Article Table Of Contents
Have you heard of Midwestern Hospitality?
Yes, it's a thing. And, yes, it's what makes Illinois one of the best states in the country. Now, if you talk to the flatlanders that call Illinois home, they would definitely agree that their hospitality is gold star worthy. They would also tell you, however, that there a ton of other qualities that make Illinois a state you should call home.
Take for instance the variety of delicacies the state has to offer. There is nothing like a loaded horseshoe or fried tenderloin after a long night of drinking. And you can't visit Chicago without trying Chicago's deep dish pizza. (Illinoisans have deemed it its own food group.) More importantly, if weren't for the Land of Lincoln, we wouldn't have Twinkies; and that, folks, would be a travesty.
When you think of Illinois, it's easy to think that the entire state revolves around Chicago. While that might be the case for most, here at HomeSnacks we know that there are many fantastic smaller places in Illinois that make it the best.
We also know that a Portillos' chili hot dog shouldn't be the only reason to move to the state Chicago calls home. So, we made sure to look at very important factors when determining the best places to call home in the Land of Lincoln -- low cost of living, strong economy, strong job market, and low crime to name a few.
Grab a slice of deep dish pizza and a pop and read on.
The 10 Best Places To Live In Illinois For 2020:
- Deerfield (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Western Springs (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Hinsdale (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Lake Bluff (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Winnetka (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Buffalo Grove (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Elburn (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Wilmette (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- Clarendon Hills (Photos | Homes For Sale)
- La Grange Park (Photos | Homes For Sale)
What city is the best place to live in Illinois for 2020? Well according to the US Census and FBI data we crunched, Deerfield is the best place to live in Illinois if you care about home values, low crime, and a high quality of life.
While not everyone can afford to live in our top ten best Illinois cities -- they come with a hefty Chicago price tag -- there are other amazing places in Illinois to call home. And lucky for you, we have found them.
If you didn't see your city in the top ten, don't freak out. We analyzed over 328 cities. Read on to see where your city landed and a detailed breakdown of each.
For more Illinois reading, check out:
- Best Counties To Live In Illinois
- Cheapest Places To Live In Illinois
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Illinois
The 10 Best Places To Live In Illinois For 2020
Just inland from Highland Park is Deerfield, a place where residents earn higher incomes and also enjoy great schools (District 109). Deerfield High School is always atop the state rankings when it comes to academics, and Deerfield is home to several leading technology and medical companies.
The crime rate is actually a lot lower in Deerfield than it is in Highland Park. Statistically, Deerfield is the 46th safest place you can live in Illinois.
Folks who live here get to enjoy "The Square", which is a large multi-use shopping center in the heart of downtown.
Western Springs ranks as the 2nd best place in Illinois for 2020. Let's take a look at why.
Western Springs has a lower crime rate than the cities mentioned above. Western Springs's cost of living is a tick higher, but families also earn much higher salaries - to the tune of $161,563 a year.
The knock? We can't really find one 🙂
Crime is something that doesn't happen very often in the Village of Hinsdale. Statistically the 24th safest place in the state, there were only 2 violent crimes in the entire city last year. And that might have been a couple of Packer fans who took things too far after a loss.
It's really beautiful in Hinsdale, and new homes continue to replace older homes. Resident earn $188,684 a year, and homes are valued at more than $878,700. And downtown Chicago is only a 20-minute train ride away.
What else could you possibly want if you're a Midwesterner who likes the city life?
Lake Bluff has a strong showing in our best places to live in Illinois analysis, coming it at 4th best.
It ranks highly like many others in the top ten for a low unemployment rate and high adjusted median income. It scored extra points relative to the top ten for its size and things to do.
If you're thinking of moving to Illinois, Lake Bluff is a great option.
If you want to live in Illinois, you can't go wrong if you decide to make the Winnetka area your home. However, everyone and their mother wants to live here.
Can you blame them? It's a beautiful place with really low crime, where a majority of residents are wealthy (a $220,577 median income will do that).
Plus, the residents are really involved with helping to make Winnetka as great as possible. You can't get it much better than in Winnetka.
We're probably going to see a pattern here. The Village of Buffalo Grove, another affluent Chicago suburb, also has great schools, low crime and a low unemployment rate.
But here's the kicker: The population here has actually gone down almost 3% in the last 15 years, despite recent gains in real estate prices.
Is it too expensive to live here, or is Buffalo Grove just a hidden gem that's gone under the radar?
Let's take a look at why Elburn is a great place to call home for 2020.
There's low crime in Elburn, and the residents here are gainfully employed (2.5% unemployment rate).
You can make Elburn your home for only $266,500 which won't be too hard on a $108,500 household salary.
The Village of Wilmette has it made. In fact, according to science, it's by far the best place to live in the state of Illinois.
The unemployment rate is the 106th lowest in the state at 4.4%, and residents make a pretty penny. Median incomes are $154,738, and the average cost of a home is $680,700. Which is an indication that lots of people want to live here.
Public school kids get a lot of attention. Students in District 39 get the 5th-highest amount of funding in the state, per student.
We're not the only ones to tout it here. This Chicago suburb on the banks of Lake Michigan was called the 7th-best place to raise kids by BusinessWeek Magazine a while back.
Crime is even lower in the Village of Clarendon Hills, a tiny little spot right next door to Hinsdale. There was not a single violent crime here in all of 2020. Unbelievably, it's only the 23rd-safest place you can live in Illinois.
The only real downside is affordability. Because the real estate prices are going through the roof, and the cost of living is 40% higher than the rest of the nation, it can be hard for a younger family to afford to live in Clarendon Hills.
We wouldn't be surprised to see CNN call La Grange Park one of the best places to live in the United States. Not only do the residents all make great livings, there's essentially no crime in the entire city. And the residents are very involved in the community.
They can't build homes fast enough here as it seems everyone wants a piece of La Grange Park.
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Illinois
The Pressing Question: Size
Before we even started to collect data, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Springfield with a population of 116,459 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn't fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke places to live into three tiers:
- Cities -- Populations over 5,000
- Towns -- Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
- Small Towns -- Populations below 1,000
This left us with 328 cities, 376 towns, and 620 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Illinois have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be 'the best'.
You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.
How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Illinois
Now that we had our set of cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Illinois across a number of criteria from one to 328, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title "Best Place To Live In Illinois".
The criteria we looked at were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Illinois? That would be Deerfield.
If your city or town isn't among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Illinois.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Deerfield at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Wrapping Up The Best Places When It Comes To Living In Illinois
If you're looking at areas in Illinois with the best economic situations, where there's lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Deerfield made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Illinois for 2020.
Best Towns To Live In Illinois
- Leland Grove (Pop. 1,625)
- Dunlap (Pop. 1,351)
- St. Joseph (Pop. 4,109)
- Germantown Hills (Pop. 3,491)
- Hudson (Pop. 1,704)
- Rochester (Pop. 3,687)
- Sherman (Pop. 4,404)
- Philo (Pop. 1,627)
- Kenilworth (Pop. 2,613)
- Forsyth (Pop. 3,421)
Best Small Towns To Live In Illinois
- Irwin (Pop. 79)
- Georgetown (Pop. 516)
- Indian Creek (Pop. 768)
- Ogden (Pop. 732)
- Bartelso (Pop. 619)
- Spaulding (Pop. 766)
- Downs (Pop. 971)
- Pesotum (Pop. 514)
- Goodfield (Pop. 931)
- McNabb (Pop. 305)
If you're curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Illinois according to the data:
- Riverdale (Pop. 12,786)
- Cahokia (Pop. 14,271)
- Centreville (Pop. 5,059)
For more Illinois reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Illinois
- Richest Cities In Illinois
- Safest Places In Illinois
- Worst Places To Live In Illinois