These Are The 10 Best Counties To Live In Illinois For 2018


Using science and data, we can tell you which counties in Illinois have the most for people looking to make the move to Illinois.

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Some of you might be asking yourself, at this very moment: is Illinois a good place?

The answer is unequivocally yes… if you know where to locate the best places to live in Illinois.

Lucky for you, we’re here to help you identify the best counties to live in the Prairie State based on the most recently available data from the Census. And this isn’t our first rodeo — we’ve been helping people find the best places to live in America for years.

So, the question becomes, if you wanted to relocate to the best pat of Illinois, where would you go? To answer that we looked at crime, cost of living, and demographic data for all 91 counties in the state.

After the analytic dust settled, we identified the 10 best counties to live in Prairie State for 2018:

  1. Mercer County (Photos)
  2. Woodford County (Photos)
  3. Jasper County (Photos)
  4. Piatt County (Photos)
  5. Kendall County (Photos)
  6. Shelby County (Photos)
  7. Monroe County (Photos)
  8. Hancock County (Photos)
  9. Menard County
  10. McHenry County (Photos)

Mercer County is the county to be when it comes to living the good life in Illinois. And you might want to avoid Alexander County if you can — at least according to the data.

So if you’re thinking of making the move Illinois, we’ve got you covered. Keep on reading for a detailed methodology.

Or, check out the best places to live in Illinois and the best places to raise a family in Illinois.

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How do you determine which Illinois county is the best?

To give you the best county in Illinois, we have to look at a handful of metrics that signal the quality of a place. To do that, we need to make some assumptions about what’s a ‘best county’ and what isn’t. And, for reference, we are trying to make the kind of argument you’d make at a bar using facts, don’t take this analysis to court.

With that in mind, we went to two of the best sources of data on the internet; the American Community Survey data and FBI Crime data for the most recent time period.

We paid particular attention to:

  • Violent Crime Rates
  • Property Crime Rates
  • Median Home Values
  • Median Income
  • Unemployment Rates
  • Adult Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty Rates

We then ranked each county in Illinois across each of the criteria from one to 91, with one being the best.

Taking the average rank across all criteria, we created a quality of life score with the county posting the lowest overall score being the ‘Best County To Live In Illinois’.

The result is some of the safest, quiet, and best counties to raise a family in the Prairie State.

Read on to see why Mercer County is the best county, while Alexander County is probably in contention for being the worst county in Illinois.

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1. Mercer County

Aledo, IL

Biggest Place: Aledo
Population: 15,971
Median Income: $55,750 (21st best)
Median Home Price: $98,900 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.1% (27th best)
More on Mercer County: PhotosData

2. Woodford County

Eureka, IL

Biggest Place: Eureka
Population: 39,123
Median Income: $68,040 (9th best)
Median Home Price: $158,600 (61st best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (13th best)
More on Woodford County: PhotosData

3. Jasper County

Newton, IL

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Newton
Population: 9,592
Median Income: $56,305 (18th best)
Median Home Price: $98,700 (4th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (1st best)
More on Jasper County: PhotosData

4. Piatt County

Monticello, IL

Biggest Place: Monticello
Population: 16,469
Median Income: $69,160 (8th best)
Median Home Price: $126,200 (75th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.3% (32nd best)
More on Piatt County: PhotosData

5. Kendall County

Aurora, IL

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Aurora
Population: 121,452
Median Income: $85,736 (1st best)
Median Home Price: $205,500 (56th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.3% (13th best)
More on Kendall County: PhotosData

6. Shelby County

Pana, IL

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Pana
Population: 22,011
Median Income: $48,572 (50th best)
Median Home Price: $86,200 (19th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.4% (17th best)
More on Shelby County: PhotosData

7. Monroe County

Columbia, IL

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Waterloo
Population: 33,703
Median Income: $72,956 (6th best)
Median Home Price: $192,600 (57th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.6% (3rd best)
More on Monroe County: PhotosData

8. Hancock County

Carthage, IL

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Hamilton
Population: 18,633
Median Income: $50,077 (41st best)
Median Home Price: $84,700 (21st best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.8% (43rd best)
More on Hancock County: PhotosData

9. Menard County

Athens, IL

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Petersburg
Population: 12,576
Median Income: $60,420 (13th best)
Median Home Price: $132,700 (71st best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.7% (21st best)
More on Menard County: Data

10. Mchenry County

Barrington Hills, IL

Source: Public domain

Biggest Place: Crystal Lake
Population: 307,083
Median Income: $79,836 (4th best)
Median Home Price: $208,500 (55th best)
Unemployment Rate: 6.5% (36th best)
More on Mchenry County: PhotosData

There You Have It – The Best Counties In Illinois To Call Home For 2018

It turns out living in Illinois can vary from one part of the state to the next — who woulda thought?

But now you the know the really good parts and the parts to avoid and that’s why you came here to learn at the end of the day. And for that, you are welcome.

Here’s a look at the worst counties in Illinois according to the data:

  1. Alexander County
  2. Vermilion County
  3. Greene County

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Counties In Illinois

County Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price
Mercer County 1 15,971 $55,750 $98,900
Woodford County 2 39,123 $68,040 $158,600
Jasper County 3 9,592 $56,305 $98,700
Piatt County 4 16,469 $69,160 $126,200
Kendall County 5 121,452 $85,736 $205,500
Shelby County 6 22,011 $48,572 $86,200
Monroe County 7 33,703 $72,956 $192,600
Hancock County 8 18,633 $50,077 $84,700
Menard County 9 12,576 $60,420 $132,700
Mchenry County 10 307,083 $79,836 $208,500
Mclean County 11 173,254 $63,420 $161,800
Will County 12 685,378 $77,507 $210,600
Grundy County 13 50,338 $67,162 $183,200
Clinton County 14 37,858 $63,929 $141,200
Tazewell County 15 135,400 $60,178 $137,200
Randolph County 16 32,934 $48,343 $97,800
Jo Daviess County 17 22,186 $54,702 $140,700
Dupage County 18 930,514 $81,521 $283,500
Marshall County 19 12,060 $54,189 $104,200
Effingham County 20 34,356 $52,977 $132,900
Christian County 21 33,888 $47,417 $85,200
Whiteside County 22 57,155 $49,151 $99,500
Logan County 23 29,820 $52,676 $97,500
Carroll County 24 14,793 $50,052 $98,300
Washington County 25 14,369 $54,936 $108,600
Scott County 26 5,169 $46,210 $82,600
Ford County 27 13,758 $49,257 $97,300
Cumberland County 28 10,890 $44,281 $91,600
Lee County 29 34,718 $55,067 $114,800
Henry County 30 49,681 $54,757 $112,700
Lake County 31 702,890 $79,886 $246,700
Livingston County 32 37,278 $54,074 $110,400
Clay County 33 13,466 $45,984 $76,500
Montgomery County 34 29,301 $45,173 $80,000
Bond County 35 17,137 $52,159 $107,200
Johnson County 36 12,866 $44,179 $96,000
Morgan County 37 34,801 $47,760 $99,300
Clark County 38 16,089 $48,693 $84,600
Bureau County 39 33,822 $51,425 $105,300
Dekalb County 40 104,458 $56,076 $166,000
Moultrie County 41 14,915 $51,432 $101,600
Kane County 42 526,615 $71,602 $215,800
Stephenson County 43 46,283 $45,624 $98,700
Jersey County 44 22,441 $52,738 $129,900
Edwards County 45 6,612 $47,035 $71,500
Wabash County 46 11,587 $46,871 $80,200
Schuyler County 47 7,205 $48,396 $80,100
Cass County 48 13,068 $48,887 $77,200
Perry County 49 21,595 $43,308 $80,600
Crawford County 50 19,441 $47,364 $82,000
Macoupin County 51 46,482 $52,337 $95,500
Champaign County 52 206,420 $48,899 $151,400
Madison County 53 266,759 $54,573 $129,200
Ogle County 54 52,034 $55,832 $138,500
Adams County 55 66,949 $48,065 $116,400
Richland County 56 16,072 $45,597 $84,500
Sangamon County 57 198,639 $56,742 $133,400
Fulton County 58 36,047 $46,183 $82,100
Iroquois County 59 28,814 $47,823 $95,100
Warren County 60 17,611 $44,067 $82,500
Wayne County 61 16,517 $46,903 $78,000
Pike County 62 16,054 $40,157 $74,800
Douglas County 63 19,770 $52,984 $101,700
Union County 64 17,458 $45,464 $94,200
Gallatin County 65 5,325 $41,269 $67,200
Edgar County 66 17,828 $46,440 $79,300
Lasalle County 67 111,935 $51,684 $123,200
Mason County 68 13,931 $43,125 $83,100
Lawrence County 69 16,582 $42,650 $70,800
Macon County 70 108,404 $47,477 $95,700
Boone County 71 53,656 $60,063 $146,600
Coles County 72 52,802 $38,800 $92,800
Rock Island County 73 146,536 $50,208 $114,600
Williamson County 74 67,336 $45,902 $101,700
Peoria County 75 186,818 $51,632 $128,800
Mcdonough County 76 31,727 $41,484 $93,300
Knox County 77 51,752 $40,605 $80,100
Winnebago County 78 288,896 $49,468 $116,200
Franklin County 79 39,503 $39,507 $68,300
Kankakee County 80 111,493 $54,697 $138,900
Massac County 81 14,883 $42,706 $82,300
Marion County 82 38,503 $43,427 $72,000
Cook County 83 5,227,575 $56,902 $219,800
Saline County 84 24,659 $40,290 $71,200
Fayette County 85 22,025 $44,745 $81,400
St. Clair County 86 265,569 $50,006 $120,500
Jefferson County 87 38,523 $43,467 $88,500
Jackson County 88 59,188 $33,845 $109,000
Greene County 89 13,390 $42,880 $77,100
Vermilion County 90 79,613 $43,552 $75,800
Alexander County 91 7,051 $29,071 $50,100

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