The 10 Best Chicago Suburbs To Live For 2021


We analyzed over 165 places around Chicago to identify the most in demand places to live.

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Editor’s Note: Data has been updated for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best Chicago suburbs.

If you need one more reason to move to one of Chicago's best suburbs, HomeSnacks is here to give you ten. We've created a list of the top ten best suburbs in Chi-town for 2021 and listed them below.

Whether you're a die hard Chicago Bears fan, a deep dish 'za fan, or just a fan of a great people, Chicago's suburbs have all this and then some. And because we know that when searching for your forever home, the amount of information can be overwhelming; take the guessing out of the equation and use our guide to help you navigate Chicago's suburban waters.

How did we calculate our list? To get the most scientific list, we looked at the latest FBI data for and Census for Chicago's 167 suburbs. We looked at things like crime reports, median income levels, unemployment rates, and poverty rates for each place. We then ran each suburb through our SnackAbility formula for things like affordability, education levels, safety, and amenities. And, folks, the top ten best suburbs in Chicago are very snack worthy: 8 of the top ten scored a perfect 10/10!

If you're looking for a safe, family friendly Chicago burb, River Forest's real estate agents are ready to take your calls, if you're a new professional just starting out, Clarendon Hills is on Chicago's "L" and the unemployment rate is relatively low and if you are looking for a suburb with lots to do, Inverness has twenty parks and first class shopping.

More importantly, if you don't want to be left out in The Windy City's cold, take a look at our list below so that you are in the know.

Here are the 10 best suburbs to live around Chicago for 2021:

  1. Western Springs
  2. River Forest
  3. Winnetka
  4. Glencoe
  5. Wilmette
  6. La Grange
  7. Hinsdale
  8. Deerfield
  9. Park Ridge
  10. Inverness

Chicago is America's 3rd biggest city, so to put up the numbers that this city's best suburbs have done in terms of our SnackAbility criteria, deserves a good 'ol fashioned shout out! Not to mention, Chicago's number one best suburb should be the poster suburb for the rest of the country.

So, what is Chicago's best suburb for 2021? Well, according to the latest data, that award goes to Western Springs.

And if Chicago is your kind of town like it's our kind of town, do yourself a favor and hit that down arrow key to see where the rest of Chicago's suburbs landed on our list.

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.

Feel free to check out some more reading about Illinois:

The 10 Best Chicago Suburbs To Live For 2021

Western Springs, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 13,272
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $174,760
Unemployment Rate: 2.3%
Poverty Rate: 3.9%
More on Western Springs: Real Estate | Data | Photos

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

Everyone here is rich; families average $174,760 a year, which is the 8th highest in the Chicago region. And only 2.35% are out of work. Homes average more than $609,900 each.

River Forest, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 10,970
Rank Last Year: 4 (Up 2)
Median Income: $129,928
Unemployment Rate: 2.2%
Poverty Rate: 3.6%
More on River Forest: Real Estate | Data | Photos

River Forest is the second best 'burb we looked at near Chicago for 2021.

It ranks 18th for incomes in the area and only 1.73% of residents lack insurance, good for 17th best.

Winnetka, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 12,428
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $250,001
Unemployment Rate: 2.4%
Poverty Rate: 2.9%
More on Winnetka: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Here in Winnetka, it's really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you'll see in the Chicago 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 Winnetka.

Glencoe, IL

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 8,888
Rank Last Year: 5 (Up 1)
Median Income: $248,851
Unemployment Rate: 2.6%
Poverty Rate: 2.4%
More on Glencoe: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Glencoe ranks as the 4th best suburb of Chicago for 2021.

You won't find many better places to raise your kids in the region than in Glencoe and the schools are some of the best around.

Wilmette, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 27,247
Rank Last Year: 3 (Down 2)
Median Income: $164,681
Unemployment Rate: 4.2%
Poverty Rate: 3.1%
More on Wilmette: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Coming in as the fifth best is Wilmette.

Wilmette gets kudos for having the 9th most expensive homes in the Chicago area, where houses sell for an average of $707,800. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

La Grange, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 15,545
Rank Last Year: 10 (Up 4)
Median Income: $123,965
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 3.0%
More on La Grange: Real Estate | Data | Photos

La Grange 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 3.87% which is 5best in the area.

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

Hinsdale, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 17,710
Rank Last Year: 6 (Down 1)
Median Income: $203,368
Unemployment Rate: 2.9%
Poverty Rate: 2.2%
More on Hinsdale: Real Estate | Data | Photos

The 7th best suburb on our list goes to Hinsdale.

Hinsdale 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 12.9 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

Deerfield, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 19,006
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 1)
Median Income: $153,431
Unemployment Rate: 2.7%
Poverty Rate: 2.8%
More on Deerfield: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Deerfield 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 1.82% of people lack insurance, good for 20th in the area.

Park Ridge, IL

Overall SnackAbility

10
/10

Population: 37,457
Rank Last Year: 12 (Up 3)
Median Income: $111,642
Unemployment Rate: 2.9%
Poverty Rate: 3.8%
More on Park Ridge: Real Estate | Data | Photos

Is 'Everything Better In Park Ridge?'

Almost.

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.

Inverness, IL

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 7,633
Rank Last Year: 9 (Down 1)
Median Income: $192,576
Unemployment Rate: 1.5%
Poverty Rate: 1.5%
More on Inverness: Real Estate | Data | Photos

And rounding out the top ten for 2021 is Inverness.

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 Chicago for 2021

Figuring out the best suburbs around Chicago 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 2015-2019 to research each suburb.

FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Chicago.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 167 suburbs to evaluate around Chicago.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 167 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 Chicago." We're lookin' at you, Western Springs. 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 Chicago 'Burbs of 2021

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 Chicago, 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 Chicago Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Western Springs, IL 13,272 $174,760
2 River Forest, IL 10,970 $129,928
3 Winnetka, IL 12,428 $250,001
4 Glencoe, IL 8,888 $248,851
5 Wilmette, IL 27,247 $164,681
6 La Grange, IL 15,545 $123,965
7 Hinsdale, IL 17,710 $203,368
8 Deerfield, IL 19,006 $153,431
9 Park Ridge, IL 37,457 $111,642
10 Inverness, IL 7,633 $192,576
11 Kenilworth, IL 2,460 $227,404
12 Northbrook, IL 33,343 $124,863
13 Winfield, IL 9,700 $113,583
14 Buffalo Grove, IL 41,062 $115,951
15 Elmhurst, IL 46,463 $118,609
16 Clarendon Hills, IL 8,716 $111,958
17 Burr Ridge, IL 10,763 $159,335
18 Lake Forest, IL 19,173 $172,165
19 La Grange Park, IL 13,395 $105,783
20 Naperville, IL 147,501 $125,926
21 Glen Ellyn, IL 27,855 $110,678
22 Highland Park, IL 29,628 $150,269
23 South Barrington, IL 4,923 $138,828
24 Arlington Heights, IL 75,482 $96,340
25 Northfield, IL 5,534 $148,077
26 Wheaton, IL 53,270 $103,376
27 Frankfort, IL 18,999 $139,145
28 Mokena, IL 20,674 $109,108
29 Long Grove, IL 7,963 $214,073
30 Riverside, IL 8,759 $111,657
31 Lincolnshire, IL 7,572 $116,316
32 Downers Grove, IL 49,470 $94,893
33 Glenview, IL 47,416 $115,198
34 Oak Brook, IL 8,075 $141,055
35 Oak Park, IL 52,233 $94,646
36 Darien, IL 21,884 $96,275
37 Palos Heights, IL 12,480 $89,286
38 Indian Head Park, IL 3,776 $85,910
39 Roselle, IL 22,754 $90,257
40 New Lenox, IL 26,454 $110,313
41 Lemont, IL 17,023 $99,724
42 Orland Hills, IL 7,136 $95,798
43 St. John, IL 17,426 $105,852
44 Itasca, IL 9,224 $93,958
45 Brookfield, IL 18,735 $82,435
46 Morton Grove, IL 23,089 $85,360
47 Lincolnwood, IL 12,434 $95,030
48 Lisle, IL 23,431 $90,588
49 Orland Park, IL 58,749 $90,345
50 Norridge, IL 14,703 $72,570
51 Riverwoods, IL 3,618 $207,188
52 Homer Glen, IL 24,592 $106,818
53 Westchester, IL 16,440 $86,623
54 Palos Park, IL 4,842 $102,361
55 Willowbrook, IL 8,673 $76,997
56 Willowbrook, IL 8,673 $76,997
57 Willowbrook, IL 8,673 $76,997
58 Willowbrook, IL 8,673 $76,997
59 Munster, IL 22,689 $84,254
60 Lombard, IL 43,998 $82,461
61 Evanston, IL 74,587 $78,904
62 Schaumburg, IL 74,194 $83,096
63 Lockport, IL 25,307 $90,475
64 Dyer, IL 15,953 $84,202
65 Woodridge, IL 33,455 $86,094
66 Hoffman Estates, IL 50,841 $91,917
67 Evergreen Park, IL 19,479 $75,657
68 Mount Prospect, IL 54,604 $79,733
69 Bloomingdale, IL 22,027 $86,350
70 Villa Park, IL 21,916 $77,739
71 Willow Springs, IL 5,604 $83,860
72 Olympia Fields, IL 4,821 $98,977
73 Skokie, IL 63,821 $73,046
74 Palatine, IL 68,407 $80,526
75 Westmont, IL 24,931 $64,416
76 Monee, IL 5,082 $71,082
77 Homewood, IL 19,112 $74,450
78 North Riverside, IL 6,646 $59,340
79 Streamwood, IL 39,809 $80,651
80 Tinley Park, IL 56,505 $78,343
81 Forest Park, IL 13,927 $62,664
82 Oak Forest, IL 27,617 $76,945
83 Oakbrook Terrace, IL 2,752 $72,326
84 Flossmoor, IL 9,472 $115,288
85 Schererville, IL 28,590 $72,035
86 Warrenville, IL 13,158 $87,871
87 Rolling Meadows, IL 23,219 $74,134
88 Carol Stream, IL 39,726 $82,062
89 Bolingbrook, IL 74,431 $91,290
90 Niles, IL 29,451 $64,772
91 Elmwood Park, IL 24,468 $59,963
92 Highwood, IL 5,310 $63,388
93 Harwood Heights, IL 8,487 $64,523
94 Oak Lawn, IL 55,936 $64,476
95 Des Plaines, IL 58,673 $69,760
96 Stickney, IL 6,679 $65,257
97 Prospect Heights, IL 16,137 $73,084
98 Countryside, IL 5,961 $60,833
99 Hickory Hills, IL 13,816 $65,226
100 Wheeling, IL 38,499 $68,615

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.