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: 33
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: 40
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: 38
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 48.0%
More on Winnetka: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Winnetka (/wntk/) 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: 62
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 (19 km) 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: 47
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: 45
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.[according to whom?]

7. Palos Heights

Palos Heights, IL

Population: 12,544
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 43
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 19.0%
More on Palos Heights: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

8. Waterloo

Waterloo, IL

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

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