These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Illinois

We used science and data to determine which places in the Prairie State are the real pits.

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Illinois. America’s heartland. The Land of Lincoln. Green summers, cold winters. Farmers and gangsters. And everything in between.

It’s not a flyover state. In fact, when you consider Chicago is possibly the best city in America, Illinois can make a case that it’s the most important state in the entire midwest.

Where you’ve got corn fields, corn hole, and some of the hardest-working, down-to-earth people in the country.

But is it all roses in Illinois? Of course not. Just like every other state, Illinois has its issues. The sore spots, if you will. The purpose of this post is to use science and data to determine which Illinois cities need a little tender loving care.

After analyzing 342 of the Prairie State’s most populous cities, we came up with this list as the 10 places that could use a hug right about now:

  1. Benton (Photos)
  2. Danville (Photos)
  3. East St. Louis (Photos)
  4. Hoopeston
  5. Kankakee (Photos)
  6. Litchfield (Photos)
  7. West Frankfort (Photos)
  8. Alton (Photos)
  9. Salem (Photos)
  10. Decatur (Photos)

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked.

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How do you decide if a place has some real issues or not?

In order to rank the cities in Illinois who need the most love right about now, we had to determine what criteria people like or dislike about a place. It isn’t a stretch to assume that people like low crime, solid education, great weather, things to do and a stable economy.

So we scraped the internet for those criteria, asked for the opposite of those, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

How we crunched the numbers

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using FBI crime data, the government census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Sperling’s Best Places, this is the criteria we used:

  • Population Density (The lower the worse)
  • Highest Unemployment Rates
  • Adjusted Median Income (Median income adjusted for the cost of living)
  • High Housing Vacancy Rate
  • Education (Low expenditures per student and high Student Teacher Ratio)
  • High Crime

If you’d like to see the complete list of cities, scroll to the bottom of this post to see a link to the entire data set. If you’re wondering where Chicago ended up, it was smack dab in the middle. Chicago doesn’t need your love. They love themselves enough.

Additional note: We get the crime numbers from the FBI, which gets its crime numbers from the cities themselves. This list is based on data, and is entirely unbiased.

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1. Benton

Source: Google Maps

Population: 7,284

When you factor in the economy, crime and sheer number of things to do, Benton residents are in need of a hug more than any other place in the state.

Where is Benton, Illinois you say? It’s in Franklin County, on I-57 on your way to Carbondale. If you’re driving through town, stop by and give a friendly wave. They could sure use it right about now.

Benton has the 20th worse crime in Illinois, but most of those crimes are property crimes, meaning robberies and thefts. However, when you consider than Benton residents had a 1 in 40 chance of having something stolen from them last year, it’s a place where you can’t let your guard down.

Other issues with Benton: The unemployment rank is 9.4%, residents earn about $29,000 a year, and home costs hover around $62,000 on average. Meaning there’s not a lot of demand.

And 17% of the families live below the poverty line here.

2. Danville

Source: Google Maps

Population: 32,977

Ah, Danville. Such an interesting place. After falling from grace in the mid 1900’s after the post industrial era, Danville has become a place of Marathon gas stations, mini strip malls and shootings. Lots and lots of shootings.

In fact, Danville is the 5th most dangerous place in Illinois. Some of the punks here need to take a time out.

Other factors that bring Danville down are its unemployment rate (9.2%), median household income ($35,198) and average home cost ($68,000).

But hey, you just got a T.J. Maxx and a Meijer, and there’s talk of building a river casino in town, so at least there’s that. (Hugs).

Natives Gene Hackman, Dick Van Dyke and Joe Cannon are all probably really disappointed right now. Maybe someone should tweet them. #DanvilleNeedsLove.

3. East St. Louis

Source: Google Maps

Population: 27,116

Don’t even try and argue about this one. The only thing controversial about East St. Louis being this high is that it wasn’t number one.

East St. Louis needs some tough love.

The unemployment rate is 12% which is the second-highest in the state of Illinois. And residents here make a paltry $19,278 a year. That’s well below the poverty line. Home values are barely above $40,000, which is the 4th-lowest in the state.

And crime. There isn’t a more dangerous city in the state. Not even close.

  These Are The 10 Most Miserable Cities In Illinois

The only thing keeping East St. Louis from topping this list is the fact that its public school system is actually decent – meaning student spending and teacher-student ratios are a main focus in trying to turn this community around.

Hopefully, the next generation of kids growing up in this city can step it up and talk some sense into the older generation.

4. Hoopeston

Source: Google Maps

Population: 5,601

If you’ve ever taken the backroads to or from Chicago, you might have passed through Hoopeston on Route 1. It seems to be a relatively quiet, clean place.

Here’s what science says about why Hoopeston needs some love: The unemployment rate is nearly 9%, residents earn about $35,000 a year, and home prices are just over $65,000. Across the board, those are in the bottom 10% in the state. Not absolutely horrible, but not desirable, either.

And there simply isn’t anything to do in Hoopeston. Don’t believe me? The city’s events calendar is…blank.

Maybe people in Hoopeston just need some friends. They don’t even have a Facebook page for their city. #FacebookforHoopeston

5. Kankakee

Source: Google Maps

Population: 27,560

Kankakee is pretty much the first place you get to when you leave Chicago, south on I-57. And according to the data, it might be the first place you might want to pull over and spread some goodwill.

Kankakee has the third lowest student-teacher ratio in the state, and its public education system is in the bottom 10% as a whole when it comes to spending. The unemployment rate is 11%, which is nearly double the national average.

Factor in a very low median household income and the 16th-highest crime rate in the state, and you’ve got some real issues. Oh yeah, and there were four murders here in 2013. Yikes.

Kankakee has seen its ups and downs over the years. In the late 90s, it was rated as one of the best places to raise a family one year, and then two years later, rated as the worst place to live by Places Rated Almanac.

But it’s been consistently rated as having great golf courses. And they’re probably looking for a new friend to play with.

6. Litchfield

Source: Google Maps

Population: 7,086

Little Litchfield, along I-55 in the southern part of the state, isn’t that bad in any given category. It’s just generally lousy across the board here. They could really use some BFFs in Litchfield right about now.

Despite that fact that there’s nothing to do for fun except cow tip or get drunk, the unemployment rate is 9%, income levels are in the bottom 5% and 1 in 31 residents has a chance of being the victim of a property crime. That’s a lot of stolen laptops, cell phones and Jay Cutler jerseys.

Who are we kidding. Who wants to steal a Cutler jersey?

On a positive note, while the amount spent per student is 15th worst in the state, the student-teacher ratio is pretty decent. So it sounds like the kids are getting some love.

7. West Frankfort

Source: Google Maps

Population: 8,394

West Frankfort is just south of Benton along I-57. Meaning there are quite a few cities along that corridor that could use your kind thoughts.

The kids who attend schools here suffer through the 26th-lowest funded system in the state. The average home is valued at only $57,000 – the sixth-lowest in Illinois. Additional eye openers are the high unemployment rate (9.4%) and median household income ($33,000).

If there’s a bright spot here, it’s that the crime is about average for a city of its size.

8. Alton

Source: Google Maps

Population: 27,868

One out of 10 people in Alton was statistically the victim of some type of property crime in 2013. To put that into perspective, since the average person has 300 Facebook friends, if everyone you knew lived in Alton, 15 of them would have been robbed.

No one likes worrying about watching their back all of the time. People in Alton really need some positive re-encouragement right about now.

Besides that, the homes here are almost as cheap as they come in the state. When you can purchase a house for $60,000, that’s a sign that there isn’t a lot of demand.

Alton lies along the Mississippi River near St. Louis. Perhaps the Cardinal fans who live there can take solace in the fact that at least the Red Birds are having another good year.

9. Salem

Samford University. Source: Google Maps

Population: 7,407

The public schools in Salem are average at best, but that’s where the desirability factor comes to an end.

Unemployment and property crime numbers are way higher than average for this little city near St. Louis. Salem is home to the popular dessert condiment Miracle Whip. Hopefully it doesn’t take a miracle to whip this little midwest city into shape.

10. Decatur

Source: Google Maps

Population: 76,091

By far the largest city to top this list, Decatur’s main issues are crime and unemployment. When 1 in 10 people doesn’t have a job, and 1 in 27 people is the victim of some type of crime, things aren’t exactly peachy. In fact, Decatur saw five murders two years ago. That’s really high for a city of its size.

  These Are The 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Illinois

If you know anyone in Decatur, tag them on this article and tell them you love them.

There You Have It

If you’re analyzing places in Illinois who have it rough right now, and could use a big hug, this is an accurate list.

In fact, the data has determined that most of the trouble areas in Illinois are in fact as a result of the St. Louis sprawl, not from the Chicago effect. Which might be surprising to some.

If you’re curious enough, here are the best 10 places to live in Illinois, according to science.

  1. Wilmette (Pop. 27,202)
  2. Buffalo Grove (Pop. 41,667)
  3. Highland Park (Pop. 29,909)
  4. Deerfield (Pop. 18,482)
  5. Hinsdale (16,594)

Detailed Chart of Data

Here’s a link to the complete data chart.

City Population Worst Score Rank
Benton 7,284 34.75 1
Danville 32,977 45.92 2
East St. Louis 27,116 48.42 4
Hoopeston 5,601 45.92 2
Kankakee 27,560 49.67 5
Litchfield 7,086 49.92 6
West Frankfort 8,394 50 7
Alton 27,868 52.42 8
Salem 7,407 54.75 9
Decatur 76,091 60.25 10
University Park 7,034 61.5 11
Rockford 152,948 62.75 12
Centreville 5,306 66.75 13
Cahokia 15,169 71.42 14
Flora 5,018 72 15
Centralia 13,019 72.42 16
Vandalia 6,096 74.92 17
Olney 9,032 75 18
Metropolis 6,537 76.67 19
Harrisburg 8,962 77 20
Du Quoin 6,089 78.58 21
Granite City 29,916 80 22
Marseilles 5,022 82.33 23
Hillsboro 7,363 83.42 24
Loves Park 23,968 84.5 25
Taylorville 11,768 85.25 26
Galesburg 32,038 86.42 27
Harvey 24,959 86.75 28
South Beloit 7,917 87.33 29
Rochelle 9,578 87.33 29
East Alton 6,309 89.83 31
Mount Vernon 15,051 92.17 32
Bradley 15,777 93 33
Canton 14,699 93.5 34
Herrin 12,524 94.33 35
Riverdale 13,552 95.67 36
Fairfield 5,285 96.25 37
Marion 17,198 96.33 38
Robbins 5,132 97.67 39
Princeton 7,831 98.67 40
Chicago Heights 30,328 99 41
Pekin 33,700 99.75 42
Freeport 25,529 100.75 43
Peoria 114,754 102.33 44
Kewanee 12,903 104.08 45
Murphysboro 8,166 104.83 46
Robinson 7,656 105.42 47
Waukegan 88,982 105.5 48
Streator 13,068 105.67 49
Machesney Park 23,231 105.92 50
Peoria Heights 6,216 106.25 51
Pana 5,850 106.25 51
Beardstown 6,193 106.33 53
Bartonville 6,448 106.33 53
Belvidere 25,544 106.75 55
Paris 8,896 107.5 56
Lasalle 9,574 108.17 57
Creve Coeur 5,460 108.33 58
Markham 12,514 108.92 59
Dixon 15,332 109 60
Milan 5,089 109 60
Calumet City 37,070 110.75 62
Coal City 5,346 111.42 63
Mendota 7,138 111.92 64
Sterling 15,367 112.17 65
East Moline 21,585 112.5 66
Crest Hill 20,724 112.58 67
Morris 13,896 112.67 68
Sauk Village 10,473 113.58 69
Shelbyville 5,267 114.08 70
Zion 24,400 114.25 71
Belleville 44,118 114.92 72
Spring Valley 5,530 115.08 73
Pontiac 12,210 115.17 74
Roscoe 10,679 115.25 75
Poplar Grove 5,879 115.33 76
Rock Island 38,808 116.83 77
Carlinville 5,799 118.42 78
Peru 10,189 118.83 79
Rock Falls 9,075 119.33 80
Effingham 12,297 119.67 81
Steger 9,629 119.75 82
Carterville 5,485 119.83 83
Clinton 7,007 120 84
Pinckneyville 5,631 120.33 85
Wood River 10,643 120.67 86
Jerseyville 8,833 121.25 87
Harvard 9,172 121.33 88
Silvis 7,474 121.83 89
Mount Carmel 7,276 122 90
Monmouth 9,659 122.25 91
Jacksonville 19,401 123.67 92
Ottawa 19,258 123.67 92
Mattoon 18,162 124 94
Elgin 109,513 124.08 95
East Peoria 23,321 124.17 96
Watseka 5,630 124.33 97
Lincoln 14,259 124.58 98
Crete 8,336 125.08 99
Blue Island 23,457 125.5 100
North Chicago 31,677 126.83 101
Carbondale 25,961 127.42 102
Rantoul 12,880 127.58 103
Chillicothe 6,139 128.42 104
Maywood 24,177 128.5 105
Sumner 5,073 129.67 106
Chicago 2,702,471 130.17 107
Colona 5,013 130.25 108
Joliet 147,098 130.92 109
Collinsville 25,370 131 110
Park Forest 22,424 132.58 111
Posen 5,975 133.08 112
Bourbonnais 18,582 133.42 113
Braidwood 6,047 136.25 114
Cicero 83,756 136.33 115
Fox Lake 10,768 137 116
Charleston 21,952 137.42 117
Wilmington 5,918 138.67 118
Pontoon Beach 5,790 139.75 119
Dolton 23,230 142.5 120
Lynwood 9,042 142.5 120
Rockton 7,370 142.75 122
Moline 43,390 143.33 123
Urbana 41,299 144.17 124
Carpentersville 37,758 144.25 125
Quincy 40,647 144.25 125
Hazel Crest 14,341 145.08 127
Manteno 9,253 145.42 128
Macomb 19,260 145.75 129
North Riverside 6,920 146 130
Chester 8,523 146.67 131
Springfield 115,982 147.58 132
Mount Zion 5,703 148.75 133
Greenville 6,941 149.25 134
Carmi 5,351 149.33 135
Calumet Park 7,913 150.25 136
Justice 12,877 150.33 137
Fairview Heights 16,838 150.92 138
Monee 5,099 152.5 139
Lansing 28,270 152.75 140
Woodstock 24,781 152.92 141
Highland 9,434 153.17 142
Bellwood 19,105 153.92 143
Berwyn 56,376 154.58 144
Chicago Ridge 14,303 155.08 145
Romeoville 39,175 155.58 146
Marengo 7,675 156.5 147
Dekalb 44,340 156.83 148
Melrose Park 25,241 157.25 149
Godfrey 17,941 157.25 149
Broadview 7,938 157.33 151
Plano 10,602 157.33 151
Minooka 10,548 157.5 153
Bridgeview 16,394 158.5 154
Alsip 19,264 158.5 154
Manhattan 6,456 158.5 154
Geneseo 6,604 158.67 157
Crestwood 10,951 159.17 158
Summit 11,166 159.42 159
Country Club Hills 16,540 159.83 160
Addison 36,977 161.25 161
Montgomery 18,123 161.67 162
Richton Park 13,568 162.5 163
Schiller Park 11,782 162.75 164
Glenwood 9,033 163.67 165
Countryside 5,905 163.83 166
Aurora 196,569 164.08 167
Stickney 6,731 164.33 168
Lakemoor 6,415 164.5 169
Mchenry 26,862 165.5 170
Round Lake Beach 28,133 166 171
Hampshire 6,174 168.33 172
Channahon 12,377 168.42 173
Mascoutah 7,578 168.67 174
Oak Lawn 56,524 169.67 175
South Holland 21,994 169.67 175
Hillside 8,136 170.17 177
Eureka 5,421 170.83 178
Bethalto 9,506 170.92 179
Glen Carbon 13,129 171.25 180
Berkeley 5,189 171.42 181
Northlake 12,287 171.5 182
Champaign 81,083 171.75 183
Forest Park 14,194 172.75 184
Yorkville 17,055 173.17 185
Columbia 9,687 173.5 186
Matteson 18,692 173.58 187
Normal 52,986 173.83 188
West Dundee 7,307 174.67 189
River Grove 10,224 177.33 190
Park City 7,383 178.17 191
Edwardsville 24,093 178.42 192
North Aurora 16,231 178.5 193
Sandwich 7,563 178.92 194
Johnsburg 6,325 179.83 195
Franklin Park 18,333 180.33 196
Burbank 28,851 180.5 197
Lockport 24,672 180.75 198
Frankfort 17,787 182.17 199
West Chicago 27,079 182.25 200
Midlothian 14,788 182.75 201
Bloomington 76,527 183.25 202
Harwood Heights 8,573 183.25 202
Monticello 5,297 183.25 202
Hickory Hills 14,355 183.5 205
Homer Glen 24,428 185.33 206
Swansea 13,495 185.42 207
Lyons 10,651 185.5 208
Shiloh 12,726 185.92 209
Bensenville 18,480 186.58 210
Homewood 19,526 186.67 211
New Lenox 24,369 187 212
Shorewood 15,611 187.83 213
Savoy 6,989 189.5 214
Worth 10,787 189.58 215
Island Lake 8,114 190 216
Troy 9,959 190 216
Rolling Meadows 23,645 190.5 218
Norridge 14,656 191.17 219
Washington 15,052 191.5 220
Winthrop Harbor 6,752 191.5 220
Evergreen Park 19,852 192.5 222
Morton 16,255 193.42 223
Elburn 5,595 194 224
Gilberts 6,786 194 224
Sugar Grove 8,831 195.5 226
Palos Hills 17,458 195.67 227
Sycamore 17,505 195.83 228
Round Lake Park 7,382 196.5 229
Mahomet 7,230 198.83 230
Maryville 7,480 200.25 231
Hanover Park 37,990 200.83 232
Mokena 18,424 201 233
Lake Forest 19,068 201.25 234
Willow Springs 5,455 201.58 235
Crystal Lake 40,867 201.83 236
Huntley 23,897 202.67 237
Campton Hills 10,985 202.92 238
Bolingbrook 73,383 203.5 239
South Elgin 21,873 204.83 240
Genoa 5,693 205.25 241
Oswego 30,302 206.08 242
Oak Brook 7,905 206.92 243
Waterloo 9,826 207.75 244
Glendale Heights 34,159 208.5 245
Wood Dale 13,778 210 246
Frankfort Square 9,123 210.17 247
Wheeling 37,575 211.33 248
Beach Park 13,482 211.33 248
Westchester 16,684 211.42 250
Northfield 5,234 212.33 251
Plainfield 39,030 212.67 252
Brookfield 18,812 212.75 253
Oak Forest 27,922 214.92 254
Round Lake 17,773 215 255
Grayslake 20,943 215.25 256
Lake Villa 8,827 215.5 257
St. Charles 33,046 215.83 258
Prospect Heights 16,228 216.42 259
Wauconda 12,960 216.75 260
Streamwood 40,201 217 261
Elmwood Park 24,876 217.25 262
O’Fallon 28,377 217.25 262
Lake In The Hills 28,894 217.5 264
Spring Grove 5,452 217.58 265
Geneva 21,588 218.42 266
La Grange Park 13,552 218.58 267
Algonquin 29,924 218.67 268
Lincolnwood 12,538 219.83 269
Des Plaines 58,302 220.67 270
Lemont 15,954 221.33 271
Batavia 25,693 221.42 272
Orland Hills 7,118 221.5 273
Inverness 7,457 222.33 274
Boulder Hill 8,532 222.83 275
Bloomingdale 22,028 223.08 276
Warrenville 13,346 223.5 277
Antioch 14,185 224.33 278
Riverside 8,859 225.67 279
Palos Heights 12,446 225.67 279
Morton Grove 23,194 225.92 281
Lombard 43,180 226.17 282
Flossmoor 9,387 226.17 282
Highwood 5,396 226.33 284
Barrington 10,739 226.42 285
Cary 18,202 226.58 286
Woodridge 32,926 227 287
Orland Park 56,607 227.25 288
Elk Grove Village 33,166 227.33 289
Oak Park 51,781 228.92 290
Schaumburg 74,276 229.17 291
Westmont 25,101 230.75 292
Gages Lake 9,736 231 293
Skokie 64,588 231.25 294
Niles 29,720 231.25 294
River Forest 11,174 232.33 296
Villa Park 22,212 232.33 296
Itasca 8,494 233.58 298
Mundelein 31,506 235.5 299
Tinley Park 56,340 236.08 300
Downers Grove 48,621 236.17 301
Evanston 74,619 237 302
Roselle 22,814 239 303
Glencoe 8,728 239.33 304
Carol Stream 39,869 239.67 305
Gurnee 31,222 242.08 306
Long Grove 8,031 242.33 307
Hawthorn Woods 7,451 244.5 308
Lincolnshire 7,228 244.92 309
Western Springs 12,853 245.25 310
La Grange 15,563 245.33 311
Lisle 22,453 245.83 312
Chatham 11,807 246.83 313
Hoffman Estates 52,066 248.67 314
Libertyville 20,388 250.83 315
Palatine 68,338 252.25 316
Mount Prospect 54,144 252.5 317
Darien 22,163 253 318
Burr Ridge 10,590 254.42 319
Lindenhurst 14,415 254.5 320
Vernon Hills 25,144 254.75 321
Winnetka 12,210 257.42 322
Naperville 142,143 257.83 323
Bartlett 41,017 262.67 324
Arlington Heights 75,221 263 325
Grandwood Park 5,283 264.67 326
Lake Bluff 6,214 266.67 327
Wheaton 53,155 268.25 328
Glen Ellyn 27,503 269.08 329
Lake Zurich 19,679 270.33 330
Glenview 44,478 276.25 331
Winfield 9,168 276.42 332
Park Ridge 37,266 277.42 333
Northbrook 33,095 279.42 334
Clarendon Hills 8,434 281 335
Elmhurst 44,385 281.58 336
Hinsdale 16,594 283.33 337
Deerfield 18,452 285.08 338
Highland Park 29,909 291.08 339
Buffalo Grove 41,667 295.58 340
Wilmette 27,202 302.67 341

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50 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Worst Places To Live In Illinois

  1. I agree with a few towns on this list but you seem extremely biased against southern Illinois. Benton,Salem West Frankfort dangerous!?… I think you need a better way to compile data.Also if one truly looked at a map you would see Salem is almost 90 miles from St Louis doesnt sound nearby to me. Also you report that no place in chicago is dangerous…??? I would walk the streets of at least 4 of these town late at night before I would drive in chicago…in the daylight.

  2. I agree with you Ken Daily! I knew this article was going to be a total joke as soon as Chicago was referred to as “possibly the best city in America.” If you polled the people of Illinois living south of I95, I’m sure your “stats” would reflect a resounding disagreement to that claim. It sounds to me that the writer doesn’t know a thing about these towns except for the outdated stats found combing the interwebs.

  3. “In fact, Danville is the 5th most dangerous place in Illinois. Danville, many of you need to take a time out to think about what you did wrong. Then come back when you want to talk about it.”

    Pretty flip when you were talking about shootings. Stay classy.

  4. One of the factors was population density (lower being worse). That automatically biases this list toward small towns, as does the median income. Incomes are lower but then again so is the cost of living. I guess this is mostly a feel-good piece for the state of Chicago. I live in Herrin, #35 on the list but I am presently in Benton and I can tell you the place is full of friendly folks that enjoy the slower pace of life here.

  5. Maybe you should actually visit each of these towns and do some real live research and then report on them again. Your “data” doesn’t tell the whole story.

  6. You claim this is opinion based on facts, but your facts are quite limited, and focus on the negative. Hoopeston has a major festival over Labor Day weekend.. The Sweetcorn Festival. May not be your thing, but it includes a pageant that brings contestants from all 50 states. Danville has an amazing local arts community: Red Mask Theater, Danville Light Opera, Danville Symphony Orchestra, and the Danville Art League.

    I know this is a piddly site, but I felt compelled to defend my community. Oh, and as others have said…to not consider Chicago (at least some parts) dangerous is ludicrous.

  7. All of the bad places to live listed are south of I-80 and the best places to live are all in the Chicago area. I am not sure what criteria was used to make this determination but it is hard to believe that the Chicago area has the best places to live and that there are no good places to live in downstate Illinois. How about the lack of bad places to live in the Chicago area despite areas of high crime and unemployment? What a completely biased article.

  8. This is bull e stl the worst place in us in less your black it is full of houses that were once the most beautiful 3 story and now it is run down taken over by crime the worst crime rape murder theft donate leave your car out of sight fraud child touched it is the home of the devil im not a i live in stl and brakes my heart to see what was once one of the best place to live and now i wouldn’t make a rouch live there these little towns there talking about are great places to live and raise your kids and i dont care what data proves I’ve live in several of these little towns and never locked my door or took the keys out of my car left it run most places do that in e stl or chcgo and your calling a taxi

  9. Illinois is a giant armpit, end of story. I live a town over from Benton and my husband is from Chicago area, we can both attest that it is a shit hole no matter where you go in this state. Nothing but addicts and rednecks. We are in the process of building our credit so that we can move out of this poop shoot as soon as possible. This article is as correct as it gets. Those of you offended probably have no teeth and no life.

    1. I would practice better grammar and punctuation, if I were you, before accusing people of being of a lower class than one in which you reside.
      If you can’t find grammatical errors in your sentences; you may want to group yourself in the same class you are bashing……better build more credit before you move from the proverbial “shit hole”. Oh! You might want to receive more educatation while you’re at it!

  10. Ask anyone in Danville where many people from closed low income housing in Chicago we’re sent. Ask people in Danville where GE, Hyster, Esco, and General Motors went. I sure am glad Chicago looks nicer and companies have found cheaper places to manufacture there goods. Oh by the way, the sarcasm was not computer generated.

  11. I tend to agree with the article. If you look at what the author is saying, population versus the crime spree we seem to be having. Yes, I want to be able to defend our community, but think about it. For our small communities, we have a rather large crime activity, and it’s getting worse lately. And our school systems? They suck ass, big time. They don’t offer education like they used to, with budget cuts, and lack of caring educators…all the decent ones having retired or moved to other locations. And the housing demands? Look around, to buy a decent, sound house, the majority of the homes around here that are decent and livable, are out of most of our budgets, the ones that our citizens can afford are dumps.
    The fact of the matter us, truth hurts. It hits you in the gut.
    You can’t turn on the news anymore without seeing those trusted educators turning into pedophiles, or decent human beings being murdered or left in streets to die alone, thefts, rape, etc…and this isn’t Chicago news I’m talking about…it’s WSIL.
    I’m surprised Herrin didn’t make this list.

  12. Dear Nick James and the RoadSnacks Team,

    Decatur would like for you to use correct data for your rankings. Our unemployment rate is 6.2%. Please issue a new ranking for us! Speaking of rankings…

    We were recently voted:
    Top 12 Best Illinois Cities for Families
    Top 50 Best Cities for Global Trade
    Top 50 Safest Cities in Illinois (Our crime rates are lower than Champaign, Bloomington, Peoria, and Springfield – our major surrounding cities.)
    Runner Friendly Community

    While we were recognized by Forbes Magazine for our growing agribusiness economy and career opportunities last month, we were busy raising $20,000 to send Girl Scout cookies to our troops overseas. In the fall, we raised 1,040,000 pounds of food and cash in one day to fill our local food pantries, and we’ll do it again this year.

    I could go on and on, but I’ll stop and invite you to check out the transformation happening in Decatur and Macon County:

    1. RE: City Limitless – Decatur & Macon County

      As a person who was born and raised in Decatur, attended Millikin University, and whose family still lives in the area, thanks for sharing the promising information and the link.

    2. Decatur is absolutely horrible. Riddled with crime and abandoned houses full of druggies, plus the whole city STINKS to high heaven due to the noxious fumes being spewed everywhere.

  13. A lower population density is worse? Chicago is the best? That really speaks to the credibility of this screed. :p

  14. You forgot Du Quoin il. Its a horrible place where the rich and middle class are snobby and the poor folk are crooks…ppl ride lawnmowers because of DUI’S and city court is a joke as well as most of city citations……it’s a laughable little pile that I was raised in…

  15. What about Marion, ILL?? It has very good qualities, good schools, and plenty to do. Yea, it has its crime and drama but still a good place. I born and raised there

  16. This article is a bunch of crap, but not as big a turd as this website. Buzzfeed wanna be’s. The author has probably never been to any of these cities. Bogus statistics as well. Amateurs.

  17. 83 shootings in 499th of July in Chicago and you sound out all the southern cities. The rest of the state pays for Chicago’s reckless political criminality.along with extreme povety and crime. Your an idiot

  18. This article doesn’t mean much to anyone outside of Chicago but I’d like to point out that Benton ‘ s highschool superintendent was awarded with the states “Superintendent of the year” award just last year. Correct me if I’m wrong but the worst place in Illinois probably wouldn’t get an award like that.

    1. Ah yes, the illustrious school system where they have to keep laying off teachers. Certainly something to be proud of, yes.

  19. I know this is supposed to be for fun, but my community of Decatur has worked VERY hard on improving it’s image. One trip to our downtown area or a weekend visit will show you it’s a great place to live. I am currently raising 3 kids here and we just don’t have the ability to participate in all te community events we’d like to. Our Park District will rival any others north of I-80, if not blow them out of the water. Thank you to our “City Limitless” campaign for correcting your data as well!

  20. Am I wrong about Cairo? Is it still part of Illinois? (Maybe Illinois gave it to Kentucky.) Has it had a complete turn around so it is not in the over 300 cities rated as the worst? Maybe it is just so far south the “scientist” who performed the analysis didn’t look at it, because I looked at the whole list. I was there a few years ago…it is a s#!÷hole.

  21. What about Cairo and Murphysboro? Maybe too far south for you to know they existed? I moved to Salem 45 years ago and have never wanted to leave. Salem’s problem has been the economy and loss of jobs. The people are wonderful and are always there to help one another. A growing problem in this area now is all the baby-mommas trying to live off the goverement and charities. This situation is reaching epic proportions.

  22. you are ignorant, look it up in the dictionary-you are just like a politician, the more comments, the more you think people will take you as somebody that expand their business, i won’t read your ignorance again

  23. Consider North Chicago,the ghetto of Lake county,lots of crumbling industry.The people act and treat you like scum.

  24. Don’t a have a lot to say but just want to know how Cairo did not make this list. Do some research on Cairo an rewrite this article trust me Itiwill make the list.

  25. I’m from Illinois and this article is so accurate. My girlfriend and I knew Decatur and Danville would be on this list. And rightfully so Illinois is an aweful state in general.

  26. Miracle Whip I so agree with you. It is a salad dressing closely related to mayonnaise. MMMM I want some Miracle Whip on my ice cream

  27. I am sure glad to live in the Northwest Suburbs of Illinois. Its clean, great schools and beautiful. I really like Palatine, very nice. The people are friendly family oriented. You can always find jobs but there has been a decline with employment in many areas everywhere. The rent and housing is expensive. Plenty of good transportation and wonderful places to go for recreation.

  28. You guys forgot Harvey Posen Blue Island south Holland Phoenix, Ford Heights,Chicago Heights Joliet I can go on for a while all the little towns I mentioned are worse then 9 out of ten of these other towns it’s sad what the media doesn’t say

  29. I’ve read the comments & the way people get so defensive over the town/city they live or lived in is ridiculous,lol!! I have been though out this whole state of Illinois. This state is just unbalanced. You got Chicago with 2.7 million people. The way Chicago is bashed is crazy. Of course every town is going to have crime, there is no stopping that. Most towns, the police try there best to keep news of committed crimes quit to keep the population from being in a panic so it keeps chaos from happening.. The way the media now covers crime & shootings is very exaggerated. The fact is, they can bring up 1 shooting a day & that’s a very small number for a city that big. You figure out of the 2.7 million people, they claim 600 shootings is a lot. In reality it’s not a big percentage at all. 1% of 1 million people is 10,000 people, so by that alone 600 people getting shot in a city that big in one year is very small. This list just shows the math, the numbers don’t lie. I’m sorry for the people that are exploding over there town/city being on this list, relax!!! My goodness people are so hateful when they see, hear or read something they don’t like! I hate that some of these towns/cites are on this list too. But it’s nothing to go bananas over. Illinois is now a mismanaged state to live in, with the funding being unbalanced. This state feels like it should be 2 states once you pass into Southern Illinois, which I lived in for about 12 years. From the Carbondale area to the surrounding towns of the Capital of Southern IL, Belleville. The culture in that part of IL is so different. This state does have towns that are like ghost towns. So many empty businesses, houses & apartment complexs, I couldn’t imagine living in some of these towns personally. It is also scary the way Illinois water is so toxic with lead in the southern part of IL. Instead of people being memorized by the idiot box, oh I mean television. Maybe with people reading this, hopefully can get it together & change the imagine of these towns/cities. Which a lot of these people are so quick to praise & defend.

  30. I’ve been to a lot of them towns and cities, let me say pretty much of them all are terrible. If its not the violence, its racism and corniness. How can the people from these places make it better when most have never leaves nowhere else.I think there has to be some type of trend, that’s why we are the USA. Pretty much all the mid Central states suck in everything. I like to use trees, its hardly any. We all know what produces oxygen. Either you’re a alcoholic,druggie or lame. Which one?

  31. I cannot believe that Ford Heights or Chicago Heights did not make the top 10 list. Then to have Decatur on the list and neighboring MT Zion, way down the list is crazy as well.

  32. Peotone Ill is the worst most poor excuse for a town!! I lived there 2 months before I got so bored beside seeing a town with no growth nor up-keep! The town is dirty beside filthy! I now live one town over in manteno and must say I glad I did it! It’s a big change from peotone and one thing I do say at least the people are alot me friendly out here!

  33. Gotta admit that West Frankfort deserves to be on this list….. The 5 worst cities in Southern IL are probably: 1.Carbondale, 2. Cairo, 3. West Frankfort, 4. Murhphysboro, and 5. Mt. Vernon. East St. Louis, Chicago, and Harvey are all far worst though

  34. Quincy illinois should be somewhere on this list because the people’s attitudes here in quincy are really shitty and dont even get me started on quincy school system, the town really is a hell hole and it should be exposed

  35. Seems one of the worst was left out, TRENTON. From the outside it looks like a quiet and safe little town. What you don’t see until it is too late is the “Payton Place” it really is. These are some of the most awful humans on the earth that live her. You would expect if you are from here people would be accepting of you, not the case. I was born to this town and moved at an early age and returned to raise my family. BIG mistake! This really must be some evil burial ground that runs straight to the fiery depths of hell. It makes Benton look normal. Mean spirited evil so called “Christians” around every corner preying on the demise of the happy and removal of the outsiders. God help this town!

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