These Are The 10 Best Rockford Suburbs For 2019


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

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2019. This is our fourth time ranking the best Rockford suburbs.

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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…

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.

Or feel free to check out some more reading about Illinois:

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 2019

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 (2013-2017) 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.

Winnebago, IL

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 3,252
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $79,267
Unemployment Rate: 4.8%
Poverty Rate: 8.6%
More on Winnebago: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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 $79,267 a year, which is the 2nd highest in the Rockford region. And only 4.8% are out of work. Homes average more than $140,200 each.

Rockton, IL

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 7,474
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $77,843
Unemployment Rate: 6.0%
Poverty Rate: 3.2%
More on Rockton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Rockton is the second best ‘burb we looked at near Rockford for 2019.

It ranks 4th for incomes in the area and only 1.8% of residents lack insurance, good for 1st best.

Sycamore, IL

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 17,712
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 1)
Median Income: $70,541
Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
Poverty Rate: 8.0%
More on Sycamore: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Here in Sycamore, 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 Sycamore.

Roscoe, IL

Overall SnackAbility

9
/10

Population: 10,571
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 2)
Median Income: $79,253
Unemployment Rate: 4.8%
Poverty Rate: 4.8%
More on Roscoe: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Roscoe ranks as the 4th best suburb of Rockford for 2019.

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

Pecatonica, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 2,326
Rank Last Year: 5 (No Change)
Median Income: $53,352
Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
Poverty Rate: 4.1%
More on Pecatonica: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is Pecatonica.

Pecatonica gets kudos for having the 21st most expensive homes in the Rockford area, where houses sell for an average of $111,200. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Byron, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 3,635
Rank Last Year: 7 (Up 1)
Median Income: $53,793
Unemployment Rate: 3.1%
Poverty Rate: 2.6%
More on Byron: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Byron 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 3.1% which is 3rd best in the area.

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

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,687
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Income: $81,333
Unemployment Rate: 7.5%
Poverty Rate: 6.5%
More on Poplar Grove: Real Estate | Data

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Poplar Grove.

Poplar Grove 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 12.9 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

Marengo, IL

Overall SnackAbility

8.5
/10

Population: 8,280
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 2)
Median Income: $61,250
Unemployment Rate: 5.7%
Poverty Rate: 11.4%
More on Marengo: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Marengo 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 5.0% of people lack insurance, good for 10th in the area.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,796
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $56,438
Unemployment Rate: 4.4%
Poverty Rate: 5.2%
More on Cherry Valley: Real Estate | Data

Is ‘Everything Better In Cherry Valley?’

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.

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,105
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $68,615
Unemployment Rate: 7.8%
Poverty Rate: 12.0%
More on Cortland: Real Estate | Data

And rounding out the top ten for 2019 is Cortland.

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 2019

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.

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Rockford Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Winnebago 3,252 $79,267
2 Rockton 7,474 $77,843
3 Sycamore 17,712 $70,541
4 Roscoe 10,571 $79,253
5 Pecatonica 2,326 $53,352
6 Byron 3,635 $53,793
7 Poplar Grove 4,687 $81,333
8 Marengo 8,280 $61,250
9 Cherry Valley 2,796 $56,438
10 Cortland 4,105 $68,615
11 Genoa 4,808 $54,436
12 Clinton 2,243 $65,526
13 Janesville 63,957 $52,617
14 Machesney Park 23,002 $56,488
15 Brodhead 3,302 $41,566
16 Davis Junction 2,440 $70,795
17 Loves Park 24,320 $52,212
18 Dekalb 43,141 $41,009
19 Oregon 3,542 $43,525
20 South Beloit 7,999 $63,174
21 Belvidere 25,358 $51,021
22 Rochelle 9,293 $47,088
23 Freeport 24,537 $37,396
24 Mount Morris 3,046 $43,423
25 Harvard 9,482 $52,585
26 Beloit 36,733 $38,930

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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