When you think of the best place to live in Illinois, it’s easy to assume it’s Chicago. While that might be the case for some, here at HomeSnacks, we know many other great places to live in Illinois.
There are a ton of qualities that make the best places to live in Illinois a place you should call home.
Take, for instance, the variety of delicacies the state has to offer. There is nothing like a loaded horseshoe or fried tenderloin. And you can’t live in Illinois without trying Chicago’s deep-dish pizza.
But how exactly do you find the best place to live in Illinois?
To find the best places to live in Illinois, we analyzed the most data around factors central to a high quality of life – low cost of living, strong economy, strong job market, and low crime to name a few.
Now grab a slice of deep-dish pizza and pop, and continue to dive deeper into the best places to live in Illinois.
What city is the best place to live in Illinois for 2023? Western Springs is the best place to live in Illinois if you care about home values, low crime, and high quality of life.
While not everyone can afford to live in our top ten best Illinois cities — they come with a hefty Chicago price tag — there are other unique places in Illinois to call home. And lucky for you, we have found them.
Below you’ll find more details on the top ten places to live in Illinois.
For more Illinois reading, check out:
- Best Counties To Live In Illinois
- Cheapest Places To Live In Illinois
- Best Places To Raise A Family In Illinois
Article Table Of Contents
The 10 best places to live In Illinois for 2023
|Rank Last Year||1|
|Median Home Value||$623,400|
Located between Chicago and Naperville, Western Springs is the best place to live in Illinois. Western Springs’ poverty level of 2.3% and unemployment rate of 2.8% are among the most impressive in the state. It’s not like people are just floating by here either, because at $196,638/year, Western Springs enjoys the 7th highest median household income statewide. And if you enjoy a side of culture with your cash, the Theatre of Western Springs is always putting on shows and plays.
Western Springs is also known for its excellent schools and safe streets. In fact, there were only 1 violent crimes committed in Western Springs in 2023, which gives Western Springs the 7th lowest rate in Illinois. Even though violence is quite unlikely, Western Springs residents are prepared if it does come. That’s because 98.9% of folks in Western Springs have health insurance, which is the 9th highest rate in Illinois.
|Rank Last Year||8|
|Median Home Value||$880,100|
We’re sticking around western Chi-Town suburbs for our 2nd best place to call home in Illinois, the village of Hinsdale. People in Hinsdale know the importance of education, from start to finish. All the elementary schools in Hinsdale received a score of 9/10 from GreatSchools, and both the local middle school and high school got a perfect 10/10. That educational excellence is just one of the reasons we named Hinsdale as the best family city in Illinois. Seeing as over 40% of Hinsdale’s population has a master’s degree or higher, we think the success of early education carries over nicely into success later in life.
After all, Hinsdale does have the 2nd highest median household income in the state, $224,185/year. Which comes in handy when you’ve also got the 3rd priciest homes. And since smart, moneyed individuals rarely feel the need to engage in criminal activity, Hinsdale’s crime rate being about 80% below the national average makes a lot of sense.
If you’re craving a bit more action, though, Chicago’s downtown is just 20-minute train ride away, so you can be walking The Magnificent Mile any time you like.
|Rank Last Year||3|
|Median Home Value||$448,800|
Next on our tour of the best places to live in Illinois is Libertyville. Libertyville is a city of 20,616 about 40 miles north of Chicago near the Wisconsin border. Why is Libertyville such a good place to live? Well it’s safe and clean, and that’s not something you can say about a lot of the greater Chicago area. People living here say it’s a walker’s paradise – with all the restaurants and shops that are easy to get to and enjoy.
As you would expect, the overall cost of living is high, but not that high for being so close Chicago. Homes in Libertyville are listed for about $448,800 each. And when you consider this place is so close to Chicago and that most families here bring in about 153,674, this is actually kind of a good deal.
Plus, it’s a great place to raise a family. Over 30% of adults have a master’s degree or higher and the local schools have the 12th lowest high school dropout rate. On top of that, there’s Adler Memorial Park and Butler Lake Park to take the kids on the weekend.
|Rank Last Year||9|
|Median Home Value||$569,600|
Lincolnshire is a 7,905 town located about 30 miles north of Chicago. One of the smallest places on this list, Lincolnshire punches above its weight in quality of life. The small town life includes the Marriott Theatre, mini-golf for the kids and real golf for the adults, and Spring Lake Park for the whole family. It’s the kind of great place to raise a family near the city without having to be in the city.
In terms of the numbers, Adlai E Stevenson High School earns a perfect 10/10 on GreatSchools. There’s a very low poverty rate, the cost of living isn’t crazy high, and incomes average about 144,676. Put it all together and you have a great place to live in Illinois.
|Rank Last Year||4|
|Median Home Value||$571,400|
Another Chicago suburb finds itself on our list of the best places in the Prairie State. This time it’s Northbrook, a city of 35,108 25 miles north of Chicago. The city is known for the Northbrook Park District, Northbrook Court shopping mall, and the infamous Chicago Curling Club. For you family folks, there’s also the Northbrook Public Library which is a nice activity for the kids.
Economically, Northbrook is thriving. The unemployment rate is a low 2.7%, less than 10% of residents live below the poverty line, folks are earning 143,506 a year and the median home value is $571,400.
What’s not to love? Well, if you’re in your early 20s, there might not be enough going on here to peak your interest because the median age is over 50, but if you’re looking for a great place to start a family, Northbrook would be the perfect fit.
|Rank Last Year||6|
|Median Home Value||$341,400|
In what’s becoming a pattern, Buffalo Grove is yet another Chicago suburb to rank among the best places to live in Chicago. At 43,062, Buffalo Grove is the most populous place to make this list, so you won’t have to worry about being far from the action here. Especially with Fine Art Festival and the Buffalo Grove Days popping off every summer.
You won’t have to worry about crime here either, because Buffalo Grove experienced the 11th lowest amount of violent crime per capita in Illinois and had a total crime rate about 75% below the national average. And if you’ve got kiddos, you can feel confident sending them through one of the best educational systems in the state.
With a median household income of $121,212/year and a median home price of $341,400, Buffalo Grove has the second lowest cost of living of places we’re covering on this list.
|Rank Last Year||5|
|Median Home Value||$660,500|
Lake Bluff is a village of 5,878 on the North Shore of Lake Michigan. At 46, Lake Bluff is the oldest place on this list, so keep that in mind if the relative age of your neighbors is a priority for you. Around 80% of adults in Lake Bluff have a college degree, and about half of those people have a master’s degree or higher. Which helps explain why, at 2.8%, Lake Bluff has the 26th lowest poverty level in Illinois. It’s also one of the reasons why Lake Bluff has the 12th highest median household income in the state, at $173,667/year.
Lake Bluff also only experienced 2 violent crimes in 2023, the 26th lowest rate in Illinois. So you don’t have to worry about pickpockets or hooligans when you go to catch a show on the village green for the Bluffina Summer Concert Series.
|Rank Last Year||10|
|Median Home Value||$458,600|
Located 15 miles northwest of downtown Chicago, Park Ridge ranks as the 8th best place to call home in Illinois.
For starters, you never have to worry about how you’ll get to the airport in Park Ridge, because O’Hare International Airport is basically right there. Park Ridge also has several top-notch amenities, from the trails at the Wildwood Nature Center, to the historic Pickwick Theatre, and a ton of spas per capita.
As for the data, everything points to Park Ridge being an excellent forever home. Crime is low, schools are great, and the local economy works for everyone — we don’t hand out 10/10 SnackAbility scores for nothing, after all.
The median household income in Park Ridge sits at an impressive $124,535, and homes typically sell for $458,600. It’s also one of the most densely populated spots on this list, which translates into more amenities and less boredom.
|Rank Last Year||2|
|Median Home Value||$529,600|
We start our tour of the best places to call home in Illinois with Deerfield, a North Shore suburb of Chicago. Deerfield ranks as the 42nd least violent place in the state and has a total crime rate about 70% below the national average.
Deerfield’s economy is largely driven by the healthcare industry, as it is home to the headquarters of big name companies like Walgreens, Baxter, and Takeda Pharmaceuticals. If you’re working in one of those fields, you should have no trouble locking down a job here. And based on Deerfield’s rank as the 13th best-paid populace in the state, with a median household income of $168,568/year, we think you should do pretty well for yourself at that job. And with a sub-3% unemployment rate and poverty level, Deerfield’s economy is working at every level. For a village where healthcare looms large, it’s not surprising that 98.4% of residents have health insurance, one of the highest rates in Illinois.
If you’re planning on moving with your family, or starting a family soon, know that Deerfield’s school district is among the best in the state, with GreatSchools awarding a 9/10 score or higher to every single public school in the area. Speaking of education, the local Historic Village is a staple of the Deerfield school experience that’s fun for the whole family. But if you’re looking for something a tad bit more modern, “The Square” in Deerfield’s downtown has everything you need to keep your shopaholism satisfied.
|Rank Last Year||41|
|Median Home Value||$265,600|
Located in Kane County, Illinois, Gilberts is a village known for its low cost of living and high quality of life. With a population of approximately 8,220 residents, Gilberts offers a peaceful and friendly community atmosphere. The median home price in Gilberts is $265,600, making it affordable compared to other cities in Illinois.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Gilberts offers several parks and green spaces to explore. Town Center Park, which spans 20 acres, is a popular spot for sports teams and features facilities for baseball and soccer. Meanwhile, Memorial Park provides amenities such as a baseball diamond, playground, and fishing pond.
Gilberts is conveniently situated within easy reach of larger cities like Elgin and Belvidere. This allows residents to access additional amenities and entertainment options while enjoying a smaller community’s relaxed atmosphere.
Mapping The Best And Worst Places To Live in Illinois
Best Places To Live In Illinois Size Requirement
Before we even started to collect data on the best places to live in Illinois, we had to answer a tough question: Is it fair to pit Springfield with a population of 114,672 against places with a population of 18?
We firmly decided no, that just isn’t fair.
So to create our ranking, we broke the best places to live into three tiers:
- Cities — Populations over 5,000
- Towns — Populations between 1,000 and 5,000
- Small Towns — Populations below 1,000
This left us with 325 cities, 376 towns, and 620 small towns.
We then decided, no matter how much anyone loves their town, the best cities to live in Illinois have more of everything and therefore you need to have over 5,000 people to truly be ‘the best’.
You can see the results of those best place rankings at the end of the article.
Methodology: How We Calculated The Best Cities To Live In Illinois
Now that we had our set of the best possible cities, it was time to rank them.
We ranked each place in Illinois across a number of criteria from one to 325, with one being the best.
We then took the average rank across all criteria, with the city posting the lowest overall score being crowned the winner of the title “Best Place To Live In Illinois”.
The criteria we looked to determine the best places were:
- Median Home Values
- Median Income
- Population Density (Higher better)
- Unemployment Rate
- Commute Time
- Education Levels
- Health Insurance Coverage
- Poverty rates
After the dust settled, what was the best place to live in Illinois? That would be Western Springs.
If your city or town isn’t among the top 10, jump down to the bottom of the post to see a detailed chart of the best places in Illinois.
Otherwise, buckle up for a ride down good living lane with Western Springs at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Summary: The Best Places In Illinois
If you’re looking at areas in Illinois with the best economic situations, where there’s lower than average crime, and a lot to do, this is an accurate list.
Western Springs made a strong showing to take in the overall number one spot for the best place to live in Illinois for 2023.
Best Towns To Live In Illinois
- Leland Grove (Pop. 1,625)
- Dunlap (Pop. 1,351)
- St. Joseph (Pop. 4,109)
- Germantown Hills (Pop. 3,491)
- Hudson (Pop. 1,704)
- Rochester (Pop. 3,687)
- Sherman (Pop. 4,404)
- Philo (Pop. 1,627)
- Kenilworth (Pop. 2,613)
- Forsyth (Pop. 3,421)
Best Small Towns To Live In Illinois
- Irwin (Pop. 79)
- Georgetown (Pop. 516)
- Indian Creek (Pop. 768)
- Ogden (Pop. 732)
- Bartelso (Pop. 619)
- Spaulding (Pop. 766)
- Downs (Pop. 971)
- Pesotum (Pop. 514)
- Goodfield (Pop. 931)
- McNabb (Pop. 305)
If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Illinois according to the data:
- Riverdale (Pop. 10,909)
- Cahokia (Pop. 12,440)
- Harvey (Pop. 20,751)
For more Illinois reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Illinois
- Richest Cities In Illinois
- Safest Places In Illinois
- Worst Places To Live In Illinois
Best Places To Live In Illinois
|36||La Grange Park||13,501|
|80||Lake In The Hills||29,024|