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


We used science and data to determine the best places to live in the Prairie State.

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This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. Don’t freak out that we updated it for 2018.

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Where are the best places in the state of Illinois?

To the untrained eye they are the places that have awesome economies. They’re the places in Prairie State where people have the best jobs, residents are all above average, and the sun shines the most.

However, here at HomeSnacks, we don’t trust the untrained eye and instead look to data to understand the best places to call home in Illinois.

There might be some surprises on this list, but when you look at the unbiased data, it’s hard to argue against.

After analyzing 327 places in Illinois, we came up with this list of the best places:

  1. Western Springs (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Deerfield (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Winnetka (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Northbrook (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Wilmette (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Buffalo Grove (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  7. Hinsdale (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Libertyville (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Winfield (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Clarendon Hills (Photos | Homes For Sale)

Well, it looks like you should check out Western Springs if you’re thinking of moving to Illinois — it’s the best the Prairie State has to offer according to the data.

Follow along as we provide more insight into how we reached our overall best places to live in Illinois.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Illinois reading, check out:

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 116,745 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 327 cities, 376 towns, and 620 small towns.

We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best places have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the following analysis on towns and then again for small towns.

You can see those two top tens at the bottom of the post.

How We Calculated The Best Place 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 327, 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
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data.

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 Western Springs at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Western Springs, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 13,133
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $530,800 (14th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.7% (4th best)
More on Western Springs: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Western Springs broke into the top ten best places to live in Illinois on the back of a low unemployment and a quality schools system.

It placed 4th overall for its low unemployment rate and the 9th highest median income of any place in our analysis.

However, it only has the 244th shortest average commute time of any place in Illinois.

Deerfield, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 18,686
Rank Last Year: 2 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $508,800 (16th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.7% (16th best)
More on Deerfield: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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 33rd 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.

Winnetka, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 12,437
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $989,600 (1st best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.9% (8th best)
More on Winnetka: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Winnetka has some of the most employed as well as the highest earning residents in the entire state of Illinois. Factor in a very low crime rate, and this Winnetka is a real gem.

With high incomes comes a high cost of living, which can been seen in the home prices. Additionally, the commute time for Winnetka residents to work is significantly higher than average.

Northbrook, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 33,538
Rank Last Year: 9 (Up 5)
Median Home Value: $519,300 (15th best)
Unemployment Rate: 3.5% (14th best)
More on Northbrook: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Northbrook is another village on Chicago’s North Shore. The unemployment rate here is 14th lowest in the entire state at 3.5%. Other factors that make Northbrook so desirable is the solid education and home prices. Several school districts serve the area, and, combined, the student-teacher ratio is the 8th-lowest in Illinois. That means lots of ‘me’ time for your kids.

Homes are valued at $519,300, and parents earn a combined $115,243 a year

There’s nothing like the American dream.

Wilmette, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 27,367
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 2)
Median Home Value: $636,900 (8th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (25th best)
More on Wilmette: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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 25th lowest in the state at 4.0%, and residents make a pretty penny. Median incomes are $138,651, and the average cost of a home is $636,900. 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.

Buffalo Grove, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 41,554
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 2)
Median Home Value: $299,600 (45th best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.1% (66th best)
More on Buffalo Grove: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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?

Hinsdale, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 17,438
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 3)
Median Home Value: $859,400 (3rd best)
Unemployment Rate: 5.1% (66th best)
More on Hinsdale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Crime is something that doesn’t happen very often in the Village of Hinsdale. Statistically the 83rd safest place in the state, there were only 5 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 $173,558 a year, and homes are valued at more than $859,400. 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?

Libertyville, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 20,435
Rank Last Year: 8 (No Change)
Median Home Value: $414,100 (24th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.0% (25th best)
More on Libertyville: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The Town of Libertyville consistently ranks as one of the best places to live. There aren’t any surprises here. Which probably adds credibility to our data, right?

Let’s see why Libertyville ranks so high. First of all, the homes in Libertyville are the 24th most expensive in the state of Illinois, with the average home worth a whopping $414,100. We’re not elitists, nor are we saying that big homes means a better place to live. But price reflects demand, and simply put, a lot of people want to live in Libertyville if they can afford it.

Other numbers that stand out: Libertyville residents have the 18th highest income in the state, and the 121st lowest crime numbers in Illinois.

Winfield, IL

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 9,543
Rank Last Year: 32 (Up 23)
Median Home Value: $292,700 (50th best)
Unemployment Rate: 4.3% (35th best)
More on Winfield: Real Estate | Data | Photos

In Winfield, everyone loves to call Winfield home! The median home value is the 50th highest in Illinois.

Additionally, the unemployment rate is the 35th lowest in the state. and the crime rates are some of the lowest in Prairie State.

Winfield should consider renaming to Paradise Valley in our humble opinion.

Clarendon Hills, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 8,641
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 4)
Median Home Value: $485,900 (19th best)
Unemployment Rate: 2.8% (6th best)
More on Clarendon Hills: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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 2016. Unbelievably, it’s only the 11th-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.

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.

Western Springs made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for 2018.

Best Towns To Live In Illinois

  1. Leland Grove (Pop. 1,625)
  2. Dunlap (Pop. 1,351)
  3. St. Joseph (Pop. 4,109)
  4. Germantown Hills (Pop. 3,491)
  5. Hudson (Pop. 1,704)
  6. Rochester (Pop. 3,687)
  7. Sherman (Pop. 4,404)
  8. Philo (Pop. 1,627)
  9. Kenilworth (Pop. 2,613)
  10. Forsyth (Pop. 3,421)

Best Small Towns To Live In Illinois

  1. Irwin (Pop. 79)
  2. Georgetown (Pop. 516)
  3. Indian Creek (Pop. 768)
  4. Ogden (Pop. 732)
  5. Bartelso (Pop. 619)
  6. Spaulding (Pop. 766)
  7. Downs (Pop. 971)
  8. Pesotum (Pop. 514)
  9. Goodfield (Pop. 931)
  10. McNabb (Pop. 305)

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Illinois according to the data:

  1. Cahokia (Pop. 14,574)
  2. Robbins (Pop. 5,216)
  3. Centreville (Pop. 5,127)

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Live In Illinois

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Western Springs 13,133 2.7% $530,800
2 Deerfield 18,686 3.7% $508,800
3 Winnetka 12,437 2.9% $989,600
4 Northbrook 33,538 3.5% $519,300
5 Wilmette 27,367 4.0% $636,900
6 Buffalo Grove 41,554 5.1% $299,600
7 Hinsdale 17,438 5.1% $859,400
8 Libertyville 20,435 4.0% $414,100
9 Winfield 9,543 4.3% $292,700
10 Clarendon Hills 8,641 2.8% $485,900
11 Park Ridge 37,567 3.9% $397,400
12 Northfield 5,374 4.7% $597,900
13 Elmhurst 45,742 5.2% $381,500
14 Lake Forest 18,881 4.6% $831,800
15 Lake Bluff 5,758 3.8% $587,100
16 Lincolnshire 7,291 5.0% $476,600
17 Wheaton 53,568 5.6% $342,000
18 Barrington 10,449 4.9% $493,000
19 Burr Ridge 10,736 4.5% $645,400
20 La Grange Park 13,596 6.2% $321,200
21 Mahomet 7,996 3.1% $212,200
22 Chatham 12,569 4.1% $178,900
23 Hawthorn Woods 7,590 2.7% $504,200
24 Glenview 46,559 4.3% $478,400
25 Highland Park 29,780 5.2% $534,500
26 La Grange 15,688 5.5% $446,100
27 Arlington Heights 75,721 5.1% $322,400
28 Mokena 19,839 5.1% $289,400
29 Campton Hills 11,500 5.4% $414,100
30 Naperville 145,789 5.6% $388,400
31 Glen Ellyn 27,894 6.0% $410,800
32 River Forest 11,217 3.4% $574,600
33 Roselle 22,911 5.0% $237,300
34 Plainfield 41,881 4.6% $287,100
35 Geneva 21,732 6.5% $305,000
36 Lindenhurst 14,380 7.6% $201,900
37 Darien 22,232 4.5% $298,400
38 Downers Grove 49,555 6.1% $331,600
39 Washington 16,102 3.0% $172,100
40 Lake Zurich 19,950 5.8% $319,900
41 Morton 16,343 3.9% $186,700
42 Vernon Hills 25,910 5.4% $323,400
43 Homer Glen 24,385 4.9% $298,100
44 Itasca 8,502 5.2% $282,300
45 Oswego 33,245 4.4% $225,100
46 Glen Carbon 12,782 5.3% $202,400
47 Huntley 25,831 3.9% $231,100
48 Mount Zion 5,894 5.5% $134,600
49 Elburn 5,594 6.6% $241,800
50 Lemont 16,587 6.2% $342,500
51 Frankfort 18,415 6.1% $351,200
52 Lisle 22,989 6.4% $334,400
53 Bartlett 41,475 5.5% $260,500
54 Manhattan 7,405 5.7% $212,100
55 Channahon 12,329 6.1% $195,400
56 Columbia 10,193 4.9% $198,100
57 Algonquin 30,413 6.2% $240,600
58 Morton Grove 23,413 5.0% $283,700
59 West Dundee 7,369 4.0% $249,100
60 St. Charles 32,745 4.2% $281,700
61 Palos Heights 12,544 7.8% $275,000
62 Waterloo 10,197 3.7% $177,900
63 New Lenox 25,347 5.8% $273,800
64 Troy 10,041 4.5% $169,800
65 Mount Prospect 54,552 5.3% $296,500
66 Willow Springs 5,677 4.7% $347,400
67 Oak Brook 7,988 3.3% $825,400
68 Glencoe 8,870 1.5% $891,300
69 Monticello 5,609 6.9% $158,500
70 Gilberts 7,479 5.9% $255,100
71 Brookfield 18,966 5.1% $227,400
72 Riverside 8,779 7.4% $387,100
73 Sugar Grove 9,288 4.8% $268,200
74 Orland Hills 7,241 8.4% $221,600
75 Spring Grove 5,578 6.7% $296,700
76 Long Grove 8,065 4.6% $652,100
77 Yorkville 18,436 4.8% $233,100
78 Eureka 5,827 1.8% $130,400
79 Gurnee 31,070 5.1% $251,300
80 Batavia 26,413 6.9% $278,600
81 Pingree Grove 5,983 4.2% $170,800
82 Willowbrook 8,603 6.4% $215,300
83 Lockport 25,096 6.0% $212,400
84 Lake In The Hills 28,908 6.0% $204,000
85 Maryville 7,837 8.6% $191,400
86 Hoffman Estates 51,727 5.1% $252,600
87 North Aurora 17,612 5.2% $229,300
88 Palatine 69,098 5.6% $265,800
89 Orland Park 58,612 5.9% $273,100
90 Lake Villa 8,916 6.6% $233,600
91 Lincolnwood 12,637 4.5% $379,500
92 Roscoe 10,666 5.2% $153,900
93 Lombard 44,025 5.9% $240,600
94 Schaumburg 74,366 5.2% $230,800
95 Flossmoor 9,215 9.3% $223,500
96 Woodridge 33,331 5.0% $249,400
97 Cary 17,946 5.8% $213,900
98 Tinley Park 57,125 5.4% $220,400
99 South Elgin 22,274 5.8% $200,100
100 Inverness 7,844 4.4% $616,500

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6 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Best Places To Live In Illinois For 2018

  1. I read both articles, Best and Worst places to live in IL. Your data just confirms what Illinoisans already know. All the money and opportunities are poured into Chicago. There are concessions for their counties/region. Those living downstate pay lots of taxes and get no real benefit. It’s ridiculous, you should do another study on the huge exodus of people leaving IL for greener grass (and more green in their wallets) in states like NC and even neighboring MO.

  2. Well, it certainly is an interesting way of calculating things. I’m sure the computer did not take into account why Clarendon Hills was actually able to be ranked so high. The reason is that property values in Hinsdale and Oakbrook are so high now that many have moved to Clarendon Hills and/or the north part of Burr Ridge. Hinsdale should really be number 2 behind Wilmette only because of Wilmette’s size. I mean, seriously, your picture for Clarendon Hills is one of Hinsdale Central, which is located on the south side of Hinsdale!

  3. You sure missed a few. What about Indian Head Trails, Willowbrook and Burr Ridge, which is pricey and next door to Hinsdale?

  4. Did you use the least likely chance of getting shot as the criteria. Or best place that allows fat fucks who are literally making their tie scream by your neck fat pushing it’s weight threshold?

  5. I’m stunned, Naperville didn’t make the list? Whaaaa? Money is being poured into the school system? My ass. There are broken systems statewide and there are hidden gems too. This article is as jaded as they come.

  6. Some of the places listed here shouldn’t be and those that aren’t should be this is a stupid list to say the least.

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