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:
- Winnebago (Photos | Homes)
- Roscoe (Photos | Homes)
- Rockton (Photos | Homes)
- Sycamore (Photos | Homes)
- Pecatonica (Photos | Homes)
- Poplar Grove (Homes)
- Byron (Photos | Homes)
- Cherry Valley (Homes)
- Cortland (Homes)
- 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.
For more Illinois reading, check out:
- 10 Best Places To Live In Illinois
- 10 Cheapest Places To Live In Illinois
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Is ‘Everything Better In Cortland?’
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.
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.
For more Illinois reading , check out:
Detailed List Of The Best Rockford Suburbs