The 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Illinois For 2021

We used science and data to determine which cities in Illinois have the best set up for children: a lot to do, good schools, and no crime.

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Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2021. This is our seventh time ranking the best cities for families in Illinois.

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If you're looking for safe cities and neighborhoods, amazing schools, large green spaces, good food, and just overall good family friendly fun, you can stop your search: Illinois is one of the most family friendly states in the USA. Great family friendly Illinois cities are around every corner in The Land of Lincoln. You can have your family on a Lake Michigan beach, at an amusement park, and camping at a state park, all in the same day.

Your in luck parents, some of these family friendly cities have family friendly breweries for that end of the day family friendly fun. And lucky for you, they have many that are both kid and dog friendly. In all seriousness, Illinois has some of the best schools in the country. Blue Ribbon elementary schools, gold star high schools with focus in STEM and the Arts, and colleges like Northwestern and the University of Illinois have been delivering the next generation to work at major Illinois companies like Caterpillar, McDonalds, and Walgreens. (This is especially nice for those parents who don't want their kids to fly the coop for school or work.)

Now don't count yourselves out of the mix, parents, and definitely don't let Illinois' unemployment rate scare you. There are plenty of jobs available in Illinois for anyone who wants to work from Chicago down to Springfield. And with a $63,000/year household median, there's plenty of moneyto keep your family happy, healthy, and having fun. And speaking of healthy, Illinois has a lot of healthy options. The Prairie state is leading the way in agriculture, they have boatloads of Farmers' Markets, and plenty of space to run. They are one of the top states for life expectancy.

To take a closer look at the top ten cities on our family friendly Illinois cities for 2021, scroll on down.

The 10 Best Cities To Raise A Family In Illinois For 2021

  1. Winnetka
  2. Hinsdale
  3. Plano
  4. Western Springs
  5. Edwardsville
  6. Barrington
  7. La Grange
  8. Deerfield
  9. Palos Heights
  10. River Forest

To narrow down the most family friendly cities in Illinois, we looked at several factors: crime, education, family friendly activities and percent of households that currently have children. The cities also had to have a population of at least 10,000.

What's the most family friendly place to call home in Illinois? Without further adieu, the most family friendly city in Illinois for 2021 is Winnetka.

So, if you care about your family living where crime is low, schools are awesome, where you can lead an active, healthy lifestyle, take a look at the list below. This flyover state wants you to call it home.

Check out some more reading about Illinois and the best places for families in the country:

The 10 Best Places To Raise A Family In Illinois For 2021

Winnetka, IL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,428
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 39
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 45.2%
More on Winnetka: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Hinsdale, IL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 17,710
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 54
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 47.4%
More on Hinsdale: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Plano, IL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,752
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 60
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 46.4%
More on Plano: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Western Springs, IL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 13,272
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 32
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 43.3%
More on Western Springs: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Edwardsville, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 25,171
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 51
Closest Major City: St. Louis
Households with kids: 33.2%
More on Edwardsville: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Barrington, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,290
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 64
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 35.3%
More on Barrington: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

La Grange, IL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 15,545
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 41
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 40.3%
More on La Grange: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Deerfield, IL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 19,006
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 33
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 39.3%
More on Deerfield: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Palos Heights, IL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 12,480
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 41
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 20.7%
More on Palos Heights: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

River Forest, IL

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 10,970
Family Friendly Amenities Score: 57
Closest Major City: Chicago
Households with kids: 34.9%
More on River Forest: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

How do you determine which place is best for families in Illinois anyways?

To give you the places in Illinois which are best for families, we have to look at a handful of metrics. Of course, we want to measure the type of people who live in each city, and make some assumptions about what's family-friendly and what isn't.

So we researched the internet for a database that contains all that information.

How we crunched the family friendly numbers for the Prairie State

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using U.S. Census data produced for the state of Illinois, we looked at every single city in the state. We paid particular attention to:

  • Crime (Both violent and property)
  • Quality of local schools
  • Distance to a major city without necessarily being in it
  • % of households with children
  • Family-friendly amenities nearby (museums, libraries and colleges)

We then gave each city a Family Score.

The higher the score, the better the city is for families. We also limited our results to cities with populations over 10,000 people. For Illinois, that meant a total of 192 cities. You can download the data here.

There You Have It - The Best Places To Raise A Family In Illinois

If you're looking for a breakdown of cities in Illinois ranked by criteria that most would agree make a place a great spot for families, this is an accurate list.

Here's a look at the best cities for singles Illinois according to the data:

  1. DeKalb
  2. Machesney Park
  3. East St. Louis

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Where Are The Best Places For Families In Illinois?

Rank City Population Amenities Score
1 Winnetka, IL 12,428 38
2 Hinsdale, IL 17,710 39
3 Plano, IL 11,752 36
4 Western Springs, IL 13,272 46
5 Edwardsville, IL 25,171 59
6 Barrington, IL 10,290 60
7 La Grange, IL 15,545 42
8 Deerfield, IL 19,006 59
9 Palos Heights, IL 12,480 35
10 River Forest, IL 10,970 42

How Is The Area 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.