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Not everyone is cut out for city life. Some people would prefer to live in the cities and towns that surround Aurora.
So the question arises, do the suburbs maintain a semblance of the larger-than-life appeal of their more famous neighbor?
Today, we'll use science and data to determine which Aurora 'burbs need a little tender loving care - the sore thumbs of the Aurora area if you will. Realistically, you can't expect all the suburbs to live up to Aurora proper, although Western Springs certainly tries.
Of course, not all suburbs of Aurora are created equally, which is precisely why we set out to find the best ones..
We examined the 143 biggest suburbs of Aurora to find out the worst places to live. And while you won't necessarily find them on the worst places to live in Illinois lists, these ten places are a little too far downwind of Aurora in terms of quality of life.
What's the worst suburb of Aurora? Rockdale ranks as the worst suburb of Aurora for 2022 based on the most recent Census and FBI data.
Read on to see how we determined the places around Aurora that need a pick-me-up. And remember, don't blame the messenger.
And remember, there are some good places to live around Aurora too.
Editor's Note: If you see a slight difference between the worst in state rankings and this suburb ranking, it's because of the methodology. We needed a way to include more places, so we eliminated crime and commute times as criteria for this analysis.
For more Illinois reading, check out:
- Best Places To Live In Illinois
- Cheapest Places To Live In Illinois
- Most Dangerous Cities In Illinois
The 10 Worst Aurora Suburbs To Live For 2022
We'll get the ball rolling with Rockdale, the absolute worst place to live around Aurora according to the data.
And in the world of worst rankings, Rockdale beat the competition pretty handily thanks to scoring in the bottom 15% in three major categories. Income is the 2nd worst in the Aurora area, and to make matters worse, the city ranks 2nd worst when it comes to home values.
But hey, at least it's cheap to live there. But there's a reason for that... it's Rockdale.
You won't feel bad about not having a great income for the area, there aren't a bunch of places to spend your money anyway.
Rank Last Year: 1 (No Change)
Median Income: $44,406 (2nd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 9.5% (4th highest)
Median Home Value: $135,200 (2nd lowest)
More on Rockdale: Data
Welcome to Sheridan. Home to KMart, Big Lots, and a lot of gas stations.
This city is 25.8 miles to Aurora. Income levels here are the 45th lowest in the metro area, where families bring in about $70,925 a year, which doesn't go a long ways even on a shoestring budget.
But on the bright side, there are a lot of fast food joints in the area.
Rank Last Year: 3 (Up 1)
Median Income: $70,925 (45th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.9% (3highest)
Median Home Value: $156,400 (3rd lowest)
More on Sheridan: Data
Back up the highway we go for the third worst Aurora suburb you can live in. You might have expected to see Summit on here. While the cost of living is low, your entertainment and work options are limited. And that's an understatement.
In terms of numbers, it's in the worst 15% for insurance, and the adult high school drop out rate is poor compared to other Aurora suburbs.
But at least there are nice parks to bring the kids during the day.
Rank Last Year: 2 (Down 1)
Median Income: $46,972 (3rd lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 7.6% (11th highest)
Median Home Value: $186,800 (25th lowest)
More on Summit: Data
If you live in DeKalb, most likely you struggle to make ends meet every month. It ranks as the lowest Aurora suburb when it comes to residents making money.
Not only that, but this is the 5th worst unemployed suburb you can live in if you choose to live near Aurora. Remember, we looked at 143 cities for this study.
DeKalb is about 26.2 miles to downtown.
Crest Hill has the distinction of being a Aurora suburb. Which means that's about all it has going for it.
All snarkiness aside, Crest Hill has the 13th lowest home values in the metro Aurora area, where the median price is $173,700. To put that into perspective, in Western Springs, the median income is $206,701, which is the best in the area.
Crest Hill has an unemployment rate of 7.28% which ranks 13th worst.
Bridgeview has 15,576 residents that probably know it's a pretty crummy place to live when you look at the data. (Or, if you've ever been there, you don't need to look at the data.)
Incomes are towards the bottom and the poverty rate sits at 14.494202319072373%.
Ah, Melrose Park. You rank as the 7th worst place to live around Aurora.
It's the place with the 23rd most out of work residents in the Aurora metro area (6.24%).
Maywood is a city about 24.3 miles from Aurora, but Aurora probably wishes it was further away. It ranks as the 8th worst burb for 2018.
You'd be hard pressed to find a worse place to live. Maywood has the 10th most uninsured people, 13th worst incomes, and has the 6th highest unemployment rate (9.12%) in the entire Aurora metro area.
Homes only cost $158,900 for a reason. That's cheap for Aurora standards.
If you absolutely have to live near Aurora, then Northlake might be a place for you to consider as it's only the 9th worst Aurora suburb.
About 5.21% of residents are out of work.
Rank Last Year: 4 (Down 4)
Median Income: $60,495 (19th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 5.2% (40th highest)
Median Home Value: $189,100 (26th lowest)
More on Northlake: Data
Rounding out the ten worst Aurora suburbs to call home is Stone Park.
Located 23.2 miles outside the city, Stone Parks is a real pit when you look at the data. Its residents have the 19th highest unemployment rate (6.64%), and poverty is far above the area average.
Rank Last Year: 7 (Down 3)
Median Income: $63,710 (27th lowest)
Unemployment Rate: 6.6% (19th highest)
Median Home Value: $174,400 (14th lowest)
More on Stone Park: Data
Methodology: Determining The Worst Suburbs Around Aurora for 2022
To figure out how bad a place is to live in, we only needed to know what kinds of things people like and then decide what cities have the least amount of those things.
We threw a lot of criteria at this one in order to get the best, most complete results possible. Using the most recent American Community Survey data from 2016-2020, this is the criteria we used:
- High unemployment rate
- Low median household incomes
- Low population density (no things to do)
- Low home values
- A lot of high school drop outs
- High poverty
- High rate of uninsured families
FYI: We defined a suburb as being within 30 miles of Aurora.
Additionally, we limited the analysis to places that have over 2,000 people. This left us with a grand total of 143 suburbs to evaluate around Aurora.
We ranked each place with scores from 1 to 143 in each category, where 1 was the "worst".
Next, we averaged the rankings for each place to create a quality of life index.
And finally, we crowned the city with the worst quality of life index the "Worst Suburb near Aurora." We're lookin' at you, Rockdale. You can download the data here.
Read on below to learn more about what it's like to live in the worst of the worst. Or skip to the end to see the list of all the suburbs ranked from worst to best.
Summary: The areas around Aurora where the dream is more of a nightmare for 2022
Well there you have it -- the worst of the 'burbs surrounding Aurora with Rockdale casting itself ahead of the pack.
As we mentioned earlier, the suburbs around Aurora aren't all bad. Western Springs takes the cake as the best place to live around Aurora.
- Western Springs
- River Forest
For more Illinois reading, check out:
- Best Places To Retire In Illinois
- Richest Cities In Illinois
- Safest Places In Illinois
- Worst Places To Live In Illinois
Detailed List Of The Worst Aurora Suburbs
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