Best Small Towns In Illinois For 2020


We used science and data to determine which small towns in Illinois are the best of the best.

This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. This is our sixth time ranking the best small places to live in Illinois.

You’ve seen these lists before: Best places to live in Illinois, Most Beautiful Downtowns, etc., etc. But all of them focus on major cities and towns in the Prairie State and no one pays attention to the little guy.

Well, that’s all about to change as we put together a list of the best small towns in Illinois based on numbers–not opinions or hearsay.

We’ll dive right into our methodology in the next section; but first, we thought you might just want to know which places in Illinois ranked the based–you know, based on science.

Before we get to the top 15, here’s a look at the 10 Best Small Towns To Live in Illinois for 2020.

The 10 Best Small Towns To Live In Illinois For 2020

  1. Leland Grove (Homes)
  2. Germa (Homes)
  3. Dunlap (Homes)
  4. Rochester (Homes)
  5. St. Joseph (Photos | Homes)
  6. Philo (Homes)
  7. Tremont (Homes)
  8. Forsyth (Homes)
  9. Sherman (Homes)
  10. Third Lake (Homes)

What’s the best small town in Illinois? Leland Grove is the best small town in Illinois based on the most recent Census data. If you live in one of these small towns like Leland Grove, chances are, you’re not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it.

But for the rest of you–keep reading and we’ll get to just why these small towns made our list.

For more reading on the Prairie State check out:

The 15 Best Small Towns In Illinois For 2020

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 1,457
Median Income: $108,750 (22nd Best)
Median Home Value: $222,300 (36th Best)
More on Leland Grove: Data | Homes For Sale

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,478
Median Income: $104,906 (25th Best)
Median Home Value: $229,100 (33rd Best)
More on Germa: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 1,160
Median Income: $93,889 (32nd Best)
Median Home Value: $259,400 (28th Best)
More on Dunlap: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 3,696
Median Income: $94,564 (31st Best)
Median Home Value: $176,700 (55th Best)
More on Rochester: Data | Homes For Sale

St. Joseph, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,424
Median Income: $86,898 (38th Best)
Median Home Value: $181,900 (52nd Best)
More on St. Joseph: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,500
Median Income: $79,214 (55th Best)
Median Home Value: $149,800 (97th Best)
More on Philo: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,099
Median Income: $63,021 (114th Best)
Median Home Value: $161,500 (77th Best)
More on Tremont: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 2,964
Median Income: $83,125 (46th Best)
Median Home Value: $207,200 (37th Best)
More on Forsyth: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,440
Median Income: $104,514 (26th Best)
Median Home Value: $227,700 (34th Best)
More on Sherman: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,133
Median Income: $122,708 (15th Best)
Median Home Value: $260,600 (27th Best)
More on Third Lake: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,837
Median Income: $78,500 (57th Best)
Median Home Value: $162,100 (76th Best)
More on Teutopolis: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 3,812
Median Income: $82,967 (47th Best)
Median Home Value: $236,900 (32nd Best)
More on Indian Head Park: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,451
Median Income: $116,531 (17th Best)
Median Home Value: $307,800 (18th Best)
More on Forest Lake: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 3,851
Median Income: $161,094 (6th Best)
Median Home Value: $555,400 (9th Best)
More on Green Oaks: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,423
Median Income: $82,692 (49th Best)
Median Home Value: $171,100 (59th Best)
More on Williamsville: Data | Homes For Sale

How We Determined The Coolest Towns In Illinois

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent data from the Census’s 2014-2018 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Lowest Unemployment Rates
  • Housing costs (Higher is better. More demand.)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Higher is better)
  • Highly Educated Adults (Higher is better)
  • Insurance Rates (Higher is better)
  • Commute Times (Lower is better)

We looked at places with populations lower than 5,000 people and greater than 1,000, of which, there were a lot – 372 to be exact.

We then ranked each place in each category with scores from 1 to 372, averaged them out, and the lowest scores went to our Best Small Towns in Illinois. Top of that list — Leland Grove. You can download the data here.

Keep reading to find out more about our top 15 best small towns in Illinois.

Science Can Tackle Any Issue, Even Small Ones

We said it once and we’ll say it again — this list: it’s just science. We did the research, we crunched the numbers, and it turns out, these 15 small towns in Illinois are the best, in which to live.

And who can argue with that?

If you’re curious, here are the worst small towns in Illinois:

  1. Wamac
  2. Madison
  3. Cairo

For more illinois reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Small Towns In Illinois

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Value
1 Leland Grove, IL 1,457 $108,750.0 $222,300.0
2 Germa, IL 3,478 $104,906.0 $229,100.0
3 Dunlap, IL 1,160 $93,889.0 $259,400.0
4 Rochester, IL 3,696 $94,564.0 $176,700.0
5 St. Joseph, IL 4,424 $86,898.0 $181,900.0
6 Philo, IL 1,500 $79,214.0 $149,800.0
7 Tremont, IL 2,099 $63,021.0 $161,500.0
8 Forsyth, IL 2,964 $83,125.0 $207,200.0
9 Sherman, IL 4,440 $104,514.0 $227,700.0
10 Third Lake, IL 1,133 $122,708.0 $260,600.0
11 Teutopolis, IL 1,837 $78,500.0 $162,100.0
12 Indian Head Park, IL 3,812 $82,967.0 $236,900.0
13 Forest Lake, IL 1,451 $116,531.0 $307,800.0
14 Green Oaks, IL 3,851 $161,094.0 $555,400.0
15 Williamsville, IL 1,423 $82,692.0 $171,100.0
16 Heritage Lake, IL 1,514 $98,281.0 $183,300.0
17 Aviston, IL 2,166 $85,089.0 $170,000.0
18 Hudson, IL 2,073 $86,442.0 $174,300.0
19 New Berlin, IL 1,553 $72,857.0 $148,300.0
20 Lake Camelot, IL 1,834 $107,905.0 $170,900.0
21 Lakewood, IL 3,741 $136,719.0 $381,800.0
22 Kenilworth, IL 2,512 $212,750.0 $1,133,000.0
23 Tolono, IL 3,086 $64,042.0 $139,800.0
24 Holiday Shores, IL 2,613 $95,133.0 $188,700.0
25 Port Barrington, IL 1,514 $133,056.0 $297,500.0
26 Tower Lakes, IL 1,205 $145,156.0 $478,400.0
27 Knollwood, IL 1,820 $101,150.0 $292,900.0
28 Jerome, IL 1,883 $58,833.0 $103,900.0
29 Orion, IL 2,029 $64,479.0 $142,500.0
30 Deer Park, IL 3,668 $171,042.0 $557,700.0
31 Kildeer, IL 4,014 $201,250.0 $626,800.0
32 South Barrington, IL 4,872 $158,393.0 $790,400.0
33 North Barrington, IL 2,974 $178,611.0 $649,900.0
34 Sidney, IL 1,368 $74,531.0 $143,500.0
35 Millstadt, IL 3,915 $69,231.0 $173,900.0
36 Breese, IL 4,453 $64,118.0 $156,700.0
37 Bannockburn, IL 1,325 $126,875.0 $974,300.0
38 Timberlane, IL 1,044 $130,556.0 $272,300.0
39 Roanoke, IL 2,032 $53,594.0 $121,100.0
40 The Galena Territory, IL 1,363 $88,661.0 $288,000.0
41 Palos Park, IL 4,907 $92,143.0 $406,400.0
42 Trenton, IL 2,637 $57,130.0 $138,500.0
43 Twin Grove, IL 1,651 $108,875.0 $245,100.0
44 Hainesville, IL 3,656 $86,643.0 $156,900.0
45 Smithton, IL 3,980 $74,531.0 $165,500.0
46 Barrington Hills, IL 3,916 $158,015.0 $772,200.0
47 Cortland, IL 4,087 $76,607.0 $155,500.0
48 Coal Valley, IL 3,635 $63,221.0 $167,700.0
49 Beecher, IL 4,382 $73,482.0 $178,300.0
50 Germa, IL 1,180 $61,964.0 $143,000.0
51 Fulton, IL 3,302 $49,828.0 $110,700.0
52 Byron, IL 3,608 $56,250.0 $142,000.0
53 Albers, IL 1,184 $73,750.0 $166,000.0
54 Fisher, IL 1,952 $60,469.0 $136,400.0
55 St. Jacob, IL 1,392 $77,305.0 $151,200.0
56 Hanna City, IL 1,268 $55,536.0 $124,100.0
57 Crainville, IL 1,499 $63,587.0 $144,400.0
58 Sleepy Hollow, IL 3,319 $108,906.0 $301,900.0
59 Hinckley, IL 2,083 $68,393.0 $201,700.0
60 Winnebago, IL 3,425 $82,763.0 $139,000.0
61 Danvers, IL 1,108 $73,854.0 $136,700.0
62 Oakwood Hills, IL 2,245 $89,875.0 $197,800.0
63 Catlin, IL 2,077 $52,337.0 $98,300.0
64 Wadsworth, IL 3,584 $103,011.0 $279,300.0
65 Limestone, IL 1,576 $79,250.0 $154,900.0
66 South Jacksonville, IL 3,194 $51,645.0 $104,600.0
67 Riverwoods, IL 3,656 $209,825.0 $699,100.0
68 Fox River Grove, IL 4,899 $111,934.0 $253,100.0
69 Galena, IL 3,399 $55,593.0 $149,200.0
70 Volo, IL 4,750 $93,750.0 $207,100.0
71 Nashville, IL 3,093 $56,754.0 $113,600.0
72 Warrensburg, IL 1,506 $60,109.0 $98,100.0
73 Heyworth, IL 3,164 $69,476.0 $154,900.0
74 Lexington, IL 1,890 $61,722.0 $142,200.0
75 Herscher, IL 1,471 $72,688.0 $157,900.0
76 New Baden, IL 3,258 $69,303.0 $140,800.0
77 Prestbury, IL 1,638 $64,338.0 $276,900.0
78 Lily Lake, IL 1,091 $122,292.0 $328,900.0
79 Maple Park, IL 1,482 $84,911.0 $188,200.0
80 Diamond, IL 2,707 $60,417.0 $200,300.0
81 Mackinaw, IL 2,023 $65,938.0 $137,800.0
82 Fox Lake Hills, IL 2,198 $72,024.0 $166,000.0
83 Freeburg, IL 4,254 $72,582.0 $166,400.0
84 Oakbrook Terrace, IL 2,912 $71,719.0 $292,500.0
85 North Utica, IL 1,373 $63,333.0 $167,700.0
86 Metamora, IL 3,835 $71,972.0 $161,500.0
87 Pecatonica, IL 2,228 $62,564.0 $113,000.0
88 Marquette Heights, IL 2,553 $58,688.0 $100,300.0
89 Knoxville, IL 2,988 $55,273.0 $103,300.0
90 Andalusia, IL 1,113 $64,688.0 $136,600.0
91 Lake Summerset, IL 2,019 $74,375.0 $155,900.0
92 East Dundee, IL 3,183 $69,514.0 $204,600.0
93 Clifton, IL 1,373 $60,750.0 $132,900.0
94 Bull Valley, IL 1,267 $108,542.0 $392,200.0
95 Lebanon, IL 4,256 $56,250.0 $120,100.0
96 Wayne, IL 2,345 $133,233.0 $538,400.0
97 Fairbury, IL 3,597 $50,256.0 $96,800.0
98 Erie, IL 1,438 $63,068.0 $123,900.0
99 Pistakee Highlands, IL 3,253 $66,442.0 $153,400.0
100 Elmwood, IL 2,292 $65,139.0 $130,700.0

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.