These Are The 10 Best Small Towns In Illinois


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

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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. Here are the 10 Best Small Towns in Illinois (in which to live):

  1. Indian Creek
  2. Bartelso
  3. Trout Valley
  4. Spaulding
  5. Ogden
  6. Carlock
  7. Golf
  8. Deer Creek
  9. Lake Petersburg
  10. Pleasant Plains

If you live in one of these small towns like Indian Creek, 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. Or feel free to check out the worst small towns in Illinois.

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How We Determined The Best Small Towns In Illinois

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the Census’s 2010-2014 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)
  • High School Dropouts (Lower is better)
  • Crime Rates (Lower is better)

We looked at places with populations lower than 1,000 people, of which, there were a lot – 538 to be exact.

We then ranked each place in each category with scores from 1 to 538, averaged them out, and the lowest scores went to our Best Small Towns in Illinois. Top of that list — Indian Creek.

Keep reading to find out more about our top 10 best small towns in Illinois. Or feel free to check out the best places overall to live in Illinois.

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1. Indian Creek


Population 2014: 526
Median Income: $118,173
Median Home Price: $408,000
Crime Per 100k: 812

2. Bartelso


Population 2014: 656
Median Income: $76,875
Median Home Price: $145,800
Crime Per 100k: 2,363

3. Trout Valley


Population 2014: 584
Median Income: $123,750
Median Home Price: $417,600
Crime Per 100k: 812

4. Spaulding


Population 2014: 858
Median Income: $84,773
Median Home Price: $175,700
Crime Per 100k: 2,126

5. Ogden


Population 2014: 734
Median Income: $64,632
Median Home Price: $118,700
Crime Per 100k: 2,483

6. Carlock


Population 2014: 752
Median Income: $65,000
Median Home Price: $119,000
Crime Per 100k: 2,498

7. Golf


Population 2014: 590
Median Income: $170,577
Median Home Price: $837,300
Crime Per 100k: 812

8. Deer Creek


Population 2014: 765
Median Income: $56,250
Median Home Price: $126,800
Crime Per 100k: 1,847

9. Lake Petersburg


Population 2014: 778
Median Income: $76,071
Median Home Price: $211,000
Crime Per 100k: 1,542

10. Pleasant Plains


Population 2014: 883
Median Income: $60,893
Median Home Price: $125,500
Crime Per 100k: 124

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 10 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. Gorham
  2. Buncombe
  3. Camden

For more Illinois reading , check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Small Towns In Illinois

City Rank Population Median Income Median Home Price Crime Per 100k
Indian Creek 1 526 $118,173 $408,000 812
Bartelso 2 656 $76,875 $145,800 2,363
Trout Valley 3 584 $123,750 $417,600 812
Spaulding 4 858 $84,773 $175,700 2,126
Ogden 5 734 $64,632 $118,700 2,483
Carlock 6 752 $65,000 $119,000 2,498
Golf 7 590 $170,577 $837,300 812
Deer Creek 8 765 $56,250 $126,800 1,847
Lake Petersburg 9 778 $76,071 $211,000 1,542
Pleasant Plains 10 883 $60,893 $125,500 124
Cantrall 11 171 $59,375 $125,000 2,329
Cordova 12 686 $64,643 $146,300 2,173
Congerville 13 518 $69,250 $136,700 2,373
Hamel 14 685 $76,250 $158,600 2,077
Mclean 15 819 $51,786 $109,400 1,434
Cedarville 16 753 $58,813 $101,500 2,640
Oreana 17 1,080 $59,375 $98,000 947
Kaneville 18 457 $84,375 $233,600 1,638
Sherrard 19 834 $58,125 $107,400 2,635
Pesotum 20 516 $56,094 $114,300 2,486
German Valley 21 563 $65,729 $106,000 2,754
Reynolds 22 573 $52,000 $96,200 2,740
Millbrook 23 271 $98,750 $279,200 1,123
Laplace 24 152 $78,889 $145,800 1,863
Oak Run 25 417 $66,250 $207,600 1,170
Elsah 26 675 $60,104 $172,300 2,401
Wapella 27 490 $50,900 $103,800 2,643
Gifford 28 918 $55,781 $120,500 2,582
Argenta 29 952 $55,096 $92,100 2,536
Bismarck 30 538 $55,833 $98,500 2,586
Mansfield 31 1,059 $47,321 $107,600 926
South Wilmington 32 617 $62,321 $123,800 2,410
Hopewell 33 428 $83,750 $166,700 1,957
Royal 34 252 $57,083 $122,500 2,279
Rock City 35 316 $62,188 $107,500 2,558
Troy Grove 36 204 $57,083 $143,800 2,320
Stronghurst 37 1,045 $46,563 $86,400 999
Rapids City 38 856 $80,395 $153,000 1,910
Hecker 39 475 $56,953 $124,400 2,513
Bishop Hill 40 128 $63,929 $96,000 2,176
Liberty 41 524 $48,375 $87,400 2,862
East Gillespie 42 204 $58,250 $109,700 2,522
Dalzell 43 741 $60,673 $136,700 2,468
Stillman Valley 44 1,018 $42,232 $133,200 899
Ruma 45 339 $62,813 $91,400 321
Grand Ridge 46 545 $64,375 $106,800 2,671
Alexis 47 951 $51,750 $73,600 2,824
Allerton 48 237 $65,000 $98,600 2,538
Makanda 49 495 $58,125 $163,300 1,379
Towanda 50 586 $64,250 $112,800 2,617
West Brooklyn 51 143 $58,750 $101,500 2,573
Crescent City 52 581 $47,500 $95,300 2,692
Varna 53 369 $57,969 $86,500 2,784
Kappa 54 412 $57,750 $156,900 2,186
Mark 55 607 $54,107 $105,600 2,649
Cherry 56 340 $65,625 $84,000 2,534
Lee 57 356 $45,250 $125,000 2,593
Dayton 58 541 $72,000 $167,100 2,093
Mettawa 59 502 $138,229 $825,600 812
Waynesville 60 556 $58,333 $78,900 2,842
Chadwick 61 436 $50,347 $80,200 2,761
Verona 62 196 $66,250 $125,800 2,473
Woodson 63 583 $59,500 $96,400 2,604
Oneida 64 782 $54,444 $77,700 2,830
Ashton 65 1,007 $45,192 $94,800 955
Ipava 66 542 $52,727 $69,100 2,844
Paw Paw 67 962 $58,594 $127,500 2,507
Sublette 68 393 $48,333 $112,500 2,461
Leland 69 932 $52,054 $144,100 2,547
Stewardson 70 775 $52,500 $82,500 2,783
Dalton City 71 460 $56,875 $88,200 2,786
Arrowsmith 72 391 $48,750 $92,700 2,957
Matherville 73 823 $52,917 $93,800 2,680
Ursa 74 626 $42,159 $107,400 2,633
Findlay 75 956 $41,146 $73,100 1,973
Menominee 76 200 $71,250 $158,300 2,325
Monroe Center 77 469 $68,875 $137,500 2,522
Hoffman 78 599 $60,962 $85,800 2,737
Ashkum 79 659 $48,929 $124,600 2,535
Annawan 80 928 $56,094 $102,100 2,556
Grantfork 81 339 $46,875 $113,900 301
Raymond 82 905 $45,536 $76,700 101
Ringwood 83 833 $84,750 $301,900 1,267
Caledonia 84 233 $64,107 $153,100 2,438
Ivesdale 85 254 $53,594 $93,500 2,642
Martinton 86 310 $61,094 $88,000 2,792
Brimfield 87 910 $51,000 $111,600 2,787
Cissna Park 88 882 $42,875 $90,400 2,778
Como 89 429 $56,500 $118,100 2,303
Harrison 90 1,012 $46,100 $96,600 987
Union 91 719 $55,938 $179,100 2,376
Emden 92 327 $50,455 $75,300 2,829
Damiansville 93 526 $61,638 $124,600 2,471
East Brooklyn 94 92 $46,250 $156,300 2,548
Pearl City 95 878 $43,988 $114,800 2,632
Broadlands 96 304 $55,000 $82,700 2,701
La Moille 97 833 $49,265 $94,500 2,799
Andover 98 653 $60,875 $111,900 2,688
Tiskilwa 99 870 $44,375 $93,000 2,842
Wilmington 100 5,918 $58,488 $173,600 963

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