Best Rockford Suburbs To Live For 2020

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

Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2020. This is our sixth 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...

What's the best suburb of Rockford? Rockton ranks as the best suburb of Rockford for 2020 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. If you happen to be a resident of Rockton, 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.

Note: This result may differ from our state wide data as we did not include commute times and crime for this analysis to allow for a larger selection of suburbs.
Or feel free to check out some more reading about Illinois:

The 10 Best Rockford Suburbs To Live For 2020

Rockton, IL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 7,692
Rank Last Year: 2 (Up 1)
Median Income: $87,923
Unemployment Rate: 6.1%
Poverty Rate: 4.4%
More on Rockton: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Rockton is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Rockford area. We'll tell you the good about "Awesome Rockton."

Everyone here is rich; families average $87,923 a year, which is the 1st highest in the Rockford region. And only 6.13% are out of work. Homes average more than $168,100 each.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,087
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 8)
Median Income: $76,607
Unemployment Rate: 2.5%
Poverty Rate: 2.8%
More on Cortland: Real Estate | Data

Cortland is the second best 'burb we looked at near Rockford for 2020.

It ranks 5th for incomes in the area and only 3.69% of residents lack insurance, good for 9th best.

Sycamore, IL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 17,725
Rank Last Year: 3 (No Change)
Median Income: $69,500
Unemployment Rate: 4.4%
Poverty Rate: 7.3%
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


Population: 10,575
Rank Last Year: 4 (No Change)
Median Income: $86,116
Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
Poverty Rate: 4.6%
More on Roscoe: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Roscoe ranks as the 4th best suburb of Rockford for 2020.

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.

Winnebago, IL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,425
Rank Last Year: 1 (Down 4)
Median Income: $82,763
Unemployment Rate: 5.3%
Poverty Rate: 9.5%
More on Winnebago: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is Winnebago.

Winnebago gets kudos for having the 11th most expensive homes in the Rockford area, where houses sell for an average of $139,000. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Pecatonica, IL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,228
Rank Last Year: 5 (Down 1)
Median Income: $62,564
Unemployment Rate: 4.6%
Poverty Rate: 4.8%
More on Pecatonica: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Pecatonica 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 4.58% which is 11th best in the area.

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

Byron, IL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,608
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Income: $56,250
Unemployment Rate: 2.2%
Poverty Rate: 4.0%
More on Byron: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,757
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $83,750
Unemployment Rate: 6.6%
Poverty Rate: 12.1%
More on Poplar Grove: Real Estate | Data

Poplar Grove 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 2.37% of people lack insurance, good for 3rd in the area.

Marengo, IL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,175
Rank Last Year: 8 (Down 1)
Median Income: $68,219
Unemployment Rate: 2.9%
Poverty Rate: 11.9%
More on Marengo: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Is 'Everything Better In Marengo?'


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


Population: 4,878
Rank Last Year: 11 (Up 1)
Median Income: $53,316
Unemployment Rate: 6.7%
Poverty Rate: 12.0%
More on Genoa: Real Estate | Data

And rounding out the top ten for 2020 is Genoa.

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.

How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Rockford for 2020

Figuring out the best suburbs 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 for 2014-2018 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, Rockton. You can download the data here.

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.

Welcome to the Best Rockford 'Burbs of 2020

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 Rockton, IL 7,692 $87,923
2 Cortland, IL 4,087 $76,607
3 Sycamore, IL 17,725 $69,500
4 Roscoe, IL 10,575 $86,116
5 Winnebago, IL 3,425 $82,763
6 Pecatonica, IL 2,228 $62,564
7 Byron, IL 3,608 $56,250
8 Poplar Grove, IL 4,757 $83,750
9 Marengo, IL 8,175 $68,219
10 Genoa, IL 4,878 $53,316
11 Cherry Valley, IL 2,895 $60,250
12 Janesville, IL 64,128 $54,573
13 Clinton, IL 2,160 $66,495
14 Oregon, IL 3,683 $52,237
15 Brodhead, IL 3,275 $42,545
16 Machesney Park, IL 22,906 $60,353
17 Davis Junction, IL 2,508 $70,391
18 Dekalb, IL 42,839 $44,222
19 Loves Park, IL 24,043 $53,106
20 South Beloit, IL 7,827 $60,000
21 Freeport, IL 24,300 $39,419
22 Belvidere, IL 25,319 $52,082
23 Rochelle, IL 9,196 $49,900
24 Mount Morris, IL 2,841 $44,981
25 Harvard, IL 9,292 $53,169
26 Beloit, IL 36,813 $42,169

How Is Your Town In ?

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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