These Are The 10 Most Miserable Cities In Illinois


We used science and data to determine which places in Illinois are the unhappiest of all.

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Do you live in one of the most miserable places in Illinois?

According to a Harris Poll taken in October of 2015, only a third of Americans say they are truly happy. That’s too bad, considering that Americans – especially folks in Illinois – don’t really have it too bad, in the grand scheme of things.

But, we were curious – which Illinois cities might be the most miserable? We’re about to find out, using science and data.

After analyzing the largest cities, we sadly present the most miserable cities in the Prairie State:

  1. Riverdale
  2. Harvey (Photos)
  3. Dolton
  4. Chicago (Photos)
  5. University Park
  6. Robbins
  7. Sauk Village
  8. Phoenix
  9. Calumet City
  10. Cairo

Read on below to see how we crunched the numbers and how your town ranked. If you have a smile on your face, you probably don’t live in one of these cities.

Oh, and by the way, Forsyth is the happiest place in Illinois.

Or check out the Most Miserable Cities In America.

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

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How We Measured The Most Miserable Cities In Illinois

In order to rank the unhappiest places in Illinois, we had to determine what criteria makes people happy. It isn’t a stretch to assume that happy people earn great salaries, are relatively stress free, and have a stable home life.

So we went to the Census’s American Community Survey 2010-2014 report for the criteria, flipped the list, and it spit out the answer. Like magic.

We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible:

  • Percentage of residents with a college degree
  • Average commute times
  • Unemployment rates
  • Cost of living
  • % of married couples
  • % of home owners
  • Poverty rate

After we decided on the criteria, we gathered the data for the 108 places in Illinois with over 2,000 people.

We then ranked each place from one to 403 for each of the seven criteria with a score of one being the most miserable (Any ties were given to the larger place).

Next, we averaged the seven rankings into a Miserable Index for each place with the lowest overall Miserable Index ‘earning’ the title ‘Most Miserable City In Illinois’.

If you’d like to see the complete list of states, most miserable to happiest, scroll to the bottom of this post to see the unabridged chart.

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1. Riverdale

Riverdale, Illinois

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 13,278
People Who Own Their Home: 38.84%
Married Adults: 22.68%

2. Harvey

Harvey, Illinois

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 25,225
People Who Own Their Home: 34.78%
Married Adults: 26.19%

3. Dolton


Population: 23,262
People Who Own Their Home: 58.12%
Married Adults: 31.42%

4. Chicago

Chicago, Illinois

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 2,712,608
People Who Own Their Home: 38.58%
Married Adults: 34.7%

5. University Park

University Park, Illinois

Source: Google Maps

Population: 6,852
People Who Own Their Home: 48.29%
Married Adults: 24.25%

6. Robbins


Population: 5,221
People Who Own Their Home: 39.65%
Married Adults: 18.71%

7. Sauk Village

Source: Public Domain

Population: 10,545
People Who Own Their Home: 54.67%
Married Adults: 33.13%

8. Phoenix

Phoenix, Illinois

Source: Google Maps

Population: 2,143
People Who Own Their Home: 44.31%
Married Adults: 25.19%

9. Calumet City

Source: Public Domain

Population: 37,197
People Who Own Their Home: 50.67%
Married Adults: 31.17%

10. Cairo

Cairo, Illinois

Source: Wikipedia

Population: 2,688
People Who Own Their Home: 31.39%
Married Adults: 21.95%

There You Have It

Like we said earlier, trying to determine the most miserable cities in {state} is usually a subjective matter. But if you’re analyzing cities where people are not stable, where you’re stuck in traffic, and no one spent the time to go to college, then this is an accurate list.

If you’re curious enough, here are the happiest cities in {state}, according to science:
For more Illinois reading , check out:

Detailed List Of Miserable Places In Illinois

City Rank People Who Own Their Home
Riverdale 1 38.84%
Harvey 2 34.78%
Dolton 3 58.12%
Chicago 4 38.58%
University Park 5 48.29%
Robbins 6 39.65%
Sauk Village 7 54.67%
Phoenix 8 44.31%
Calumet City 9 50.67%
Cairo 10 31.39%
Hazel Crest 11 57.92%
Calumet Park 12 59.26%
Park Forest 13 55.08%
Cicero 14 44.7%
Madison 15 40.34%
Centreville 16 34.8%
Chicago Heights 17 49.69%
Maywood 18 51.44%
Markham 19 61.42%
Blue Island 20 49.43%
Cahokia 21 39.08%
Richton Park 22 54.67%
Fairmont 23 59.98%
Posen 24 62.49%
Summit 25 45.89%
Kankakee 26 42.75%
Chicago Ridge 27 46.9%
Harvard 28 54.85%
North Chicago 29 30.86%
Zion 30 48.16%
Justice 31 47.05%
Country Club Hills 32 70.26%
Rantoul 33 40.84%
Lynwood 34 67.93%
Park City 35 54.71%
Waukegan 36 45.86%
Rockford 37 49.07%
Steger 38 50.17%
Du Quoin 39 54.54%
Rosemont 40 26.43%
Worth 41 65.88%
Berwyn 42 54.08%
Fox Lake 43 56.73%
Alton 44 51.37%
Danville 45 48.49%
Forest Park 46 46.05%
Melrose Park 47 46.14%
West Frankfort 48 54.11%
Charleston 49 40.41%
Bellwood 50 66.17%
Dekalb 51 38.09%
Harrisburg 52 54.66%
Benton 53 58.09%
Alsip 54 59.01%
Metropolis 55 48.04%
Centralia 56 56.02%
Murphysboro 57 48.01%
Oregon 58 54.21%
Lyons 59 59.09%
River Grove 60 58.13%
Mount Vernon 61 49.89%
Hoopeston 62 59.33%
Pontoon Beach 63 59.17%
Carbondale 64 19.9%
Georgetown 65 61.14%
Pinckneyville 66 59.5%
Streator 67 60.18%
Broadview 68 57.98%
Decatur 69 54.12%
Highwood 70 40.91%
Sumner 71 60.07%
Rock Falls 72 60.17%
Monmouth 73 57.9%
Glenwood 74 71.69%
Macomb 75 40.42%
Mattoon 76 53.98%
Galesburg 77 53.16%
Richmond 78 47.86%
Peoria 79 50.03%
Elmwood Park 80 62.0%
Bridgeview 81 68.09%
Beardstown 82 56.02%
Bensenville 83 48.05%
Freeport 84 54.18%
Robinson 85 57.99%
Crest Hill 86 62.45%
Westmont 87 46.59%
Marseilles 88 63.75%
South Holland 89 81.53%
Harwood Heights 90 56.15%
Thornton 91 72.81%
Sparta 92 62.21%
Evanston 93 50.44%
Lansing 94 65.86%
Hickory Hills 95 66.01%
Granite City 96 59.72%
Canton 97 57.28%
Sheridan 98 61.88%
Belleville 99 52.81%
Wilmington 100 59.0%
Aurora 101 62.13%
Jacksonville 102 51.86%
Lakemoor 103 59.05%
East Alton 104 56.68%
Champaign 105 42.93%
Schiller Park 106 58.35%
Hillside 107 61.79%
Woodstock 108 58.54%
Carpentersville 109 66.54%
Belvidere 110 66.74%
Genoa 111 60.48%
Joliet 112 65.89%
Ottawa 113 55.61%
Sandwich 114 62.07%
Rochelle 115 53.67%
Urbana 116 32.01%
White Hall 117 66.21%
Lasalle 118 55.91%
East Moline 119 56.69%
Paris 120 62.21%
Elgin 121 63.29%
Vandalia 122 57.7%
Braidwood 123 64.01%
Matteson 124 73.72%
Watseka 125 61.42%
Collinsville 126 56.83%
Willowbrook 127 79.42%
Addison 128 64.01%
Palos Hills 129 75.86%
Rock Island 130 60.09%
Round Lake Beach 131 74.8%
Mount Sterling 132 61.52%
Wood River 133 65.67%
Glendale Heights 134 63.42%
Springfield 135 56.92%
Round Lake Park 136 75.07%
Greenville 137 50.59%
Kewanee 138 58.14%
Sterling 139 56.94%
Midlothian 140 69.05%
Taylorville 141 58.63%
Burbank 142 76.38%
Mendota 143 61.26%
Riverton 144 62.4%
Clinton 145 63.77%
Creve Coeur 146 59.58%
Flora 147 55.29%
Franklin Park 148 67.54%
North Riverside 149 63.97%
Peoria Heights 150 53.66%
Oak Lawn 151 75.98%
Northlake 152 61.33%
West Chicago 153 63.43%
Island Lake 154 78.8%
Mason City 155 66.97%
Crestwood 156 72.26%
Milan 157 64.44%
Oak Park 158 54.15%
Marion 159 54.36%
Skokie 160 67.03%
Chester 161 58.63%
Hanover Park 162 73.61%
Plano 163 66.0%
Stickney 164 69.41%
Morris 165 55.1%
Herrin 166 59.59%
Boulder Hill 167 77.35%
Dixon 168 59.16%
Marengo 169 63.78%
Mount Carmel 170 61.32%
Newton 171 60.82%
Carmi 172 57.41%
Seneca 173 69.85%
Rolling Meadows 174 66.57%
Spring Valley 175 68.05%
Olney 176 57.99%
Normal 177 52.41%
Altamont 178 68.8%
Evergreen Park 179 78.36%
Pana 180 56.26%
Lebanon 181 53.07%
Jonesboro 182 66.1%
Wheeling 183 59.56%
Westville 184 76.1%
Peru 185 64.3%
Princeton 186 59.55%
Loves Park 187 66.66%
Cortland 188 70.32%
Orland Hills 189 74.44%
Carlinville 190 53.9%
Villa Park 191 65.54%
Quincy 192 56.77%
Fairfield 193 58.57%
Berkeley 194 82.63%
Pontiac 195 63.2%
Niles 196 69.52%
Homewood 197 74.82%
Galena 198 58.21%
Romeoville 199 77.96%
Norridge 200 78.09%
Sullivan 201 62.85%
Beecher 202 70.74%
Lincoln 203 57.36%
Wood Dale 204 79.09%
Mchenry 205 70.02%
Countryside 206 71.12%
Sycamore 207 60.68%
Bourbonnais 208 65.29%
Abingdon 209 59.7%
Bradley 210 59.13%
Woodridge 211 61.45%
Carol Stream 212 63.89%
Willowbrook 213 63.93%
Lisle 214 55.77%
Pekin 215 63.66%
Machesney Park 216 73.96%
Palatine 217 63.95%
Bolingbrook 218 76.89%
Moline 219 61.18%
Wauconda 220 70.66%
Coal City 221 74.59%
Lewistown 222 67.39%
Farmington 223 72.15%
Carrollton 224 69.13%
South Beloit 225 63.18%
Petersburg 226 54.3%
Pittsfield 227 65.54%
Oak Forest 228 75.8%
Antioch 229 69.53%
Mundelein 230 71.23%
Nashville 231 63.02%
Staunton 232 59.47%
Litchfield 233 59.5%
Hillsboro 234 59.23%
Lawrenceville 235 57.28%
Schaumburg 236 59.14%
La Grange Park 237 63.26%
Savoy 238 48.78%
Marshall 239 50.73%
Salem 240 58.38%
Glen Carbon 241 62.23%
Mascoutah 242 63.3%
Bloomington 243 56.74%
Streamwood 244 81.95%
Elburn 245 81.62%
Effingham 246 59.72%
Eureka 247 61.57%
Elwood 248 81.5%
Prospect Heights 249 68.59%
Albion 250 66.03%
Willow Springs 251 81.98%
Lombard 252 68.71%
Brookfield 253 69.52%
Chillicothe 254 67.13%
Fairview Heights 255 66.53%
Bartonville 256 72.37%
Round Lake 257 76.18%
Beach Park 258 79.46%
Silvis 259 60.72%
Edwardsville 260 63.12%
Bethalto 261 63.71%
Gages Lake 262 77.77%
Crete 263 75.52%
Jerseyville 264 63.17%
Warrenville 265 73.74%
Crystal Lake 266 72.05%
Carthage 267 57.62%
Shorewood 268 84.44%
Manteno 269 70.33%
Rockton 270 74.11%
Des Plaines 271 76.19%
East Peoria 272 70.1%
Mount Prospect 273 66.97%
Johnsburg 274 79.11%
Lake Of The Woods 275 76.01%
Lockport 276 81.06%
Brighton 277 74.94%
Bloomingdale 278 68.59%
Barrington 279 67.28%
Tinley Park 280 80.56%
Cary 281 82.58%
Colona 282 80.79%
Troy 283 66.6%
Montgomery 284 77.76%
O’Fallon 285 67.14%
Gurnee 286 70.52%
Hoffman Estates 287 72.51%
Hamilton 288 67.95%
Monee 289 83.62%
Lake In The Hills 290 86.01%
Glen Ellyn 291 72.44%
Batavia 292 73.56%
Carterville 293 65.5%
Palos Heights 294 87.67%
Darien 295 78.62%
Algonquin 296 84.57%
Morton Grove 297 85.65%
Lake Villa 298 72.93%
Poplar Grove 299 86.22%
Minooka 300 78.41%
Highland 301 62.83%
West Dundee 302 63.1%
Riverside 303 73.79%
Shelbyville 304 63.25%
Cambridge 305 68.86%
Roscoe 306 63.67%
Winthrop Harbor 307 76.97%
Wheaton 308 68.99%
Orland Park 309 86.48%
Manhattan 310 80.82%
Spring Grove 311 91.5%
Fairbury 312 65.34%
North Aurora 313 75.65%
Naperville 314 71.74%
Flossmoor 315 86.52%
La Grange 316 74.54%
Godfrey 317 78.25%
Westchester 318 84.96%
Lemont 319 81.55%
Elk Grove Village 320 71.91%
Itasca 321 68.51%
Auburn 322 77.1%
Lindenhurst 323 85.01%
Roselle 324 73.82%
Swansea 325 68.08%
Yorkville 326 73.05%
Arlington Heights 327 72.8%
Plainfield 328 80.86%
Grayslake 329 69.76%
Knoxville 330 71.38%
Downers Grove 331 72.52%
Winfield 332 89.31%
El Paso 333 68.73%
Trenton 334 66.58%
Bartlett 335 85.59%
Waterloo 336 72.26%
Lincolnshire 337 71.45%
Clarendon Hills 338 72.38%
Grandwood Park 339 79.62%
Frankfort Square 340 89.17%
Columbia 341 74.41%
Sleepy Hollow 342 88.72%
Wayne 343 94.06%
Elmhurst 344 76.22%
Vernon Hills 345 67.55%
Maryville 346 79.05%
Highland Park 347 76.43%
Fulton 348 67.28%
Geneva 349 78.31%
Lakewood 350 95.37%
Cherry Valley 351 71.55%
Mokena 352 88.55%
Lincolnwood 353 79.52%
Lexington 354 81.85%
Burr Ridge 355 86.87%
Lake Zurich 356 84.96%
Sugar Grove 357 84.19%
Hampshire 358 83.06%
Shiloh 359 67.27%
Buffalo Grove 360 77.6%
Glenview 361 78.12%
Hampton 362 80.12%
Frankfort 363 88.66%
Park Ridge 364 77.8%
Campton Hills 365 93.02%
South Elgin 366 84.72%
New Lenox 367 84.44%
Northfield 368 77.6%
Homer Glen 369 89.73%
River Forest 370 82.69%
Geneseo 371 71.12%
Long Grove 372 94.69%
Inverness 373 90.67%
Oswego 374 81.42%
Lake Forest 375 80.58%
Huntley 376 88.54%
Hinsdale 377 81.0%
Hawthorn Woods 378 97.32%
Wilmette 379 82.74%
Deer Park 380 96.85%
Channahon 381 85.03%
Monticello 382 72.07%
Kenilworth 383 82.41%
Wadsworth 384 85.97%
Libertyville 385 75.52%
Winnetka 386 85.32%
Mount Zion 387 80.1%
Glencoe 388 86.99%
Lake Bluff 389 82.58%
Gilberts 390 90.86%
Northbrook 391 82.15%
Chatham 392 79.74%
Western Springs 393 91.2%
Washington 394 76.63%
Morton 395 73.65%
Roanoke 396 74.36%
Deerfield 397 85.32%
Winnebago 398 79.43%
Oak Brook 399 88.38%
Rochester 400 86.93%
Sherman 401 85.02%
Mahomet 402 78.5%
Forsyth 403 89.91%

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 Miserable, Rankings 

2 thoughts on “These Are The 10 Most Miserable Cities In Illinois

  1. In my eyes, Kewanee is the worst place in Illinois. Not much work and surrounded by drugs. Not only does the town suck so does the county.

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