The 10 Best Places To Live In Illinois In 2023

The best places to live in Illinois for 2023 are Western Springs, Hinsdale, and Libertyville. Find out where your city or town ranks.

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.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the best states in America or the best places to live in America.

For more Illinois reading, check out:

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The 10 best places to live In Illinois for 2023

Western Springs, IL

Overall SnackAbility

Population 13,550
Rank Last Year 1
Median Home Value $623,400
Unemployment Rate 2.8%

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.

More on Western Springs: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Hinsdale, IL

Overall SnackAbility

Population 17,148
Rank Last Year 8
Median Home Value $880,100
Unemployment Rate 2.2%

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.

More on Hinsdale: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Libertyville, IL

Overall SnackAbility

Population 20,616
Rank Last Year 3
Median Home Value $448,800
Unemployment Rate 2.9%

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.

More on Libertyville: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Lincolnshire, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population 7,905
Rank Last Year 9
Median Home Value $569,600
Unemployment Rate 2.4%

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.

More on Lincolnshire: Real Estate | Cost Of Living

Northbrook, IL

Overall SnackAbility

Population 35,108
Rank Last Year 4
Median Home Value $571,400
Unemployment Rate 2.7%

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.

More on Northbrook: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Buffalo Grove, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population 43,062
Rank Last Year 6
Median Home Value $341,400
Unemployment Rate 3.1%

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.

More on Buffalo Grove: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Lake Bluff, IL

Overall SnackAbility

Population 5,878
Rank Last Year 5
Median Home Value $660,500
Unemployment Rate 2.8%

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.

More on Lake Bluff: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Park Ridge, IL

Overall SnackAbility

Population 39,562
Rank Last Year 10
Median Home Value $458,600
Unemployment Rate 3.4%

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.

More on Park Ridge: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Deerfield, IL

Overall SnackAbility

Population 19,228
Rank Last Year 2
Median Home Value $529,600
Unemployment Rate 3.0%

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.

More on Deerfield: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

Gilberts, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

Population 8,220
Rank Last Year 41
Median Home Value $265,600
Unemployment Rate 1.8%

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.

More on Gilberts: Real Estate | Crime Report | Cost Of Living

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’.

Now we also realize that city living might not be your cup of tea, so we ran the same analysis on the best towns and then again for the best small towns.

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
  • Crime
  • Education Levels
  • Health Insurance Coverage
  • Poverty rates

Sources of criteria include the New Census Data and FBI Crime Data. You can download the best places data here.

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

  1. Leland Grove (Pop. 1,625)
  2. Dunlap (Pop. 1,351)
  3. St. Joseph (Pop. 4,109)
  4. Germantown Hills (Pop. 3,491)
  5. Hudson (Pop. 1,704)
  6. Rochester (Pop. 3,687)
  7. Sherman (Pop. 4,404)
  8. Philo (Pop. 1,627)
  9. Kenilworth (Pop. 2,613)
  10. Forsyth (Pop. 3,421)

Best Small Towns To Live In Illinois

  1. Irwin (Pop. 79)
  2. Georgetown (Pop. 516)
  3. Indian Creek (Pop. 768)
  4. Ogden (Pop. 732)
  5. Bartelso (Pop. 619)
  6. Spaulding (Pop. 766)
  7. Downs (Pop. 971)
  8. Pesotum (Pop. 514)
  9. Goodfield (Pop. 931)
  10. McNabb (Pop. 305)

If you’re curious enough, here are the worst places to live in Illinois according to the data:

  1. Riverdale (Pop. 10,909)
  2. Cahokia (Pop. 12,440)
  3. Harvey (Pop. 20,751)

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Best Places To Live In Illinois

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Value
1 Western Springs 13,550 2.8% $623,400
2 Hinsdale 17,148 2.2% $880,100
3 Libertyville 20,616 2.9% $448,800
4 Lincolnshire 7,905 2.4% $569,600
5 Northbrook 35,108 2.7% $571,400
6 Buffalo Grove 43,062 3.1% $341,400
7 Lake Bluff 5,878 2.8% $660,500
8 Park Ridge 39,562 3.4% $458,600
9 Deerfield 19,228 3.0% $529,600
10 Gilberts 8,220 1.8% $265,600
11 Winnetka 12,658 3.8% $1,123,700
12 Wheaton 53,762 4.1% $381,800
13 Mahomet 9,297 1.4% $239,700
14 Inverness 7,684 2.3% $640,700
15 Elburn 5,981 1.4% $273,400
16 Clarendon Hills 8,707 2.7% $493,800
17 Wilmette 27,895 4.5% $710,400
18 Glencoe 8,824 4.3% $1,101,200
19 Glen Ellyn 28,506 4.5% $464,300
20 Geneva 21,472 2.7% $348,700
21 Itasca 9,623 2.9% $347,200
22 Riverside 9,346 4.6% $422,300
23 Elmhurst 45,661 5.2% $458,700
24 Chatham 14,245 3.2% $201,200
25 Lake Forest 19,450 3.4% $812,900
26 Hawthorn Woods 8,959 3.8% $560,900
27 Arlington Heights 77,283 3.5% $360,900
28 Winfield 9,852 4.4% $327,600
29 Naperville 149,013 4.5% $433,400
30 South Barrington 5,012 3.0% $849,400
31 Highland Park 30,245 3.8% $523,500
32 La Grange 16,220 3.2% $514,700
33 New Lenox 26,942 3.7% $316,200
34 Campton Hills 10,468 4.9% $427,400
35 Shorewood 17,947 4.7% $273,100
36 La Grange Park 13,501 3.9% $370,900
37 Vernon Hills 26,723 3.5% $338,000
38 Mokena 19,897 3.4% $324,000
39 Downers Grove 50,209 4.5% $374,500
40 Bartlett 41,126 2.9% $292,100
41 Northfield 5,853 2.1% $743,600
42 Cary 17,919 6.2% $245,400
43 Lake Zurich 19,807 3.3% $351,600
44 Darien 22,087 4.4% $343,100
45 Glenview 48,150 3.4% $529,500
46 Barrington 11,174 2.8% $477,500
47 Westchester 16,837 4.7% $257,500
48 Batavia 26,261 3.6% $316,800
49 Willowbrook 9,178 3.1% $282,600
50 Huntley 27,314 3.1% $270,800
51 Lemont 17,535 4.1% $389,000
52 River Forest 11,742 6.3% $601,300
53 Oswego 34,324 2.7% $273,500
54 Frankfort 20,040 4.4% $389,500
55 Lisle 23,982 4.9% $368,700
56 Lindenhurst 14,453 7.0% $228,300
57 Pingree Grove 9,734 0.7% $270,900
58 Palos Heights 12,116 4.0% $306,600
59 West Dundee 7,797 3.4% $299,800
60 Burr Ridge 11,167 3.9% $672,500
61 Lombard 44,311 5.0% $272,400
62 St. Charles 32,908 4.0% $317,400
63 Columbia 11,090 1.4% $238,800
64 Washington 16,008 2.1% $188,200
65 Mount Prospect 56,510 4.2% $336,300
66 Roselle 23,000 7.2% $273,500
67 Roscoe 11,092 3.4% $181,100
68 Gurnee 30,826 5.2% $276,300
69 Schaumburg 78,053 4.0% $272,500
70 Manhattan 9,366 3.9% $258,600
71 Willow Springs 5,874 5.2% $301,300
72 Bloomingdale 22,436 4.9% $314,700
73 Crystal Lake 40,082 4.7% $241,500
74 Monticello 6,202 1.7% $173,200
75 Orland Park 58,622 5.0% $296,600
76 Villa Park 22,755 3.7% $263,100
77 Lincolnwood 13,358 7.9% $398,500
78 Wauconda 14,068 2.9% $235,000
79 Yorkville 20,503 4.3% $261,000
80 Lake In The Hills 29,024 4.9% $247,400
81 Homer Glen 24,664 5.1% $349,900
82 Westmont 24,632 3.0% $317,300
83 Rockton 8,051 3.5% $189,900
84 Palatine 67,754 4.6% $296,100
85 Mount Zion 6,092 3.3% $147,300
86 Glen Carbon 13,532 4.1% $234,900
87 Plainfield 44,296 4.7% $330,600
88 O’fallon 31,963 3.4% $224,000
89 Oak Park 54,100 4.9% $409,000
90 Lake Villa 8,741 6.0% $279,400
91 Morton Grove 25,004 3.7% $332,100
92 Long Grove 8,258 3.6% $664,000
93 Carol Stream 39,895 4.8% $265,600
94 Woodridge 34,161 4.3% $292,400
95 South Elgin 23,749 3.7% $257,700
96 Troy 10,858 3.7% $203,500
97 Evergreen Park 19,884 3.4% $212,600
98 Spring Grove 5,713 9.5% $321,200
99 Mundelein 31,596 2.7% $241,200
100 Shiloh 13,638 1.9% $220,400
Editor’s Note: We updated this article for 2023. This is our tenth time ranking the best places to live in Illinois.

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.