Jan 8 2018

Jan 8 2018

2018’s Best Places to Raise a Family in Illinois

Jan 4, 2018  |  Richie Bernardo, Senior Writer

If you plan to move your family to Illinois, you’ll want to rub Abe Lincoln’s “lucky” nose for good fortune. The state’s economy — the fifth largest by GDP — has been in chronic hot water. For two years, Illinois struggled to pass a budget and today owes billions in past-due bills. But some cities will feel the financial pinch more than others. 

To the Prairie State’s credit, many of its cities still offer plenty of incentives for new and growing families. Rising home values, the 11th best school system in the U.S. and a prestigious roster of employers that includes 36 of the Fortune 500 companies are among the state’s strongest qualities — and many of the highlights that parents look to cross off on their list of priorities. And while Illinois winters can be quite harsh, families have ample indoor and outdoor opportunities for fun throughout the year. 

To determine the best places in Illinois for families to put down roots, WalletHub compared more than 222 cities in the state across 21 key indicators of family-friendliness. Our data set ranges from the share of families with young children to median family income to housing affordability. Read on for the results, additional insight from our panel of experts and a full description of our methodology.

Main Findings

Best Places to Raise a Family in Illinois

Overall Rank
(1 = Best)

City

Total Score

‘Family Life & Fun’ Rank

‘Education, Health & Safety’ Rank

‘Affordability’ Rank

‘Socio-economics’ Rank

1 Naperville, IL 70.68 11 27 37 9
2 Libertyville, IL 70.60 78 9 4 24
3 Troy, IL 69.68 5 44 35 63
4 Washington, IL 69.67 19 51 12 31
5 Columbia, IL 69.51 68 11 22 57
6 Chatham, IL 69.33 46 36 5 29
7 Normal, IL 69.14 7 81 8 80
8 Crystal Lake, IL 68.70 52 30 36 54
9 Plainfield, IL 68.62 90 32 10 28
10 Lindenhurst, IL 68.57 66 17 26 3
11 Yorkville, IL 68.14 41 8 50 52
12 Waterloo, IL 67.70 124 37 14 18
13 Channahon, IL 67.60 108 3 47 21
14 Deerfield, IL 67.40 14 35 84 12
15 Vernon Hills, IL 67.39 36 19 73 35
16 Morton, IL 67.37 131 46 2 19
17 Warrenville, IL 67.25 60 21 18 83
18 Edwardsville, IL 67.21 21 85 17 72
19 Glen Ellyn, IL 67.17 118 43 11 36
20 Glen Carbon, IL 67.12 104 72 9 32
21 St. Charles, IL 67.12 101 60 24 41
22 Cary, IL 66.39 170 15 20 58
23 Roscoe, IL 66.37 98 23 29 87
24 Grayslake, IL 66.34 76 25 30 85
25 Wheaton, IL 66.33 122 29 33 34
26 Western Springs, IL 66.14 113 2 117 1
27 Dixon, IL 66.13 6 69 25 140
28 O'Fallon, IL 65.97 75 77 31 70
29 Oswego, IL 65.88 92 67 39 20
30 New Lenox, IL 65.81 157 59 32 26
31 Lake Zurich, IL 65.66 109 63 27 11
32 Algonquin, IL 65.55 184 34 21 14
33 Effingham, IL 65.51 3 116 13 142
34 Bourbonnais, IL 65.39 64 6 86 114
35 Antioch, IL 65.37 59 96 15 90
36 Macomb, IL 65.36 15 53 1 191
37 Lake Forest, IL 65.14 149 1 82 53
38 Batavia, IL 65.09 136 87 16 27
39 Mokena, IL 65.09 169 57 41 2
40 Winnetka, IL 64.51 80 14 114 22
41 Lockport, IL 64.17 119 95 45 56
42 Gurnee, IL 63.96 38 131 42 74
43 Montgomery, IL 63.96 16 78 67 107
44 Lake in the Hills, IL 63.95 110 73 55 81
45 Shiloh, IL 63.90 134 112 7 30
46 Round Lake, IL 63.75 63 49 78 91
47 Minooka, IL 63.59 33 163 64 17
48 Highland Park, IL 63.54 151 47 38 73
49 Geneva, IL 63.50 117 33 76 51
50 South Elgin, IL 63.49 68 94 40 86
51 Bloomington, IL 63.49 48 140 6 113
52 Carol Stream, IL 63.25 159 22 68 92
53 Lemont, IL 63.01 127 39 120 7
54 Gages Lake, IL 62.69 132 179 3 76
55 Pontiac, IL 62.35 12 98 28 168
56 Homer Glen, IL 62.31 210 4 113 4
57 Frankfort, IL 62.22 70 68 112 40
58 Elmhurst, IL 62.17 24 83 143 36
59 Bartlett, IL 62.11 154 75 116 10
60 Mundelein, IL 62.00 147 89 69 39
61 Huntley, IL 61.98 217 7 79 6
62 Lisle, IL 61.96 137 42 63 89
63 Lincoln, IL 61.95 22 84 34 171
64 Taylorville, IL 61.89 162 5 59 156
65 Campton Hills, IL 61.88 129 16 121 16
66 Downers Grove, IL 61.84 194 65 48 46
67 Romeoville, IL 61.80 67 91 83 115
68 Buffalo Grove, IL 61.66 173 31 118 15
69 McHenry, IL 61.56 141 74 58 68
70 Hinsdale, IL 61.55 86 20 140 55
71 North Aurora, IL 61.40 100 93 101 59
72 Canton, IL 61.04 99 10 75 169
73 Wilmette, IL 60.93 121 86 144 13
74 La Grange Park, IL 60.79 97 18 154 38
75 West Chicago, IL 60.73 4 144 127 95
76 Darien, IL 60.62 216 26 80 47
77 Round Lake Beach, IL 60.50 53 129 81 101
78 Godfrey, IL 60.40 187 166 43 65
79 Villa Park, IL 60.24 114 71 107 93
80 La Grange, IL 60.21 40 88 142 61
81 Barrington, IL 60.11 88 28 145 75
82 Wauconda, IL 60.01 79 143 77 96
83 Oak Park, IL 59.97 9 118 137 102
84 Woodstock, IL 59.81 61 64 100 151
85 Ottawa, IL 59.53 45 66 102 164
86 Bolingbrook, IL 59.42 96 122 71 112
87 Sterling, IL 59.40 29 110 66 162
88 Plano, IL 59.39 34 48 108 167
89 Sycamore, IL 59.33 135 97 57 110
90 Park Ridge, IL 59.32 112 56 167 25
91 Glenview, IL 59.24 94 52 173 33
92 Shorewood, IL 59.14 189 101 44 105
93 Swansea, IL 59.12 163 117 54 82
94 Herrin, IL 59.03 57 145 52 157
95 Marion, IL 58.90 111 123 51 154
96 Pekin, IL 58.70 87 150 53 139
97 East Peoria, IL 58.67 142 157 19 100
98 Bradley, IL 58.57 25 156 88 126
99 Quincy, IL 58.57 73 167 46 137
100 Arlington Heights, IL 58.50 174 40 163 23
101 Hoffman Estates, IL 58.29 175 50 148 45
102 Roselle, IL 58.02 148 24 149 71
103 Palatine, IL 57.89 103 99 150 79
104 Woodridge, IL 57.76 164 127 115 48
105 Belvidere, IL 57.54 95 106 89 158
106 Aurora, IL 57.32 51 151 103 133
107 Lombard, IL 57.15 177 119 111 69
108 Orland Park, IL 57.12 209 104 126 49
109 Beach Park, IL 57.08 72 182 106 88
110 Bloomingdale, IL 56.61 211 115 95 50
111 Charleston, IL 56.56 28 12 134 198
112 Hanover Park, IL 56.56 107 55 166 124
113 Joliet, IL 56.41 22 154 110 153
114 Northbrook, IL 56.22 202 58 172 5
115 Jacksonville, IL 56.05 77 160 56 166
116 Moline, IL 55.91 30 188 85 131
117 Morris, IL 55.51 105 109 138 136
118 Kewanee, IL 55.40 43 162 60 185
119 Springfield, IL 55.35 1 215 23 159
120 Carpentersville, IL 55.10 18 125 168 143
121 Fox Lake, IL 55.03 220 41 94 145
122 Addison, IL 54.99 83 126 158 123
123 Elk Grove Village, IL 54.99 165 111 162 64
124 Galesburg, IL 54.93 35 175 74 172
125 River Forest, IL 54.87 42 120 177 77
126 Glendale Heights, IL 54.87 143 121 131 120
127 Streator, IL 54.76 160 135 70 176
128 Oak Forest, IL 54.67 199 113 132 106
129 Mount Prospect, IL 54.66 152 45 205 43
130 Wood Dale, IL 54.65 178 54 141 141
131 Rock Island, IL 54.61 20 169 96 177
132 Schaumburg, IL 54.46 188 103 159 62
133 Burr Ridge, IL 54.44 215 13 150 60
134 Champaign, IL 54.34 55 198 49 150
135 Freeport, IL 54.17 91 102 92 194
136 Westmont, IL 54.04 185 90 153 109
137 Tinley Park, IL 53.92 204 138 130 78
138 Brookfield, IL 53.82 128 100 165 118
139 Collinsville, IL 53.81 158 168 109 135
140 Machesney Park, IL 53.57 186 132 93 152
141 Urbana, IL 53.06 71 170 91 180
142 Crest Hill, IL 52.93 123 105 135 160
143 Elgin, IL 52.85 37 148 184 138
144 Des Plaines, IL 52.82 195 92 188 66
145 Loves Park, IL 52.82 145 161 87 147
146 Evanston, IL 52.64 85 133 187 121
147 Mattoon, IL 52.46 54 147 124 192
148 Rolling Meadows, IL 52.43 155 70 180 116
149 Granite City, IL 52.39 146 183 61 165
150 Wheeling, IL 52.11 138 146 176 98
151 Franklin Park, IL 52.09 183 61 183 122
152 Palos Heights, IL 51.59 222 76 156 42
153 Bensenville, IL 51.41 133 107 190 111
154 Prospect Heights, IL 51.39 161 38 212 84
155 Fairview Heights, IL 51.31 171 206 62 99
156 Morton Grove, IL 51.29 212 82 198 44
157 Westchester, IL 51.20 218 142 155 67
158 Rantoul, IL 51.13 58 173 104 193
159 East Moline, IL 51.06 44 184 119 178
160 Carbondale, IL 51.05 2 174 128 204
160 Evergreen Park, IL 51.05 193 152 147 119
162 Centralia, IL 51.05 47 187 97 201
163 Wood River, IL 50.71 56 192 90 190
164 Homewood, IL 50.67 167 165 122 149
165 Peoria, IL 50.51 32 207 72 186
166 Waukegan, IL 50.18 50 185 139 173
167 Lincolnwood, IL 49.93 208 154 192 8
168 Northlake, IL 49.92 81 149 178 144
169 Streamwood, IL 49.87 182 189 164 104
170 Midlothian, IL 49.76 166 158 157 134
171 Palos Hills, IL 49.65 206 62 191 129
172 Belleville, IL 49.56 74 205 98 174
173 Burbank, IL 49.41 190 108 200 117
174 Lyons, IL 48.75 84 114 204 155
175 Oak Lawn, IL 48.61 207 128 186 125
176 DeKalb, IL 48.53 31 201 133 184
177 Matteson, IL 48.12 205 194 65 182
178 North Chicago, IL 47.95 10 219 152 188
179 Skokie, IL 47.93 197 134 209 103
179 Zion, IL 47.93 62 196 123 197
181 Schiller Park, IL 47.56 176 136 210 108
182 Hickory Hills, IL 46.86 196 79 213 130
183 Decatur, IL 46.71 125 204 99 189
184 Elmwood Park, IL 46.66 200 124 208 132
185 Melrose Park, IL 46.64 17 139 221 179
186 Alton, IL 46.23 27 195 129 205
187 Alsip, IL 46.23 130 137 196 181
188 Berwyn, IL 45.55 153 171 189 160
189 Worth, IL 45.39 198 130 206 146
190 River Grove, IL 44.98 180 141 216 127
191 Norridge, IL 44.69 221 80 211 97
192 Niles, IL 44.56 213 153 218 94
193 Mount Vernon, IL 44.37 26 220 105 202
194 Cicero, IL 44.27 65 159 217 183
195 Crestwood, IL 44.21 203 200 160 128
196 Park Forest, IL 43.43 168 172 146 207
197 Summit, IL 42.99 13 164 220 187
198 South Holland, IL 42.95 181 176 171 196
199 Forest Park, IL 42.04 139 202 199 148
200 Bridgeview, IL 41.94 172 180 201 163
201 Rockford, IL 41.88 106 218 125 203
202 Danville, IL 41.75 8 222 136 206
203 Justice, IL 41.50 89 186 215 170
204 Kankakee, IL 41.40 49 209 161 210
205 Bellwood, IL 40.51 126 181 185 208
206 Chicago Ridge, IL 39.82 116 177 222 175
207 Lansing, IL 38.74 191 211 182 199
208 Richton Park, IL 38.47 140 191 174 213
209 Chicago Heights, IL 38.19 120 197 179 214
210 Blue Island, IL 38.18 150 193 207 200
211 Sauk Village, IL 37.73 179 178 170 216
212 Hazel Crest, IL 36.33 192 199 175 215
213 Country Club Hills, IL 35.99 219 190 181 209
214 Cahokia, IL 35.55 39 213 169 219
215 Chicago, IL 34.99 115 216 219 195
216 Calumet City, IL 34.54 82 217 195 212
217 Maywood, IL 33.94 156 212 203 211
218 Markham, IL 30.50 201 203 193 218
219 Riverdale, IL 29.24 102 210 197 221
220 East St. Louis, IL 28.22 93 214 202 220
221 Dolton, IL 27.96 214 221 194 217
222 Harvey, IL 26.18 144 208 214 222

 

Ask the Experts

Families share a number of common priorities when choosing a new place to call home. With that in mind, we asked a panel of experts in fields such as family studies and public health to share their insig


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