The 10 Best Rockford Suburbs To Live In For 2023

The best Rockford suburbs are Rockton and Roscoe for 2023 based on Saturday Night Science.

While big cities like Rockford offer culture, cuisine, and charisma, they also deliver terrible traffic, towering expenses, and a taxing quality of life.

With that in mind, we wanted to uncover the best suburbs around Rockford. These burbs have all of the benefits of being near Rockford without actually having to be in the city.

Of course, not all suburbs of Rockford are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones. Using Saturday Night Science, we delve into the factors that matter most, from commutes and housing costs to community vibes, to help you uncover the perfect suburban spots in the Greater Rockford area.

Here are the 10 best suburbs to live around Rockford for 2023:

  1. Rockton
  2. Roscoe
  3. Sycamore
  4. Poplar Grove
  5. Byron
  6. Cherry Valley
  7. Winnebago
  8. Cortland
  9. Genoa
  10. Pecatonica

What’s the best suburb of Rockford? Rockton ranks as the best suburb of Rockford for 2023 based on the most recent Census and FBI data. If you happen to be a resident of Rockton, you’re probably not too surprised to find it on the top our list.

We’ll tell you what makes each of these 10 Rockford ‘burbs better than the rest–but first, a bit about our methodology.

Feel free to check out some more reading about Illinois:

Table Of Contents: Top Ten | Methodology | Summary | Table

The 10 Best Rockford Suburbs To Live For 2023

Rockton, IL

Source: Wikipedia User Royalbroil | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 8,051
Median Income: $103,397
Unemployment Rate: 3.5%
Poverty Rate: 6.0%
More on Rockton: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Rockton is always mentioned as one of the best suburbs in the Rockford area. We’ll tell you the good about “Awesome Rockton.”

Everyone here is rich; families average $103,397 a year, which is the 2nd highest in the Rockford region. And only 3.48% are out of work. Homes average more than $189,900 each.

Roscoe, IL

Source: Wikipedia User Royalbroil | CC BY-SA 3.0
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 11,092
Median Income: $101,250
Unemployment Rate: 3.4%
Poverty Rate: 3.5%
More on Roscoe: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Roscoe is the second best ‘burb we looked at near Rockford for 2023.

It ranks 3rd for incomes in the area and only 3.03% of residents lack insurance, good for 5th best.

Sycamore, IL

Source: Wikipedia User A mcmurray | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 18,144
Median Income: $73,475
Unemployment Rate: 3.8%
Poverty Rate: 9.5%
More on Sycamore: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Here in Sycamore, it’s really safe, and residents are just about as rich as you’ll see in the Rockford 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 Sycamore.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,514
Median Income: $104,559
Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
Poverty Rate: 6.0%
More on Poplar Grove: Data | Real Estate

Poplar Grove ranks as the 4th best suburb of Rockford for 2023.

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

Byron, IL

Source: Wikipedia User Ben Jacobson (Kranar Drogin) | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,740
Median Income: $66,620
Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
Poverty Rate: 10.1%
More on Byron: Data | Real Estate

Coming in as the fifth best is Byron.

Byron gets kudos for having the 12th most expensive homes in the Rockford area, where houses sell for an average of $148,000. However, the cost of living here is among the highest in the area.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,726
Median Income: $69,358
Unemployment Rate: 2.3%
Poverty Rate: 4.3%
More on Cherry Valley: Data | Crime | Real Estate

Cherry Valley 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 2.31%.

According to online reports, Cherry Valley is quickly becoming one of the more affluent suburbs in the Rockford area, meaning you need to get in soon.

Winnebago, IL

Source: Wikipedia User Ben Jacobson (Kranar Drogin) | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 3,323
Median Income: $85,300
Unemployment Rate: 3.6%
Poverty Rate: 6.0%
More on Winnebago: Data | Crime | Real Estate

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

Winnebago 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 8.7 miles to downtown, which is a good thing.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 4,436
Median Income: $72,431
Unemployment Rate: 5.1%
Poverty Rate: 3.9%
More on Cortland: Data | Real Estate

Cortland 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 3.94% of people lack insurance, good for 11th in the area.

Overall SnackAbility


Population: 5,139
Median Income: $74,676
Unemployment Rate: 5.9%
Poverty Rate: 5.9%
More on Genoa: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Is ‘Everything Better In Genoa?’


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.

Pecatonica, IL

Source: Wikipedia User Ben Jacobson (Kranar Drogin) | GFDL
Overall SnackAbility


Population: 2,189
Median Income: $65,767
Unemployment Rate: 4.8%
Poverty Rate: 4.9%
More on Pecatonica: Data | Real Estate

And rounding out the top ten for 2023 is Pecatonica.

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.

Methodology: How We Determined The Best Suburbs Around Rockford for 2023

Figuring out the best suburbs around Rockford was simple. We used Saturday Night Science to find things people like about living in the suburbs and then locate the suburbs with those things.

We analyzed the newest American Community Survey data for 2017-2021 to research each suburb. We decided upon the following criteria:

  • 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

We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Rockford.

Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 25 suburbs to evaluate around Rockford.

We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 25 in each category, where 1 was the “best.

Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality-of-life index.

Finally, we crowned the city with the best quality of life index, the “Best Suburb near Rockford.” We’re lookin’ at you, Rockton.

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 more extensive selection of suburbs.

We updated the data for 2023. This report is our tenth time ranking the best Rockford suburbs. Skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from best to worst.

Summary: Welcome to the Best Rockford ‘Burbs of 2023

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 craving the amenities of a larger city like Rockford but don’t want to deal with the drawbacks, one of these suburbs might be for you.

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Rockford Suburbs

Rank City Population Median Income
1 Rockton, IL 8,051 $103,397
2 Roscoe, IL 11,092 $101,250
3 Sycamore, IL 18,144 $73,475
4 Poplar Grove, IL 4,514 $104,559
5 Byron, IL 3,740 $66,620
6 Cherry Valley, IL 2,726 $69,358
7 Winnebago, IL 3,323 $85,300
8 Cortland, IL 4,436 $72,431
9 Genoa, IL 5,139 $74,676
10 Pecatonica, IL 2,189 $65,767
11 Janesville, IL 65,506 $63,259
12 Davis Junction, IL 2,684 $90,039
13 Oregon, IL 3,927 $65,375
14 Machesney Park, IL 22,870 $65,442
15 Marengo, IL 7,466 $65,136
16 Dekalb, IL 41,083 $45,591
17 Loves Park, IL 23,223 $57,894
18 Brodhead, IL 3,247 $43,306
19 South Beloit, IL 7,943 $65,218
20 Mount Morris, IL 3,044 $34,728
21 Belvidere, IL 25,179 $57,507
22 Beloit, IL 36,567 $52,097
23 Freeport, IL 24,087 $41,831
24 Rochelle, IL 9,380 $50,500
25 Harvard, IL 9,482 $63,044
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.