The 10 Best Small Towns In Illinois For 2022


We used science and data to determine which small towns in Illinois are the best of the best.

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You've seen these lists before: Best places to live in Illinois, Most Beautiful Downtowns, etc., etc. But all of them focus on major cities and towns in the Prairie State and no one pays attention to the little guy.

Well, that's all about to change as we put together a list of the best small towns in Illinois based on numbers--not opinions or hearsay.

We'll dive right into our methodology in the next section; but first, we thought you might just want to know which places in Illinois ranked the based--you know, based on science.

Before we get to the top 15, here's a look at the 10 Best Small Towns To Live in Illinois for 2022.

The 10 Best Small Towns To Live In Illinois For 2022

  1. Germa
  2. Prestbury
  3. Leland Grove
  4. Philo
  5. Dunlap
  6. Rochester
  7. Tremont
  8. Third Lake
  9. Hudson
  10. Knollwood

What's the best small town in Illinois? Germa is the best small town in Illinois based on the most recent Census data. If you live in one of these small towns like Germa, chances are, you're not surprised. After all, you know how great you have it.

But for the rest of you--keep reading and we'll get to just why these small towns made our list.

For more reading on the Prairie State check out:

The 15 Best Small Towns In Illinois For 2022

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 3,421
Median Income: $120,057 (17th Best)
Median Home Value: $232,600 (34th Best)
More on Germa: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,978
Median Income: $112,155 (24th Best)
Median Home Value: $309,000 (22nd Best)
More on Prestbury: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 1,237
Median Income: $111,458 (25th Best)
Median Home Value: $220,200 (38th Best)
More on Leland Grove: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,398
Median Income: $91,156 (47th Best)
Median Home Value: $157,200 (97th Best)
More on Philo: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 1,100
Median Income: $99,018 (35th Best)
Median Home Value: $237,100 (33rd Best)
More on Dunlap: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 3,778
Median Income: $95,463 (41st Best)
Median Home Value: $206,300 (42nd Best)
More on Rochester: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,261
Median Income: $64,000 (133rd Best)
Median Home Value: $175,100 (65th Best)
More on Tremont: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 1,160
Median Income: $135,021 (12th Best)
Median Home Value: $273,600 (26th Best)
More on Third Lake: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,128
Median Income: $96,538 (37th Best)
Median Home Value: $173,000 (75th Best)
More on Hudson: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 1,684
Median Income: $126,250 (14th Best)
Median Home Value: $319,600 (19th Best)
More on Knollwood: Data | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 4,470
Median Income: $123,232 (15th Best)
Median Home Value: $253,500 (30th Best)
More on Sherman: Data | Homes For Sale

Kenilworth, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 2,356
Median Income: $241,591 (1st Best)
Median Home Value: $1,231,500 (1st Best)
More on Kenilworth: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

St. Joseph, IL

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 4,053
Median Income: $93,621 (43rd Best)
Median Home Value: $194,800 (48th Best)
More on St. Joseph: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Overall SnackAbility

5
/10

Population: 1,807
Median Income: $72,404 (98th Best)
Median Home Value: $169,100 (81st Best)
More on Teutopolis: Data | Homes For Sale

Lakewood, IL

Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 4,013
Median Income: $149,583 (9th Best)
Median Home Value: $401,900 (12th Best)
More on Lakewood: PhotosData | Homes For Sale

Methodology: How We Determined The Coolest Towns In Illinois

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent data from the Census's 2016-2020 American Community Survey and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (Higher is better)
  • Lowest Unemployment Rates
  • Housing costs (Higher is better. More demand.)
  • Adjusted Median Income (Higher is better)
  • Highly Educated Adults (Higher is better)
  • Insurance Rates (Higher is better)
  • Commute Times (Lower is better)

We looked at places with populations lower than 5,000 people and greater than 1,000, of which, there were a lot - 376 to be exact.

We then ranked each place in each category with scores from 1 to 376, averaged them out, and the lowest scores went to our Best Small Towns in Illinois. Top of that list -- Germa. You can download the data here.

Keep reading to find out more about our top 15 best small towns in Illinois.

Summary: Science Can Tackle Any Issue, Even Small Ones

We said it once and we'll say it again -- this list: it's just science. We did the research, we crunched the numbers, and it turns out, these 15 small towns in Illinois are the best, in which to live.

And who can argue with that?

If you're curious, here are the worst small towns in Illinois:

  1. Cairo
  2. Wamac
  3. Alorton

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Detailed List Of The Best Small Towns In Illinois

Rank City Population Median Income Median Home Value
1 Germa, IL 3,421 $120,057.0 $232,600.0
2 Prestbury, IL 1,978 $112,155.0 $309,000.0
3 Leland Grove, IL 1,237 $111,458.0 $220,200.0
4 Philo, IL 1,398 $91,156.0 $157,200.0
5 Dunlap, IL 1,100 $99,018.0 $237,100.0
6 Rochester, IL 3,778 $95,463.0 $206,300.0
7 Tremont, IL 2,261 $64,000.0 $175,100.0
8 Third Lake, IL 1,160 $135,021.0 $273,600.0
9 Hudson, IL 2,128 $96,538.0 $173,000.0
10 Knollwood, IL 1,684 $126,250.0 $319,600.0
11 Sherman, IL 4,470 $123,232.0 $253,500.0
12 Kenilworth, IL 2,356 $241,591.0 $1,231,500.0
13 St. Joseph, IL 4,053 $93,621.0 $194,800.0
14 Teutopolis, IL 1,807 $72,404.0 $169,100.0
15 Lakewood, IL 4,013 $149,583.0 $401,900.0
16 Tower Lakes, IL 1,293 $143,250.0 $470,400.0
17 Williamsville, IL 1,468 $86,326.0 $162,900.0
18 Forest Lake, IL 1,292 $87,232.0 $303,800.0
19 Aviston, IL 2,173 $81,198.0 $173,300.0
20 Forsyth, IL 3,474 $95,865.0 $225,300.0
21 Orion, IL 1,895 $68,625.0 $145,600.0
22 Indian Head Park, IL 3,744 $88,496.0 $258,600.0
23 Port Barrington, IL 1,742 $144,531.0 $301,000.0
24 Downs, IL 1,417 $92,288.0 $190,500.0
25 Deer Park, IL 4,005 $161,422.0 $550,600.0
26 Kildeer, IL 4,007 $212,500.0 $635,200.0
27 Coyne Center, IL 1,102 $116,116.0 $193,800.0
28 Coal Valley, IL 3,817 $73,472.0 $160,800.0
29 South Barrington, IL 4,963 $183,750.0 $855,700.0
30 Twin Grove, IL 1,243 $109,191.0 $242,700.0
31 Stillman Valley, IL 1,348 $68,958.0 $138,500.0
32 Fox River Grove, IL 4,639 $116,442.0 $259,400.0
33 Green Oaks, IL 3,882 $119,625.0 $588,000.0
34 Heritage Lake, IL 1,664 $87,358.0 $180,100.0
35 Bannockburn, IL 1,194 $115,833.0 $983,700.0
36 Roanoke, IL 1,880 $64,167.0 $124,600.0
37 Sleepy Hollow, IL 3,276 $122,121.0 $315,900.0
38 Trenton, IL 2,604 $54,138.0 $144,800.0
39 Metamora, IL 3,840 $77,050.0 $183,200.0
40 Breese, IL 4,160 $70,411.0 $150,700.0
41 Beecher, IL 4,443 $86,576.0 $191,900.0
42 Lexington, IL 2,049 $82,757.0 $148,100.0
43 Sidney, IL 1,297 $76,250.0 $152,800.0
44 St. Jacob, IL 1,529 $83,750.0 $152,600.0
45 Palos Park, IL 4,779 $114,020.0 $383,900.0
46 New Berlin, IL 1,324 $69,773.0 $132,100.0
47 North Barrington, IL 2,789 $197,188.0 $670,300.0
48 Hanna City, IL 1,347 $54,138.0 $116,500.0
49 South Jacksonville, IL 3,132 $53,580.0 $118,100.0
50 North Utica, IL 1,136 $87,946.0 $189,100.0
51 Lake Camelot, IL 1,631 $102,586.0 $173,500.0
52 Mackinaw, IL 1,970 $66,154.0 $138,400.0
53 Hainesville, IL 3,595 $92,396.0 $170,500.0
54 Peotone, IL 4,066 $80,606.0 $195,100.0
55 Knoxville, IL 3,137 $63,750.0 $109,300.0
56 Wayne, IL 2,477 $132,695.0 $553,100.0
57 Maroa, IL 1,982 $62,708.0 $101,800.0
58 Byron, IL 3,607 $66,607.0 $141,400.0
59 Smithton, IL 4,019 $88,879.0 $183,100.0
60 Jerome, IL 1,973 $51,302.0 $105,400.0
61 Fisher, IL 1,917 $71,136.0 $141,500.0
62 Albers, IL 1,379 $94,375.0 $173,500.0
63 Barrington Hills, IL 4,156 $157,414.0 $759,800.0
64 Fox Lake Hills, IL 2,125 $82,548.0 $185,300.0
65 Paxton, IL 4,076 $51,716.0 $97,700.0
66 New Baden, IL 3,150 $79,412.0 $138,500.0
67 Lake Of The Woods, IL 2,515 $59,257.0 $148,200.0
68 Granville, IL 1,449 $58,382.0 $106,200.0
69 Rapids City, IL 1,010 $84,583.0 $195,200.0
70 Galena, IL 3,168 $57,558.0 $149,100.0
71 The Galena Territory, IL 1,424 $103,065.0 $270,700.0
72 Millstadt, IL 3,882 $78,379.0 $173,200.0
73 Oakwood Hills, IL 2,543 $104,375.0 $215,100.0
74 Lebanon, IL 4,443 $61,298.0 $123,800.0
75 Mount Pulaski, IL 1,683 $60,674.0 $107,000.0
76 Fulton, IL 3,255 $49,375.0 $109,200.0
77 Freeburg, IL 3,911 $64,702.0 $190,900.0
78 Morrison, IL 3,850 $58,958.0 $104,900.0
79 Cherry Valley, IL 2,783 $68,397.0 $171,600.0
80 Arthur, IL 2,180 $62,250.0 $117,600.0
81 Tuscola, IL 4,599 $65,827.0 $125,700.0
82 Andalusia, IL 1,118 $68,000.0 $131,000.0
83 Winnebago, IL 3,539 $83,611.0 $139,100.0
84 Germa, IL 1,279 $61,364.0 $139,200.0
85 Lily Lake, IL 1,333 $119,792.0 $335,900.0
86 Riverwoods, IL 3,536 $231,477.0 $720,700.0
87 Heyworth, IL 3,212 $71,771.0 $165,100.0
88 Warrensburg, IL 1,261 $62,917.0 $104,200.0
89 Rosewood Heights, IL 3,990 $80,661.0 $121,000.0
90 Timberlane, IL 1,158 $170,875.0 $291,200.0
91 Minier, IL 1,090 $59,886.0 $115,700.0
92 Fairbury, IL 3,604 $57,563.0 $119,800.0
93 Port Byron, IL 2,028 $81,618.0 $210,000.0
94 Divernon, IL 1,194 $64,922.0 $98,500.0
95 Carthage, IL 2,474 $70,563.0 $96,500.0
96 Cortland, IL 4,261 $74,821.0 $162,700.0
97 Steeleville, IL 1,870 $53,750.0 $116,500.0
98 Herscher, IL 1,489 $67,404.0 $168,200.0
99 Catlin, IL 1,972 $49,861.0 $97,600.0
100 Aledo, IL 3,625 $50,617.0 $96,500.0

This article is an opinion based on facts and is meant as infotainment. This is our ninth time ranking the best small 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.