 175 from 2000.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Raise A Family In Illinois

If you’re looking for a breakdown of cities in Illinois ranked by criteria that most would agree make a place a great spot for families, this is an accurate list.

Here’s a look at the best cities for singles Illinois according to the data:

  1. Urbana
  2. Country Club Hills
  3. Lansing

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places For Families In Illinois

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Plano 11,929 44
2 Western Springs 13,133 48
3 Winnetka 12,437 61
4 Columbia 10,193 59
5 Hinsdale 17,438 47
6 Lake Forest 18,881 70
7 Palos Heights 12,544 41
8 Waterloo 10,197 45
9 Barrington 10,449 58
10 Deerfield 18,686 55
11 Yorkville 18,436 59
12 Wheaton 53,568 53
13 Geneva 21,732 64
14 La Grange 15,688 58
15 Lisle 22,989 61
16 Romeoville 39,739 42
17 River Forest 11,217 59
18 Palos Hills 17,545 58
19 Channahon 12,329 60
20 Troy 10,041 33
21 Oswego 33,245 54
22 West Chicago 27,420 63
23 Elmhurst 45,742 45
24 Glen Ellyn 27,894 34
25 Brookfield 18,966 37
26 Warrenville 13,415 38
27 Lemont 16,587 56
28 La Grange Park 13,596 34
29 Round Lake 18,425 54
30 Cary 17,946 62
31 River Grove 10,248 42
32 Libertyville 20,435 58
33 Edwardsville 25,044 48
34 Plainfield 41,881 60
35 Chatham 12,569 52
36 Naperville 145,789 40
37 Frankfort 18,415 34
38 Bourbonnais 18,607 46
39 Park Ridge 37,567 34
40 Glen Carbon 12,782 53
41 Washington 16,102 57
42 Grayslake 21,053 53
43 Wood Dale 13,908 35
44 Bartlett 41,475 60
45 Roselle 22,911 57
46 Wilmette 27,367 44
47 Highland Park 29,780 43
48 Campton Hills 11,500 38
49 Mokena 19,839 47
50 Mundelein 31,550 43
51 Homer Glen 24,385 48
52 Dixon 14,802 60
53 Sycamore 17,611 38
54 Palatine 69,098 46
55 New Lenox 25,347 59
56 Canton 14,397 51
57 Elgin 111,919 48
58 South Holland 22,040 43
59 Lyons 10,571 54
60 Crystal Lake 40,475 57
61 Northlake 12,339 59
62 Mount Prospect 54,552 41
63 Algonquin 30,413 33
64 Batavia 26,413 61
65 Des Plaines 58,755 45
66 Antioch 14,342 60
67 Bensenville 18,431 51
68 Summit 11,409 50
69 Downers Grove 49,555 36
70 Melrose Park 25,422 53
71 Morton Grove 23,413 52
72 Villa Park 21,977 53
73 Lincoln 14,253 57
74 Worth 10,776 61
75 Taylorville 11,081 61
76 North Aurora 17,612 44
77 Westmont 25,149 49
78 Glenview 46,559 36
79 Huntley 25,831 59
80 Lake Zurich 19,950 59
81 Carol Stream 40,228 46
82 Westchester 16,719 53
83 Hanover Park 38,331 59
84 Evanston 75,472 50
85 Lindenhurst 14,380 46
86 Aurora 200,907 47
87 Franklin Park 18,290 42
88 Morris 13,930 37
89 Glendale Heights 34,395 45
90 Pontiac 12,016 66
91 Shorewood 16,539 56
92 Bolingbrook 74,320 32
93 Schiller Park 11,813 41
94 Prospect Heights 16,331 39
95 Cahokia 14,574 60
96 Darien 22,232 32
97 Oak Park 51,989 46
98 Lake In The Hills 28,908 53
99 Rolling Meadows 23,377 60
100 Elmwood Park 24,845 35

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