These Are The 10 Best Rockford Suburbs For 2018


We analyzed over 26 places around Rockford to identify the most kickass place to live.

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Big city living isn’t for everyone–but at the same time, urban areas certainly have their perks.

There’s the culture, the food, the arts, the food, the energy, and you know, the food. But there are drawbacks. There’s traffic, expensive parking, expensive housing–pretty much, expensive everything, depending on which big city you’re looking at.

But that’s where the suburbs come in–they have all of the benefits of being near big cities, without actually having to be big cities.

Of course, not all suburbs of Rockford are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. So without further ado…

Here are the 10 best suburbs around Rockford for 2018:

  1. Winnebago (Photos | Homes)
  2. Roscoe (Photos | Homes)
  3. Rockton (Photos | Homes)
  4. Sycamore (Photos | Homes)
  5. Pecatonica (Photos | Homes)
  6. Poplar Grove (Homes)
  7. Byron (Photos | Homes)
  8. Cherry Valley (Homes)
  9. Cortland (Homes)
  10. Marengo (Photos | Homes)

If you happen to be a resident of Winnebago, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We’ll tell you what makes each of these 10 Rockford ‘burbs better than the rest–but first, a bit about our methodology.

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Editor’s Note: If you see a slight difference between the best in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it’s because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.

How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Rockford for 2018

Figuring out the best ‘burbs around Rockford was pretty simple; we just needed to list several things that people like, and then find out which cities have the most of those things.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Low unemployment rate
  • High Median household incomes
  • Population density (lots of things to do)
  • High home values
  • A lot of college educated people
  • Low poverty
  • High rate of insured families

Then we used the newest American Community Survey data (2012-2016) to research each suburb.

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Rockford.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 26 suburbs to evaluate around Rockford.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 26 in each category, where 1 was the “best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.

And finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index the “Best Suburb near Rockford.” We’re lookin’ at you, Winnebago.

Read on below to learn more about what it’s like to live in the best of the best. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

1. Winnebago

Winnebago, Illinois

Population: 3,008
Unemployment Rate: 5.1%
Median Home Price: $144,500
Median Income: $73,719
More on Winnebago: Real Estate | Data

Winnebago is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Rockford area. We’ll tell you the good about “Awesome Winnebago.”

Everyone here is rich; families average $73,719 a year, which is the 5th highest in the Rockford region. And only 5.1% are out of work. Homes average more than $144,500 each.

2. Roscoe

Roscoe, Illinois

Population: 10,666
Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
Median Home Price: $153,900
Median Income: $76,463
More on Roscoe: Real Estate | Data

Roscoe is the second best ‘burb we looked at near Rockford for 2018.

It ranks 1st for incomes in the area and only 4.2% of residents lack insurance, good for 5th best.

3. Rockton

Rockton, Illinois

Population: 7,596
Unemployment Rate: 7.3%
Median Home Price: $159,300
Median Income: $74,276
More on Rockton: Real Estate | Data

Here in Rockton, it’s really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you’ll see in the Rockford metro area.

The bad side? Schools are more crowded, and the cost of living puts a large part of the city out of reach for most families.

But price is based on demand and a lot of people want to live in Rockton.

4. Sycamore

Sycamore, Illinois

Population: 17,611
Unemployment Rate: 5.5%
Median Home Price: $173,900
Median Income: $67,132
More on Sycamore: Real Estate | Data

Sycamore ranks as the 4th best suburb of Rockford for 2018.

You won’t find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Sycamore and the schools are some of the best around.

5. Pecatonica

Pecatonica, Illinois

Population: 2,315
Unemployment Rate: 5.9%
Median Home Price: $111,400
Median Income: $58,864
More on Pecatonica: Real Estate | Data

Coming in as the fifth best is Pecatonica.

Pecatonica gets kudos for having the 20th most expensive homes in the Rockford area, where houses sell for an average of $111,400. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

6. Poplar Grove

Population: 4,728
Unemployment Rate: 7.7%
Median Home Price: $162,800
Median Income: $76,222
More on Poplar Grove: Real Estate | Data

Poplar Grove is proud of its 6th place finish on this list. And here’s why.

Most residents have great jobs and the unemployment rate sits at 7.7% which is 13th best in the area.

According to online reports, Poplar Grove is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Rockford area, meaning you need to get in soon.

7. Byron

Byron, Illinois

Population: 3,647
Unemployment Rate: 4.5%
Median Home Price: $136,100
Median Income: $50,265
More on Byron: Real Estate | Data

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Byron.

Byron schools are some of the best in the region, and crime is really low. The cost of living makes it a lot more desirable for many families, especially first-time home buyers.

And, it’s only 13.6 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

8. Cherry Valley

Population: 3,129
Unemployment Rate: 5.4%
Median Home Price: $165,000
Median Income: $58,750
More on Cherry Valley: Real Estate | Data

Cherry Valley is growing quickly, and for a good reason. Crime is far below average, and most residents are gainfully employed. Even the cost of living is reasonable.

A solid 9.1% of people lack insurance, good for 20th in the area.

9. Cortland

Population: 4,135
Unemployment Rate: 9.6%
Median Home Price: $146,500
Median Income: $75,272
More on Cortland: Real Estate | Data

Is ‘Everything Better In Cortland?’

Almost.

It placed 9th on our list thanks to the fact that it’s really expensive to live here, but the schools are great, so you get what you pay for in that regard.

10. Marengo

Marengo, Illinois

Population: 8,081
Unemployment Rate: 8.7%
Median Home Price: $149,900
Median Income: $62,796
More on Marengo: Real Estate | Data

And rounding out the top ten for 2018 is Marengo.

This city is far above average in every category, and the best part? It’s far more affordable than the other cities listed above. So, you get a big bang for your buck here.

Welcome to the Best Rockford ‘Burbs of 2018

We said it once and we’ll say it again–life in the big city isn’t for everyone. At least not all the time.

So if you’re hankering for some of the amenities of a larger city like Rockford, but don’t want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might just be for you.

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Detailed List Of The Best Rockford Suburbs

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Median Home Price Median Income
1 Winnebago 3,008 5.1% $144,500 $73,719
2 Roscoe 10,666 5.2% $153,900 $76,463
3 Rockton 7,596 7.3% $159,300 $74,276
4 Sycamore 17,611 5.5% $173,900 $67,132
5 Pecatonica 2,315 5.9% $111,400 $58,864
6 Poplar Grove 4,728 7.7% $162,800 $76,222
7 Byron 3,647 4.5% $136,100 $50,265
8 Cherry Valley 3,129 5.4% $165,000 $58,750
9 Cortland 4,135 9.6% $146,500 $75,272
10 Marengo 8,081 8.7% $149,900 $62,796
11 Clinton 2,206 3.2% $120,800 $59,375
12 Genoa 4,930 9.1% $142,500 $51,061
13 Janesville 63,880 6.7% $129,300 $50,300
14 Davis Junction 2,439 7.4% $133,600 $70,625
15 Brodhead 3,319 2.7% $107,400 $41,418
16 Machesney Park 23,002 9.7% $116,000 $56,563
17 South Beloit 7,589 8.9% $122,400 $62,785
18 Dekalb 43,269 12.3% $150,200 $38,647
19 Oregon 3,657 4.1% $109,500 $39,963
20 Loves Park 24,499 8.2% $113,400 $50,284
21 Rochelle 9,385 8.0% $115,400 $44,205
22 Belvidere 25,300 9.3% $103,300 $47,586
23 Mount Morris 3,008 13.2% $94,400 $42,115
24 Freeport 24,784 12.3% $75,400 $35,552
25 Beloit 36,812 12.0% $85,000 $37,779
26 Harvard 9,589 11.1% $114,400 $46,742

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