The 10 Worst Places To Live In Illinois For 2024

The worst places to live in Illinois are Harvey and Chicago Heights for 2024 based on Friday Night Science.

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 323 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:

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

Worst Places To Live In Illinois Map

Where are these places, you wonder? And before you get all riled up and say we’re picking on small towns in Illinois, that’s not the case.

We understand there’s a lot of good in every place. For example, the best place to live in Illinois is Western Springs.

However, according to data (which doesn’t measure things like beauty and ‘friendly people’), the state has far better options for making a place home. And the worst place to live in Illinois? The worst place to live in Illinois is Harvey.

Read below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your city fared in 2024.

If you’re looking for something more national, check out the worst cities in America or the worst states in America.

For more Illinois reading, check out:

The 10 Worst Places To Live In Illinois For 2024

Harvey, IL

Source: Wikipedia User davidwilson1949 | CC BY 2.0
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Population: 20,035
Average Home Price: $87,215
Median Income: $40,898
Unemployment Rate: 14.6%
Crime Per Capita: 0.5428
More on Harvey: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Part of a web of suburbs just south of Chicago, Harvey sits in the northeast part of the state, close to the Indiana border. The area is known for its severe problems with poverty and crime, making it one of the worst places to live in Illinois.

The 20,035 residents of Harvey suffer with a 14.6% unemployment rate and a median income of $40,898. Even the city itself is poor. In 2018, the city had its revenue garnished to make sure it paid pension liabilities.

Not everything in Harvey is bleak, though. Residents can head to the Kickapoo Meadows forest preserve on the north end of town, a spot famous for model airplane flying.

Chicago Heights, IL

Source: Wikipedia User Dennisyerger84 | GFDL
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Population: 27,366
Average Home Price: $159,279
Median Income: $56,755
Unemployment Rate: 13.8%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0441
More on Chicago Heights: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

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Population: 11,592
Average Home Price: $124,311
Median Income: $47,955
Unemployment Rate: 14.0%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0209
More on Markham: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Early settlers knew the area around Markham as an important crossroads. That continues to be true today, as two major highways (I-57 and I-294) intersect near town. Unfortunately, you probably wouldn’t want to do much more than pass through the area. It counts as the number 3 worst location in the state.

Markham, located just south of Chicago has problems with high unemployment (14.0%) and low wages (median income: $47,955).

Still, the 11,592 residents of Markham have significant town pride. Take the story of the Lone Pine Tree. A German settler planted pine trees from Germany’s Black Forest in town in 1860. While the last of the original pines died in the 1980s, the town has planted a replacement. The Lone Pine now serves as the town’s symbol.

Dolton, IL

Source: Flickr User davidwilson1949 | CC BY 2.0
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Population: 21,283
Average Home Price: $141,786
Median Income: $54,748
Unemployment Rate: 12.7%
Crime Per Capita: 0.5428
More on Dolton: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

For a town of just 21,283 people, Dolton has produced more than its fair share of famous people. Former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb, prominent movie reviewer Richard Roeper, and Glee star Jane Lynch all hail from the area. No wonder they left: Dolton stands as the number 4 least attractive location in Illinois to put down roots.

Dolton sits just south of Chicago, one of a number of economically challenged suburbs in the area. Locals face a 12.7% unemployment rate and a median income of $54,748. With such a limited tax base, the education system suffers. The top school in town only grabs a 4/10 on Great Schools.

Riverdale, IL

Source: Wikipedia User Zol87 from Chicago, Illinois, USA | CC BY-SA 2.0
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Population: 10,528
Average Home Price: $102,314
Median Income: $41,144
Unemployment Rate: 16.3%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0202
More on Riverdale: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Riverdale is another example of a group of rough suburbs located south of Chicago. Its 10,528 residents struggle with crushing unemployment, high crime, and an uninspiring education system. As a result, the town rate as the number 5 least appealing location in Illinois.

The economy is the main problem in the area. The unemployment runs a frightening 16.3%. The median income comes in at $41,144. These financial limitation lead to other challenges. The crime rate hovers more than 40% above the national average, and the local schools top out at a 5/10 on Great Schools.

Locals can find sanctuary in the outdoors, however. For such an urban location, Riverdale has a significant amount of green space, being bordered on three sides by forest preserves, including the Whistler Woods Forest Preserve to the north.

Blue Island, IL

Source: Wikipedia User Burnhamandroot | GFDL
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Population: 22,934
Average Home Price: $173,852
Median Income: $57,537
Unemployment Rate: 14.4%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0328
More on Blue Island: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Blue Island, ranked as the number 8 worst place to live in Illinois for 2023, is unfortunately plagued by a high crime rate, making it one of the most dangerous places within the state. With a violent crime rate of 0.005494026336443708 and a property crime rate of 0.02733932153135083, residents face significant safety concerns on a daily basis. These statistics reveal the unfortunate reality of living in Blue Island, where personal safety and the security of one’s belongings are compromised. However, with concerted efforts and community involvement, there is hope that the situation can improve over time. Additionally, Blue Island’s location near Chicago offers potential for growth and development, presenting an opportunity for positive change in the future.

Hazel Crest, IL

Source: Wikipedia User Marcusmax | CC BY-SA 3.0
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Population: 13,737
Average Home Price: $163,912
Median Income: $57,247
Unemployment Rate: 13.7%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0389
More on Hazel Crest: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

East St. Louis, IL

Source: Wikipedia User FlickreviewR | CC BY 2.0
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Population: 18,796
Average Home Price: $35,320
Median Income: $28,519
Unemployment Rate: 13.1%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0335
More on East St. Louis: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

East St. Louis is clearly on this list. It’s a St. Louis suburb. You’ve heard of it if you live in Illinois. It was once 83,000 people. Now, it’s a third that size. And dropping by the month. This is the 323rd poorest place in the state, and the 3rd most violent, though it had the highest murder rate per capita in the nation at one point, and overall, a crime rate 18 times higher than the rest of the country. Crime used to be worse here, but as you can see, lots of the really bad areas were just knocked to the ground. So there’s less rundown areas in which to commit crimes these days.

What was once an all american city began its decline in the early 1970s when the middle class moved out of the area, and the resulting failed tax base meant basic city services, including police and fire departments, had trouble operating.

Much of the land outside of the city remains undeveloped, bypassed by folks who chose more affluent suburban areas. What’s left in city limits proper are widely scattered “inner city” neighborhoods, truck stops, adult venues, liquor stores and other blighted sections of town.

Most folks make about $28,519 a year on average.

Calumet Park, IL

Source: Wikipedia User FlickreviewR | CC BY-SA 2.0
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Population: 7,193
Average Home Price: $141,156
Median Income: $55,717
Unemployment Rate: 14.7%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0498
More on Calumet Park: Data | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Another example of the uninviting suburbs that surround the South Side of Chicago, Calumet Park confers a significant number of challenges to its 7,193 residents. Jobs are hard to find, while housing and education are mediocre at best. As a result, Calumet Park ranks among the worst places to live in Illinois.

Locals struggle to find paying gigs. The unemployment rate stands at 14.7%, while 15.7% of people in the area make due with poverty wages. This, in turn, leads to a lackluster education, with schools in town reaching just a 5/10 on Great Schools.

Residents of Calumet Park due enjoy good access to amenities, however. Besides easy access to one of the country’s largest urban centers, the town sits just north of Whistler Woods Forest Preserve.

Danville, IL

Source: Public domain
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Population: 29,100
Average Home Price: $66,019
Median Income: $42,424
Unemployment Rate: 9.2%
Crime Per Capita: 0.0644
More on Danville: Data | Crime | Cost Of Living | Real Estate

Next up, we come to Danville, an aging community on the state’s eastern border with Indiana. To get there, you’d take route 1 down due south from Chicago. That’s what all the ghetto people do on a daily basis.

Danville is emblematic of what’s gone wrong with smallish Illinois communities. Once a super great place to live and raise kids, it’s like that no longer. People are car jacked at gas stations. Drug users break into homes, are caught red handed, and walk away without penalty. When Popeye’s opened here, the place got robbed the first two days it was ope.

A lot of the problem is at Fair Oaks, a housing project on the city’s east side. Here, link card recipients, former Chicago thugs and people hiding from the cops stake a claim, deal, shoot each other, and then go out into the only actual NICE parts of Danville and steal and rob. Custard Cup got robbed. So far, Royal Donut has not. I mean if you’re gonna rob a place that makes the best damn cookies EVER, you have some real problems.

Former corporate stalwarts like GE, Esco, GM and the railroads left here ages ago. Whatever middle class is left is fleeing for the hills into places like Bismark. It’s pretty sad, actually. They’re building a casino here at some point. You know that’s not gonna make things better.

Methodology: How we determined the worst places to live in Illinois for 2024

To figure out the worst places to live in Illinois, we used Saturday Night Science to idenift what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.

We don’t think it’s a stretch to assume that people like the following things:

  • Good education
  • Lots of jobs
  • Low crime
  • Low poverty
  • Nice homes
  • High incomes
  • High population density (Lots of things to do)
  • Short work commutes
  • Health insurance

The data comes from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and the FBI Uniform Crime Report.

We broke crime down into violent crime and property crime to give violent crime a more significant weight. If you did a simple calculation of all crimes per capita, property crimes are typically 7x more common and bias that ranking.

Furthermore, only cities with at least 5,000 people were considered — leaving 323 cities.

We then ranked each city from 1 to 323 for all the criteria, with a #1 ranking being the worst for the particular criteria.

Next, we averaged the rankings into one “Worst Place To Live Score.”

Finally, we ranked every city on the “Worst Place To Live Score,” with the lowest score being the worst city in Illinois — Harvey. Read on for a detailed look at the ten worst cities in Illinois. This article is an opinion based on facts meant as infotainment. We updated this article for 2024. This list is our tenth time ranking the worst places to live in Illinois.

Summary: Wrapping Up The Worst In Illinois

If you’re looking at areas in Illinois with the worst economic situations, where there’s higher than average crime and little to do, this is an accurate list.

And in the end, Harvey ranks as the worst city to live in Illinois for 2024.

The worst cities in Illinois are .

If you’re curious enough, here are the best cities to live in Illinois:

  1. Deerfield (Pop. 19,173)
  2. Northbrook (Pop. 34,950)
  3. Western Springs (Pop. 13,557)

For more Illinois reading, check out:

Worst Places To Live In Illinois

Rank City Population Unemployment Rate Home Price Median Income Crime Per Capita
1 Harvey 20,035 14.6% $87,215 $40,898 0.5428
2 Chicago Heights 27,366 13.8% $159,279 $56,755 0.0441
3 Markham 11,592 14.0% $124,311 $47,955 0.0209
4 Dolton 21,283 12.7% $141,786 $54,748 0.5428
5 Riverdale 10,528 16.3% $102,314 $41,144 0.0202
6 Blue Island 22,934 14.4% $173,852 $57,537 0.0328
7 Hazel Crest 13,737 13.7% $163,912 $57,247 0.0389
8 East St. Louis 18,796 13.1% $35,320 $28,519 0.0335
9 Calumet Park 7,193 14.7% $141,156 $55,717 0.0498
10 Danville 29,100 9.2% $66,019 $42,424 0.0644
11 Chicago 2,721,914 8.2% $283,025 $71,673 0.0358
12 Zion 24,570 6.4% $196,196 $65,018 0.0244
13 Alton 25,642 6.6% $88,254 $49,439 0.0396
14 Rockford 148,173 9.0% $144,774 $50,744 0.0403
15 Murphysboro 7,101 8.8% $96,548 $41,535 0.0327
16 Kankakee 24,795 7.4% $125,881 $42,180 0.0165
17 Glenwood 8,542 16.2% $188,408 $69,614 0.0231
18 Rantoul 12,544 5.3% $114,058 $46,078 0.0270
19 Maywood 23,385 9.0% $201,551 $64,767 0.0164
20 University Park 7,328 10.3% $171,754 $63,380 0.0180
21 South Holland 21,287 14.1% $215,572 $79,567 0.0234
22 Alsip 18,866 6.7% $234,315 $63,131 0.0303
23 Carbondale 22,039 9.6% $118,743 $27,360 0.0386
24 Beach Park 13,995 7.4% $248,258 $79,402 0.0272
25 Centralia 12,096 12.4% $91,860 $46,468 0.0243
26 Fox Lake 10,798 3.3% $218,172 $65,528 0.0194
27 Lansing 28,713 10.9% $188,023 $68,766 0.0300
28 Park Forest 21,042 8.4% $138,815 $58,907 0.0167
29 Summit 11,036 7.1% $232,276 $51,040 0.0082
30 Harvard 9,705 6.2% $231,377 $67,938 0.0095
31 Rochelle 9,417 10.9% $165,052 $55,974 0.0052
32 Steger 9,518 4.5% $152,512 $58,816 0.0203
33 Worth 10,859 10.8% $231,491 $54,893 0.0147
34 Decatur 70,975 8.9% $86,713 $49,039 0.0308
35 Posen 5,442 8.2% $178,337 $60,094 0.0116
36 Kewanee 12,179 6.9% $61,537 $46,305 0.0382
37 North Chicago 30,890 9.5% $165,537 $52,011 0.0272
38 Metropolis 5,963 2.2% $97,183 $46,397 0.0332
39 Rock Island 37,264 7.3% $117,639 $55,732 0.0307
40 DeKalb 40,697 10.7% $202,603 $47,410 0.0312
41 Peoria 113,054 8.0% $116,051 $58,068 0.0423
42 Loves Park 22,935 7.8% $164,667 $56,370 0.0184
43 Burbank 29,122 7.7% $268,632 $81,060 0.0152
44 Bridgeview 16,939 8.5% $262,747 $61,426 0.0047
45 Joliet 150,221 6.2% $226,442 $84,971 0.0153
46 Wood River 10,313 6.1% $114,868 $58,813 0.0274
47 Spring Valley 5,518 7.6% $114,087 $60,861 0.0112
48 Robinson 7,089 5.1% $84,400 $57,500 0.0172
49 Mount Vernon 14,740 8.2% $100,313 $48,786 0.0228
50 Belvidere 25,389 5.6% $212,890 $59,216 0.0111
51 Monmouth 8,764 10.7% $92,195 $58,991 0.0162
52 Du Quoin 5,822 11.6% $80,515 $48,770 0.0062
53 Matteson 18,898 12.5% $243,534 $88,591 0.0173
54 Jacksonville 17,639 8.2% $122,200 $55,944 0.0240
55 Lynwood 9,087 5.0% $254,441 $80,789 0.5428
56 West Frankfort 7,168 12.8% $79,938 $41,974 0.0037
57 Rock Falls 8,904 4.4% $97,930 $48,390 0.0316
58 Moline 42,452 6.7% $139,456 $63,553 0.0330
59 Melrose Park 25,177 5.0% $271,925 $64,400 0.0188
60 Bellwood 18,611 8.2% $214,243 $72,228 0.0200
61 Chillicothe 6,130 6.8% $148,452 $59,161 0.0206
62 Freeport 23,884 6.5% $105,223 $44,658 0.0159
63 Countryside 6,322 7.8% $315,101 $78,603 0.0294
64 Pontoon Beach 6,039 5.7% $160,545 $62,176 0.0126
65 Cicero 84,189 3.9% $240,318 $64,325 0.0161
66 Hillside 8,213 4.4% $242,948 $68,250 0.0088
67 Galesburg 29,923 5.2% $81,071 $42,346 0.0141
68 Round Lake Park 7,778 10.0% $196,006 $56,097 0.0037
69 Marion 16,867 4.6% $161,860 $54,052 0.0200
70 Salem 7,228 4.5% $115,900 $55,536 0.0227
71 Springfield 114,214 6.6% $147,947 $62,419 0.0494
72 Franklin Park 18,374 5.1% $272,778 $74,167 0.0147
73 Litchfield 6,937 5.1% $106,312 $50,443 0.0476
74 Midlothian 14,200 5.4% $213,753 $66,994 0.0204
75 Broadview 7,957 8.4% $233,906 $59,261 0.0096
76 Winthrop Harbor 6,693 11.6% $254,902 $94,167 0.0272
77 Beardstown 5,884 8.3% $74,614 $58,804 0.0088
78 South Beloit 7,943 4.9% $200,918 $78,781 0.0140
79 Mattoon 16,830 7.9% $102,983 $45,953 0.0067
80 Bradley 15,379 4.3% $157,895 $59,746 0.0302
81 Fairview Heights 16,360 6.0% $170,703 $74,038 0.0344
82 Belleville 42,155 6.0% $133,846 $60,573 0.0174
83 Romeoville 40,132 5.8% $282,294 $96,409 0.0102
84 Pekin 32,075 6.6% $118,676 $52,507 0.0254
85 Bartonville 5,952 2.5% $115,990 $65,347 0.0260
86 Waukegan 89,435 5.3% $198,968 $66,077 0.0067
87 Elgin 114,190 6.0% $287,734 $85,998 0.0093
88 East Moline 20,937 4.1% $133,196 $60,032 0.0104
89 North Riverside 7,245 5.6% $305,218 $63,625 0.0155
90 Hillsboro 5,673 5.4% $108,541 $48,302 0.0097
91 Chicago Ridge 14,284 4.4% $195,768 $65,168 0.0226
92 Crest Hill 19,886 6.1% $245,521 $68,377 0.0135
93 Eureka 5,504 7.6% $179,324 $48,250 0.0104
94 Silvis 7,936 6.8% $140,040 $67,622 0.0403
95 Olney 8,995 5.6% $112,070 $57,260 0.0182
96 West Chicago 25,632 10.4% $331,937 $92,335 0.0029
97 Sterling 14,852 5.1% $118,457 $49,007 0.0187
98 East Alton 5,782 3.6% $93,466 $48,313 0.0090
99 Richton Park 12,721 12.3% $200,123 $69,691 0.0067
100 Crete 8,425 8.2% $274,099 $91,549 0.0101
About Nick Johnson

Nick Johnson earned his masters in Business Administration from the Drucker School At Claremont Graduate University. He has written for 39 publications across the country and ran the media relations department at Movoto, a real estate portal based in San Francisco. He has been featured in over 500 publications as an expert in real estate and as an authority on real estate trends.

Nick's the creator of the HomeSnacks YouTube channel that now has over 260,000 subscribers and is an excellent source to learn about different parts of the country.

62 thoughts on “The 10 Worst Places To Live In Illinois For 2024

  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.

    1. I think your wrong Chicago is amazing and you shouldn’t be trashing it. It’s the place we’re my dreams came true. You probably haven’t even been to Chicago.

  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!

    2. Your an idiot. I’m from Jerseyville. I now live in Ohio and have traveled all over the US. We grew up poor. Garden fed. My grandpa and grandma was very hard-working. Born with morals values and ethics. Obviously northern Illinois or maybe lack of respect is your failure. I love southern Illinois. Beautiful, homegrown, hearts full of family, love and consideration.
      the scenery. Thank God for opinions huh???

  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.

      1. I agree with you about Decatur. I read the “pro” comment and thought things were becoming better, but then I noticed the date of the post. As a woman, I refuse to drive into Decatur during the day without my husband. We would never go to Decatur after dark. There seems to be a handful of decent people, mostly living around the lake or outside the city. And I agree about the odor. Even as a child in Tuscola we could smell Staley”s, and I would come down with pink eye every single time we visited my grandmother, who lived there. She was from Indiana and loathed Decatur.

  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

    1. Couldn’t agree more! The News media, big Newspapers cater to the whims of the urban big city, while they ignore small towns.

  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. The biggest problem I had with all of this is that this author referred to Miracle Whip as a dessert condiment.


  27. 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

  28. 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.

    1. Try going out, a little bit past Palatine, maybe like towards Harvard, Marengo, check out those wonderful little towns! I’d say Palatine is a white collar town, that’s why it’s half way decent. It’s not one of the factory/warehouse working man’s town.

  29. 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

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. 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.

  33. 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!

  34. 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

  35. 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

  36. 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!

  37. Litchfield has an awesome lake for boating, fishing and swimming. It also has a horse park for camping with horses and magnificent trails that people travel for 3-4 hours to enjoy. An indoor gun shooting range, first class all weather track, bowling alley and just about every fast food restaurant franchise known to mankind. Pizza Man serves some of the best pizza on the planet. Many factories, car dealers and a big hospital. Niehaus Cycles is one of he biggest Honda dealers in the nation. Who to hell is rating these towns?

  38. “Who wants to live way out in Harvey?” Harvey might be a half hour drive from Chicago’s Loop but it’s only 2 towns away from Chicago city limits. Harvey was once a great place to live and there are still old timers still trying to pick it back up. Harvey also has a main transportation center for the Pace suburban bus line where you can get to anywhere you want to go and there are also 2 train stations for the Metra Electric train line that goes to Chicago.

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